Venue: Huish Park
Sat 28th February 2004, 3pm kick-off.

Ground: Perfect except bare in goalmouths

Scorers: Gavin Williams (pen 18, 1-0), Andy Bishop (19, 2-0), Adam Stansfield (27, 3-0), Daniel Webb (45, 3-1), Colin Pluck (48, 4-1)

Attendance: 5,694 – including approx 150 Cambridge supporters

Referee: André Marriner (West Midlands)
Assistant Refs: Phil Gibbs (West Midlands), David Hine (Worcestershire)

Yeovil: None
Cambridge: None

Team Line-Ups

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale 2. Adam Lockwood 4. Terry Skiverton 5. Colin Pluck 3. Abdelhalim El Kholti 20. Gavin Williams 6. Darren Way 8. Lee Johnson 25. Simon Weatherstone 7. Adam Stansfield 26. Andy Bishop

9. Kevin Gall (61, for Bishop) 12. Hugo Rodrigues 13. Steven Collis 16. Andy Lindegaard (78, for Stansfield) 22. Lee Elam

Cambridge United:
1. Shaun Marshall 6. Stevland Angus 2. Warren Goodhind 4. Andy Duncan 3. Fred Murray 18. David Bridges 14. Luke Guttridge 5. Adam Tann 20. Ashley Nicholls 7. Daniel Webb 16. Alex Revell

13. Martin Brennan 9. Jermaine Easter (34, for Bridges) 10. Shane Tudor (45) 15. John Turner (69, for Revell) 23. Matthew Robinson

Jeremy Gear’s View Of The Game

Plucky is back.. Plucky is back.. ello-ello!

Yeovil got back to winning ways in style at chilly Huish Park today with Colin Pluck and Adam Stansfield both scoring on their starting returns to the first team. Gary Johnson has been given the credit for the cold shower treatment, adopted by Cambridge during his time their a few years back. It looked like they still used that tactic as the game started as they very nearly took the lead from a corner that was somehow scrambled of the line in the opening 5 minutes. If that was a scare to the town the response was fantastic. The boss has not used the word cosmic for some time to describe his team’s performance but he used it tonight in his post match interview. Cosmic it certainly was as the game was won by the 26th minute as they raced into a three goal to nil lead after some scintillating football.

As early as the 6th minute Gavin Williams had the Westland stand chanting his name after some wonderful touches and sublime passing in a spell that showed the art in possession football. If Paul Parry can make the Welsh squad following his recent capture by Cardiff from non-league obscurity how far away is Williams from the same honour?

It was the Welsh midfielder who came closest to scoring when in the 12th minute his header at the far post sailed narrowly past the opposite upright from a decent Bishop cross. Five minutes later it was that man Gavin WILLIAMS who put Yeovil ahead from the penalty spot, awarded for pushing, and well spotted by the ref in a crowded area following a corner. Williams made no mistake, shuffled in his run up and slotting the ball past keeper Marshall for a deserved lead. Two minutes later Stansfield, down the right homed in on goal but squared to Andy BISHOP, who poached a second goal from 6 yards.

Johnson’s Yeovil finally poured cold water on any Cambridge revival and put the game out of reach when Adam STANSFIELD scored a cracking third, slightly reminiscent of his trophy goal at Villa Park. The move was started by Darren Way, once again breaking down a Cambridge threat with a terrific tackle in the middle of the park. Way fed Johnson, his midfield partner who in turn released Stansfield down the left channel and his sublime finish into the right hand corner more than justified his inclusion in the starting line up. Yeovil dominated with a flurry of corners and a snapshot from Weatherstone from the edge of the box evaded the uncomfortable looking Marshall, luckily for him the midfielders’ strike evaded the left hand post too.

Colin Pluck marked his return to the heart of the defence with a crunching tackle on the Cambridge substitute Easter. Moments earlier Easter had clumsily and intentionally pushed Pluck into the concrete block surround by the left touchline….big mistake! The offence went unpunished by the well placed officials, and it was therefore no surprise when the next available 50-50 came his way the silent assassin took the ball first, swiftly followed by Easter’s legs, ribs and back to leave him pole-axed and motionless in a heap on the ground. He left the pitch the way a boxer leaves the ring after a knock out blow. Pluck then gave away a free kick on the edge with a clumsy trip but the free kick came to nothing. The delay following treatment to Easter took the wind out of the Yeovil sails and the momentum had gone momentarily. It was a shame though to concede a goal in stoppage time, a deep cross was met by Daniel WEBB who headed well past Weale to give his side a glimmer of hope at the interval.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 3 – 1 Cambridge United

Three minutes into the second half the Yeovil got their fourth and final goal. Gavin Williams and Lee Johnson contrived to whip a quick free kick into the box and Bishop got a touch, Marshall flapped and could only parry the ball into the path of Colin PLUCK who finished in predatory style slamming the loose ball home with venom. Plucky, after a shaky few weeks was well and truly back!

With the game seemingly won, Yeovil took the foot of the gas, in some respects with four-four draws and dramatic comebacks being the flavour of the month some would argue that unwise, but without being disrespectful to Cambridge, they did not look likely to get back into a game that had been dominated by the home side. That said, it could have been oh so different if the woodwork had not denied them twice with two fine long-range efforts from Gutteridge and Murray.

The Glovers could have doubled their own lead too though, how nice it would have been to score 10 and put one over the old enemy Hereford following their 9 goal drubbing of Dagenham. Marshall made a fine save from Williams who tore through the Cambridge midfield and was unlucky not to get his second. Bishop too should have got a shot on target when he was put through the centre by Stansfield but the ball was nicked off his boot by a last ditch tackle from a Cambridge defender. Bishop, who was carrying a heel injury was replaced by Gall soon afterwards, and Yeovil’s other Welshman had a chance to end his drought when Johnson picked up a great ball from Weatherstone, ran at the defence and lined up a shot before nudging the ball wide to Gall who missed when in a good position…how he could have done with that going in!

Stansfield was replaced with 13 minutes to go. He received warm applause from the home, but somewhat subdued crowd of 5694. Stansfield himself would have been happy with his performance and could count himself unlucky if he did not make the start against Huddersfield on Tuesday night. True, he did look a little ring rusty but took his goal well, and as he has gone on record as saying, the only way to get that sharpness back is to compete regularly at this level. Lindegaard replaced the Devon boy and adopted his right wing berth with Weatherstone switching to partner Gall up front.

With other results going Yeovil’s way, and others not, the play off spots are beginning to look increasingly tight. Oxford and Hull continue to drop points whilst Doncaster flourish, Torquay and Lincoln are revived, whilst Huddersfield pose a threat. So important then that the Glovers keep winning, and if they do who’s to say an automatic spot is still not out of reach. Today was a pleasing performance, the back four looked solid, and although he’s not even been mentioned in, El Kholti had a cracking game at left back, the Moroccan played with confidence not seen for some time. Could that be the managers mind games? If that’s so you wonder whether Kirk Jackson can come back from the brink and prosper after being recalled from his loan spell at Dagenham. Johnson says it’s great that the goals are coming from all over the park but he wants someone to grab ten between now and the end of May. Now wouldn’t it be great if Jacko could recapture that form like Abdel has!

Jeremy Gear

Full-time: Yeovil Town 4 – 1 Cambridge United