Venue: Huish Park
Sat 10th January 2004, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Initially dry and overcast, light drizzle towards end.
Ground: Perfect, but bare in goalmouth.

Scorers: Gavin Williams (13, 1-0)

Attendance: 5,806 – including approx 250 Rochdale supporters

Referee: Lee Probert (South Gloucestershire)
Assistant Refs: Jon Cordy (South Gloucestershire); Simon Snartt (South Gloucestershire)

Yeovil: None
Rochdale: Burgess (49, unsporting behaviour), McCourt (83, unsporting behaviour)

Team Line Ups

Yeovil Town : (4-4-1-1)
1. Chris Weale
24. Paul Terry 4. Terry Skiverton 12. Hugo Rodrigues 2. Adam Lockwood
10. Nick Crittenden 6. Darren Way 8. Lee Johnson 22. Lee Elam
20. Gavin Williams
9. Kevin Gall

7. Adam Stansfield (89, for Gall) 13. Steven Collis 15. Steven Reed 18. Kirk Jackson (79, for Elam) 23. Jamie Gosling

Rochdale: (4-5-1)
1. Neil Edwards
2. Wayne Evans 5. Gareth Griffiths 6. Daryl Burgess 11. Martin Pemberton
12. Kevin Donovan 29. Scott Warner 4. Sean McClare 8. Chris Beech 10. Matt Doughty
27. Paul Connor

13. Matthew Gilks 17. Patrick McCourt (71, for Pemberton) 26. Simon Grand 9. Andy Bishop (76, for Connor) 19. Kevin Townson (23, for Beech)

Noddy Elms’ View Of The Game


Yeovil made sure of three points today, but the one nil score-line flattered Rochdale. Yeovil did much more than the score suggests and it would have been robbery if Rochdale had taken anything from this game. But, at one to nil anything can always happen.

Rochdale’s manager, Steve Parkin, had his work cut out to maintain his winning start, after his team beat Torquay last week. But with injury problems, international duty, and suspension, Parkin needed all his experience to shuffle his team. Against one of the tightest defences in the league Parkin was pushing his luck to suggest his team could sneak a win with a defensive 4-5-1 formation.

Gary Johnson had similar problems but shuffled Adam Lockwood across to left back in place of suspended Colin Pluck, and brought Paul Terry into the right back position. Lee Elam came back onto the right wing and Gavin Williams retained a more forward position behind Kevin Gall.

The game promised to excite, even referee Mr Probert promised a good performance, letting the game flow in the opening minutes. It was the third minute before he blew up for any infringement.

Mr Probert’s leniency brought a smile to the Yeovil contingent as he waved away an appeal following a Rochdale dive following a Rodrigues challenge. But, for the rest of the game Mr Probert continually ignored challenges from behind on the Yeovil’s makeshift centre forward, Williams. How Williams could be penalised when his head was held under Burgess’s armpit was beyond the comprehension of the majority of the 5806 crowd.

The game began relatively quietly, Chris Weale looking commanding, punching two early crosses. The later set Lee Elam away down the right, but the attack fizzled out as the final ball disappointed, an outcome that was to be repeated on too many occasions.

Yeovil maintained pressure and came close after 11 minutes: Elam sent in two good crosses but Crittenden could only hook the second cross wide of the far post. A minute later Yeovil grabbed what turned out to be the winner. Skiverton picked out Gavin WILLIAMS on the edge of the Rochdale box with a pinpoint, route-one, thirty-yard ball. And with one sweeping move pushed the ball onto his right foot and shot inside the far post. Edwards, the diminutive Rochdale keeper, scramble post-ward but was well beaten by the accuracy, rather than the power, of the shot.

At the back Yeovil looked dominant and composed. Even when Elam lost the ball in his own box Rodrigues was on hand to block at the near post.

The game entered a very quiet period, punctuated by slow free kicks and injuries and Parkin’s problems increased when Beech had to be replaced by Townson after just twenty-two minutes. The game dragged as Yeovil toiled on the right wing, winning throw-in after throw-in. Rochdale won two free kicks in the Yeovil half as a result of Mr Probert’s charity, but the Yeovil goal was never in danger.

The game suddenly came to life after 30 minutes: Lockwood, Crittenden and Gall combined well down the left, but Gall’s cross was weak. The Yeovil midfield now dominated, but the final ball often let them down, often expecting far too much of Gall up front. Williams’s break after 38 minutes found Gall, but his first touch let him down and the Rochdale defence recovered to block his shot. Seconds later Lee Johnson sent in a powerful shot that flew just wide of the far post. Lee Elam then was in place to head for goal, but his header was too high.

Mr Probert afforded Rochdale two corners as they enjoyed one of their better periods and finished the half with a flourish.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 1 – 0 Rochdale

Yeovil started the second half where they finished the first: Way put Williams through, but his shot was blocked. Rochdale struggled to cope with Williams’s runs and Burgess’s tug earned him the first yellow card of the afternoon.

Gall became Yeovil’s most dangerous striker with runs down each wing. Often his industry produced a dangerous cross into the Rochdale box, but he either lacked support, or his fellow teammates had made the wrong choice, lining up at the far post rather than the penalty spot.

Rochdale’s Pemberton tried to raise Rochdale spirits, surging forward, but again the Rochdale attack petered out. Pemberton’s negative body language spoke volumes as he trudged back into position. This seemed to sum up Rochdale’s plight and it was no surprise when McCourt replaced him after 70 minutes. McCourt added spice to the Rochdale midfield, and his run threatened the Yeovil defence, but the final cross was again wasted. Yeovil were in full command and Williams was now supreme. But ironically it was Williams who deflected Johnson’s shot wide after Gall had laid the ball back to him.

Throughout the ninety minutes any team will have one or two chances: Townson’s lob from twenty-five yards had Weale scrambling backwards, and the Yeovil crowd sighed with relief when the ball bounced off the Yeovil bar. Gall and Williams responded immediately but Williams blasted his final shot over the Rochdale bar.

Gall and Elam were replaced by Jackson and Stansfield, and it was the local hero who could have added some justice to the score-line. Stansfield latched onto Skiverton’s through ball and had only Edwards to beat, but the Rochdale keeper did well to block Stansfield’s effort. However, as the ball broke lose Stansfield ended up in a heap with a Rochdale defender on top of him, Mr Probert remained consistent and ignored the Yeovil appeals.

But as three minutes ticked by it was the Yeovil fans that appealed for the final whistle in order to avoid a late shock. After all “three points is three points”.

Noddy Elms

Full-time: Yeovil Town 1 – 0 Rochdale

MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Gavin Williams 44 771
Terry Skiverton 10 280
Lee Elam 7 223
Lee Johnson 4 134
Paul Terry 2 111
Hugo Rodrigues 2 83
Nick Crittenden 54
Darren Way 43
Kevin Gall 1 40

Overall match rating: 6 / 10
Performance: 6.3
Entertainment: 5.7

70 votes received.