Venue: Huish Park
Mon 25th August 2003, 3.00pm kick-off.

Conditions: Dry and warm
Ground: Very good

Scorers: Paul Reid (5 mins, 0-1), Joshua Low (41 mins, 0-2).

Attendance: 6,105 (incl. approx. 450 Northampton supporters)

Referee: Steve Tomlin (East Sussex)
Assistant Refs: Roger East (Wiltshire) and Roger Ganfield (Somerset)
4th Official: Mr K Barnes

Yeovil: Lockwood (39 mins, unsporting behaviour), Williams (41 mins, dissent)
Northampton: Sampson (56 mins, unsporting behaviour), Richards (74 mins, dissent), Trollope (81 mins, not retreating at set play), Burgess (83 mins, unsporting behaviour)

Line up : (3-4-1-2) 1. Chris Weale,
2. Adam Lockwood, 14. Roy O’Brien, 5. Colin Pluck,
16. Andy Lindegaard, 20. Gavin Williams, 8. Lee Johnson, 6. Darren Way, 3. Abdelhalim El Kholti,
9. Kevin Gall, 18. Kirk Jackson

Subs: 7. Adam Stansfield (64 mins, for Jackson), 12. Hugo Rodrigues (71 mins, for Pluck), 13. Steven Collis, 23. Jamie Gosling, 24. Paul Terry (77 mins, for Lindegaard)

Northampton Town: (4-4-2) 1. Glyn Thompson, 2. Luke Chambers, 14. Ian Sampson, 6. Paul Reid, 3. Peter Clark, 30. Oliver Burgess, 11. Paul Trollope, 20. Chris Hargreaves, 16. Lawrie Dudfield, 19. Martin Smith, 10. Joshua Low.

Subs: 21. Lee Harper, 24. Chris Carruthers, 18. Paul Harsley (87 mins, for Dudfield), 9. Marc Richards (62 mins, for Smith) 8. Tom Youngs

Robin Evans’ View Of The Game

Just a few months ago Yeovil Town were a non-league side and Northampton Town were playing in Division Two. Now, at least in theory, the two sides are of equal status in Division Three – I say “in theory” as Northampton are the big spending Chelsea (or should that be “Chelski?”) of Division Three, with twelve new players signed since last season, including individual signings who cost more in transfer fees than the entire Yeovil squad!

Following Saturday?s disappointing showing at Leyton Orient, Gary Johnson made two changes to the starting eleven, seeing Andy Lindegaard and Abdelhalim El Kholti introduced on right and left wings respectively. Those missing out are Nicky Crittenden and Jamie Gosling, whose place as the floating midfielder is taken by Gavin Williams who had previously started on the right of midfield.

A fairly bright start saw the Glovers awarded a free kick after just 30 seconds or so, but Northampton were also prepared to press forward and Adam Lockwood made a good saving tackle early on. In the first five minutes the two sides were still sparring with each other, but Yeovil suffered an early knock down. A Northampton corner from the right wing was bounced around the Yeovil penalty area before the loose ball fell to the seemingly unmarked visiting captain Paul REID, who shot calmly past the despairing Chris Weale. 0 – 1.

Yeovil tried to fight back to get an early equaliser. A Lee Johnson free kick bounced once before being collected by keeper Thompson. A good ball from Gavin Wiliams sent Kevin Gall on his way, but solid defending restricted the chance to just a corner. Johnson took the corner from the right, which was headed out. He went across and took one from the left, which Abdu El Kholti returned to him to cross again, and this saw Colin Pluck head wide. A run from Andy Lindegaard earned a free kick just inside the opponents half, but this came to nothing. A good one-two between Gavin Williams and Kevin Gall saw a good volley from Williams blocked by the Northampton defence. A long perfectly executed pass from Johnson to Lindegaard allowed Lindy to cut inside, but Northampton defended well. Yet another free kick ended with a header being collected comfortably by Thompson. It was almost twenty minutes in to the half before Northampton had another good chance, but Colin Pluck tackled well just inside the Yeovil penalty area to dispossess Josh Low.

A string of three Johnson corners saw a Roy O’Brien shot cannon off of a defender, with loud hand ball appeals from the home players, and a Colin Pluck header beat the goalkeeper only to be headed off the line by a well positioned defender. El Kholti continued to cause problems by running at defenders, and the desperation of the Northampton backs was perhaps illustrated in the 24th minute when they hoofed a ball right out of the stadium for the fourth time.

Despite the Yeovil pressure they remained a goal down, and on 25 minutes a counter attack from Northampton saw a worrying high and hard “back pass” headed away by Weale. Frustration seemed to be creeping in and, after a dubious free kick was awarded for a tackle on Hargreaves, the referee spoke to Lee Johnson – presumably about something said – although no card was produced.

A few mistakes also seemed to be creeping into the Yeovil defence, and Andy Lindegaard ran back to make an excellent tackle after a mix up between Adam Lockwood and Chris Weale. However, Weale quickly redeemed himself with a point blank save from Dudfield after a penalty area scramble.

Peter Clark earned the first yellow card of the match after pulling down Kirk Jackson just outside of the penalty area in the 37th minute. Just two minutes later he was joined by Adam Lockwood, also for a foul, although this looked perhaps a little harsh. What was completely bizarre was a booking for Gavin Williams two minutes later – it was clear to see his shirt pulled by a Northampton defender (and I was sitting in the main stand fairly near the away terrace), but Mr Tomlin not only failed to award a free kick, or to book the culprit, but to book Gavin. Diving? Dissent? Wrong colour shirt? Only Mr Tomlin knows that one.

Whether the Williams incident disturbed concentration, or whether the Yeovil back line were catching a quick forty winks is unclear, but a pass threaded through for Josh LOW left him with only Weale to beat, and he slotted the ball home with confidence. 0 – 2.

