FA Cup First Round

Venue: Huish Park
Sat 8th November 2003, 5.35pm kick-off.

Conditions: Cold, breezy, dry
Ground: Perfect

Scorers: Kevin Gall (39, 1-0), Gavin Williams (46, 2-0), Colin Pluck (59, 3-0), Jake Edwards (66, 4-0), Chris Armstrong (88, 4-1)

Attendance: 5,049 – including 230 Wrexham supporters

Referee: Mr C Penton
Assistant Refs: Mr K Hawkes, Mr S Hollick

Yeovil: None
Wrexham: Roberts (72, unsporting behaviour)

Line Ups

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale
24. Paul Terry 2. Adam Lockwood 4. Terry Skiverton 5. Colin Pluck
20. Gavin Williams 6. Darren Way 8. Lee Johnson 10. Nick Crittenden
9. Kevin Gall 17. Jake Edwards

3. Abdelhalim El Kholti (75, for Crittenden) 7. Adam Stansfield (79, for Gall) 12. Hugo Rodrigues 13. Steven Collis 18. Kirk Jackson (72, for Edwards)

1. Andy Dibble 4. Stephen Roberts 5. Brian Carey 6. Dennis Lawrence 7. Carlos Edwards 3. Shaun Holmes 10. Darren Ferguson 2. Jim Whitley 11. Chris Llewellyn 8. Lee Jones 23. Hector Sam

13. Paul Whitfield 9. Chris Armstrong (55, for Jones) 15. Craig Morgan (45, for Carey) 17. Mark Jones 19. Stephen Thomas (73, for Llewellyn)

Jeremy Gear’s View Of The Game

Yeovil don’t just dash their hopes, they Wrex-ham!

Giant killing is what Yeovil do best, but as Gary Johnson said after the game, who were the giants? To the millions of viewers watching, this game was beamed around the world, most would have thought Yeovil were! Wrexham, who lie mid table in the second division were cut to shreds by the home team who answered the manager’s call to be more clinical and mentally tough where it mattered.

In the first half the match was only separated by one goal, and Wrexham, who were good going forward, especially right wing back Carlos Edwards looked a threat. Darren Ferguson, the son of Sir Alex was the playmaker in midfield, but at the back they looked distinctively dodgy, and Kevin Gall, like a firework by a dog kennel, scared the living daylights out of them! The early second half goal was needed, and right on cue, it came within a minute of the restart. Game over, The Wrexham back 3 slumped to the ground as Gavin Williams delightfully tucked away the goal that put out the dragons fire.

Kevin Gall started the way he always does, in the 10th minute he surged down the right and was hauled back, the Ref, often fussy, gave a free kick which Yeovil didn’t take advantage of. Gall was then away with only Andy Dibble to beat, but the experienced keeper saved well low down to parry the ball away for a corner. Gall again crossed from the right, to the far post where Edwards, playing against his former club, headed the ball just wide. A minute later, the Glovers lost possession and should really have cleared the danger, allowing Wrexham a corner, but they too lost possession straight from it, and like a rocket, Yeovil broke. With such pace Gavin Williams released Gall down the right, he went like absolute lightning before squaring for Jake Edwards who was thwarted by the experienced Dibble.

Wrexham now began to get into the game, Ferguson prompted, and Sam up front forced a good save from Weale. On 34 minutes, Darren Way sent Nick Crittenden away, but he shot tamely at the keeper when really he should have beaten the keeper.

The first goal came on 39 minutes, Lee Johnson ran at the heart of the Dragons defence and crossed perfectly for Kevin Gall, with loads of time and space to score with his head. The marking was so bad one can only assume that written down the side of the Yeovil striker it said, light the fuse and retreat at least 5 metres. As half time approached a couple of half chances went Wrexham’s way but were not taken, it could have been so different if they had, and no doubt Gary Johnson said to his troops at half time, that to kill the game you need to score early in the second period.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 1 Wrexham 0

They did just that, Gall and Crittenden combined deep down the right, and the latter put a powerful cross into the box which Gavin Williams skilfully clipped with the outside of his boot to steer the ball low down into the back corner of the net. There was no way Wrexham were going to come back from that, psychologically it’s the best or worst time to score. It knocked the stuffing out of the visitors. A little like Cheltenham’s early second half goal did against Yeovil back in the league in October.

Ferguson tried to inspire his team and did well to cross after a powerful run into the Yeovil box, but Sam took to long to tee his shot up and was forced to blast the ball into the Westland stand. This was just after Gall again had shown a clean pair of heels, as he raced from deep inside his own half to attempt to latch onto a long Weale clearance. The way he eats up ground is amazing and he was unfortunate not to get enough boot on the ball to prod it beyond the advancing Dibble, who by now was looking anything like the experienced keeper of the first half.

On 56 minutes Chris Armstrong, once of Crystal Palace and Tottenham came on for Wrexham to try and add some firepower to the front line, but within three minutes of his entrance he would have to have performed miracles as the hosts went three up. From a Lee Johnson corner, Colin Pluck headed goalwards and the ball found its way over the line, despite a last ditch ‘dive’ from Dibble.

It really felt now that Yeovil could get a bag full of goals, the fourth came 67 minutes and was probably the best of the lot. Paul Terry, who was having a superb game, his best for Yeovil, picked the ball up on the half way line and slipped an intelligent ball into the path of Darren Way, who skipped passed the challenges of the defenders and raced into the box, before squaring the ball to Jake Edwards who gratefully knocked in number 4. The away supporters had by now seen enough, they decided to get a head start and plenty left early. One was heard on the 5 live phone in later saying that his team were spineless, a little harsh. On the day Yeovil were relentless going forward, almost unstoppable at times, industrious in midfield, and well marshalled and strong at the back. Enough to beat most second division sides…. we haven’t lost to one yet, unless you count penalties!

The only blot on the copybook then was the goal conceded on 88 minutes. At 4 nil up I guess you can play your way out of defence, but Lockwood will have been disappointed to misplace a pass which allowed Chris Armstrong to score with a terrific chip over the head of Chris Weale. Weale got his finger tips to it and it would have been the save of the season if he had tipped it over the bar, unfortunately for him it looped into the back of the net, and gave the Dragons a consolation goal. 10 years ago they knocked out the might Arsenal, this year beaten by the mighty Yeovil.

So Yeovil’s cup exploits continue. It didn’t really feel like the FA Cup. We have come to expect this kind of game this season. No more will we hear that this was the 22nd or 23rd scalp for the non-league side. Leaving the ground you almost have an arrogant confidence. Its as if you expect them to win each game, and to be honest, against higher opposition, on home turf at least, we look as good, even better than some of our higher league opposition!

Lets just hope the second round draw is kind later, for two reasons, firstly it would be great to be up against a premiership side in January, not for the pay day, but just to see how good we really are, and secondly, there’s no FA Trophy this season and to be out of all cup competitions before Christmas just ain’t cricket is it!

Jeremy Gear

Full-time: Yeovil Town 4 Wrexham 1

MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Gavin Williams 40 593
Kevin Gall 10 293
Darren Way 11 234
Lee Johnson 7 214
Paul Terry 7 179
Jake Edwards 5 98
Colin Pluck 4 93
Terry Skiverton 1 40
Adam Lockwood 1 19

Overall match rating: 9.2 / 10
Performance: 9.1
Entertainment: 9.3

86 votes received.