Venue: Huish Park
Sat 13th March 2004, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Showers. cool
Ground: Perfect

Scorers: Adam Lockwood (16, 1-0), Abdelhalim El Kholti (43, 2-0), Gavin Williams (49, 3-0), Colin Pluck (72, 4-0)

Attendance: 8,726 – including approx 1,600 Gasheads

Referee: Alan Butler (Nottinghamshire)
Assistant Refs: Steve Dorr (Worcestershire); Andrew Turner (Devon)

Yeovil: Lindegaard (18, unsporting behaviour), Skiverton (28, unsporting behaviour)
Bristol Rovers: Anderson (19, unsporting behaviour), Hyde (20, unsporting behaviour). Red card: Hyde (20, second bookable offence)

 Team Line-Ups

Yeovil Town : (3-4-1-2)
13. Steven Collis
2. Adam Lockwood 4. Terry Skiverton 5. Colin Pluck
16. Andy Lindegaard 6. Darren Way 8. Lee Johnson 3. Abdelhalim El Kholti
20. Gavin Williams
9. Kevin Gall 18. Kirk Jackson

7. Adam Stansfield 12. Hugo Rodrigues (64, for Skiverton) 24. Paul Terry (71, for Lindegaard) 25. Simon Weatherstone (90, for El Kholti) 30. Jon Sheffield

Bristol Rovers : (3-5-2)
1. Kevin Miller
5. Adam Barrett 6. Kevin Austin 8. Robert Quinn
24. Neil Arndale 3. Ijah Anderson 7. David Savage 14. Graham Hyde 15. Simon Bryant
9. Paul Tait 32. Lee Matthews

21. Ryan Clarke 10. Junior Agogo 22. Lee Thorpe (57, for Tait) 30. Ryan Williams (75, for Matthews) 20. Christian Edwards (45, for Bryant)

Jeremy Gear’s View Of The Game

Pirates Ship is grounded!

Yeovil Town bounced back in tremendous fashion as they convincingly hammered a sorry looking Bristol Rovers side who, quite frankly were lucky that they did not lose by a bigger margin than the final score of 4-0. No doubt the score line would have been higher, but with most of the second half a foregone conclusion the home side took the pace out of the game to sensibly conserve energy for Tuesday nights mouth-watering encounter with Doncaster. Such was Yeovil’s superiority if the Pirates flew the skull and crossbones flag it would surely have been replaced by the white one as at times as they were nowhere to be seen, Phil Bater, the Rovers caretaker manager says he’ll look at himself because he’s the man who motivates the players and the buck stops with him, honest words from an honest man but the Rovers board should give him the job full time or give it to someone else sooner rather than later as they hover perilously close to the drop zone, uncertainly does no one any favours. Yeovil’s board on the other hand can at least keep the chequebook in the safe for another week or so as the side today was made up from the same players that took them out of the conference a season ago. Panic measures likewise does no one any favours.

The Glovers welcomed the return of Skiverton and Pluck, Lindegaard was the preferred choice down the right, and the familiar but not seen pairing for sometime saw Jackson and Gall return to head the strike force. Collis, assured throughout replaced broken hand victim Chris Weale.

The game started brightly as Yeovil looked for the first goal, it nearly came in the second minute when Abdel El Kholti whipped in a good cross from the left which flashed across the six-yard box. Skiverton went close in the first ten minutes with two headers, both of which missed the target. Gall, itching to score against his old club had the perfect opportunity in the 12th minute but his shot was saved by Kevin Miller, this after being put through by Lee Johnson. Johnson would surely make a fine advert for Specsavers, as all game the youngster’s vision was superb. The little man plays deep, but is fantastic to watch. He’ll take the ball off his back four with no resistance and then to see him spray it all over the park is worth the entrance fee alone. His patient build up play and his ploy to keep possession pays dividends. It was he again involved in the free kick that released Skiverton down the left, the captain’s shot flew off the crossbar into the path of Adam LOCKWOOD who stabbed home from close range to put the home side one up in the 16th minute.

By this stage the game was getting niggly, Lindegaard and Anderson were both booked for afters, but moments later Rovers lost their midfield man Hyde who was booked for a rash challenge on El Kholti, a silly outburst then had the ref reaching for his pocket seconds later to flash him a red.

As the half wore on Yeovil continued to dominate. Gall, Lindegaard and Johnson had shots at goal, and Williams found himself onside with only the keeper to beat but his nutmeg did not quite catch Miller out and the keeper managed to clear his lines. Skiverton was booked for a foul on Matthews after a mix up between Abdel and Johnson. Fortunately the free kick was deflected for a corner, and like most of Rovers sorties into Yeovil territory this one came to nothing.

Yeovil’s killer second goal came two minutes before the break. Way and Abdel EL KHOLTI, who had linked well all afternoon did so again, and the French Moroccan raced into the box to hammer a low shot beyond the beaten Miller. The ball appeared to take a deflection off Way but the goal was given, and how the rejuvenated wing back deserved it. Gall could have scored again moments later but his well-struck shot found Miller, and then to sum up Rovers day, bang on half time Lee Matthews shot flew out the ground well over the heads of the packed away end.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 2 – 0 Bristol Rovers

Christian Edwards replaced Simon Bryant at the start of the second half to shore up a creaking vessel but with only four minutes gone the Pirates ship was sunk after a lovely goal from Gavin WILLIAMS. Gall the provider layed the ball into his fellow countryman’s path and Williams, unusually quiet today by his standards, made no mistake as buried his right foot shot low into the corner of the net from the edge of the area. Lockwood then got into the action and his surging run forward went unchallenged and he unleashed a terrific drive from distance, as he returned to his defensive position you could tell he enjoyed that moment, so big was his smile!

Hugo replaced Skiverton on 65 minutes and found himself in a goal scoring position within seconds, it was too much too soon and he snatched at his shot just as the defence cleared the danger. Gall again spurned another good chance, his snapshot finding the legs of Miller. How he would like to have scored in front of the goading, but diminishing Rovers fans.

Paul Terry replaced Lindegaard, and he like Hugo before him was quickly involved. Johnson sprayed the ball wide and with his first touch Terry lined up a cross which was met by the head of Colin PLUCK who has a habit of sneaking in well, and he put Yeovil 4 up with a firm and well-taken header. Ryan Williams replaced the ineffective Lee Matthews and for once Rovers started to play some football. Those fans in Blue that were left ironically cheered as they put several passes together, The green half of Huish joined in too and gave football some much welcomed comical relief following events surrounding Leicester city that have tarnished the game this week.

Tuesday night will be another big test for the Town, yes the chequebook’s locked away and on this performance it can stay there. But Doncaster will provide a much sterner test than today’s opponents, and the visit of the league leaders will highlight how the two sides have progressed since acclimatising to league football. At Huddersfield a week or two ago it was men against boy’s, lets hope Yeovil’s men come out to play on Tuesday…not that they’ll need much motivating as we welcome the return of the Mac!

Jeremy Gear

Full-time: Yeovil Town 4 – 0 Bristol Rovers