After a foul on Kirk Jackson, an injury time free kick was shot just over the bar by Lee Johnson.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 0 Northampton Town 2

With the proverbial mountain to climb, an early breakthrough seemed important and Andy Lindegaard tried a shot just thirty seconds after the restart, but failed to trouble the keeper as it drifted wide. He continued to run at the defence and was hauled down by Clark, but the resulting free kick was headed wide by Roy O?Brien under pressure from defenders.

Abdehalim El Kholti was the next to be fouled, with Burgess the offender, but again Mr Tomlin kept his cards in his pocket. Johnson’s free kick was met by the head of Pluck. He landed in a heap, but seemed alright to continue, although his subsequent withdrawal may at least partially have been as a result of this collision.

An El Kholti throw was headed on by Jackson to Gall, but when he pushed the ball through he was blocked by Sampson. Another free kick, but again no caution. A Williams corner was headed down by O’Brien, but blasted over the crowded penalty area and bar by Pluck. Gavin Williams was the next Glover to be brought down, midway into the Northampton half. Another free kick. Again, no caution. Perhaps Mr Tomlin had left his cards in his dressing room by mistake?

With an hour on the clock El Kholti played a ball into the area which Colin Pluck – in a very attacking role – crossed high across the box in a real rugby style ‘up and under’. The ball was headed on, but then headed off the line by Luke Chambers. Two goal line clearances – perhaps this just wasn’t Yeovil’s day? Another chance a minute later saw Darren Way get the ball to Kirk Jackson in the area, but his downward header went straight to Thompson. Almost immediately after Jackson ran into the area with keeper Glyn Thompson diving at his feet. The ball squirmed loose, and Williams shot was blocked. The ball fell to Gall, whose shot was gathered gratefully buy the now upright Thompson.

A Northampton substitution saw Marc Richards replace Martin Smith up front. Yeovil were spreading the ball around nicely, but with no end result, and so also made a change with Adam Stansfield on for Kirk Jackson.

A speculative long shot from Williams went over the bar, followed there by a Lockwood header after a Johnson free kick was nodded across the area by Pluck. The free kick was earned when Lindegaard was pulled down yet again. A fine long ball by Johnson, who hadn’t had the best of games, saw Stansfield put El Kholti away on the left wing, earning a corner. Colin Pluck continued to play his more forward role, but after indicating some sort of problem to the bench he was replaced by Hugo Rodrigues in the 71st minute.

After 12 minutes on the field Northampton substitute Marc Richards seemed reluctant to allow Yeovil to take a throw-in, and decided to hold onto the ball. At this point Mr Tomlin rediscovered his cards, and added Richards name to his book.

Darren Way tried a shot from outside of the box, and although a reasonable effort it went wide of the left hand post. Gary Johnson made his final change with Paul Terry coming on for Andy Lindegaard, who I felt had been one of Yeovil’s better players. A Johnson corner gave Way a chance to shoot from closer range, and Thompson saved well by punching the ball away.

With just ten minutes left Yeovil were awarded another free kick, with Gall having been brought down. This was taken quickly, and handled by Paul Trollope who was well within ten yards of the ball. This earned him a booking, and his disagreement saw the free kick brought forward to the very edge of the penalty area. El Kholti took the kick, but shot straight at Thompson.

In the 83rd minute Williams was tripped just outside the area by Oliver Burgess, and speculation amongst Yeovil fans varied between a yellow card and a straight red, and it was a yellow card shown. The free kick was passed from Johnson to Way, who crossed. The cross was chested down by O’Brien for Lockwood to shoot but his shot cleared the bar.

With three minutes of normal time remaining Northampton replaced striker Dudfield with midfielder Paul Harsley. The last few minutes saw a Johnson corner headed over by Hugo Rodrigues; a last minute Stansfield shot deflected over for a corner; a brilliant Weale save from Low after he was put through by Richards; and a Northampton defender hoof the ball right out of the ground for the sixth time.

Final score: Yeovil Town 0 Northampton Town 2

The purpose of this game is simple: score more goals than your opponents. The history books will show that Northampton did this by scoring two when we failed to hit the net.

However, although our failure to take our chances may be a cause of some concern I am not the only one to take some consolation from the fact that we played better football than our opponents. I know this because after the final whistle I heard someone behind me saying they were glad they were watching Yeovil this season and not Northampton. I heartily agree!

Still, they got the three points and we didn’t. I am sure there are still plenty of matters which Gary Johnson will wish to address, but I am equally sure that there were enough positives from today to give hope – just not the result.

Robin Evans

James Day’s View Of The Game

Northampton gave Yeovil a lesson in finishing earning a 2-0 win at Huish Park with goals from Paul Reid and Josh Low.

Yeovil dominated play and created 19 attempts on goal to the Cobblers’ four but lacked the finishing touch.

Northampton struck an early blow when man-of-the-match Reid moved up for a corner and fired low past the keeper’s left hand.

Low sealed a second successive win for Martin Wilkinson’s side four minutes from half-time with a fierce drive after breaking clear on the right.

Low wasted a chance in second-half stoppage-time but that was the only shot of a closely-fought second 45 minutes.

Yeovil pounded away but had nothing to show for some neat approach work, with striker Kirk Jackson spurning two simple scoring opportunities and Kevin Gall also lacking his usual sharpness in front of goal.

James Day

MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Abdelhalim El Kholti 9 400
Colin Pluck 4 206
Roy O’Brien 3 200
Lee Johnson 3 188
Chris Weale 2 175
Darren Way 3 169
Gavin Williams 3 163
Andy Lindegaard 2 113
Adam Stansfield 3 94

Overall match rating: 6.1 / 10
Performance: 5.9
Entertainment: 6.3

32 votes received.