Venue: Huish Park
Tuesday 22nd July 2003, 7.45pm kick-off.

Conditions: Dry and Overcast
Ground: Perfect

Scorers: Kevin Gall (5 mins, 1-0), Michael Jackson (19 mins, 1-1), Ricardo Fuller (30 mins, 1-2), Ricardo Fuller (35 mins, 1-3), Kevin Gall (43 mins, 2-3), Kevin Gall (44 mins, 3-3), Richard Creswell (54 mins, 3-4) Jake Edwards (84 mins, 4-4).

Attendance: 2,185


Yeovil: None
Preston: None

Line Ups

Line up : (3-4-1-2)

Stephen Collis
Adam Lockwood, Roy O’Brien, Colin Pluck,
Nick Crittenden, Darren Way, Jamie Gosling, Lee Johnson, Abdelhalim El Kholti
Kevin Gall, Kirk Jackson

Subs: James Bittner (74 mins, for Stephen Collis) Paul Shepherd (62 mins, for Nick Crittenden) Adam Stansfield (62 mins, for Kevin Gall) Hugo Rodrigues (62 mins, for Roy O’Brien) Stephen Reed (62 mins, for Jamie Gosling) Andy Lindegaard (62 mins, for Darren Way) Jose Sebastiao (46 mins, for Abdelhalim El Kholti) Jake Edwards (62 mins, for Kirk Jackson) Andy Taylor (62 mins, for Lee Johnson) Alex Jeannin (31 mins, for Colin Pluck), Mark Boyce (62 mins, for Adam Lockwood) Ian Patchett (not used)

Preston: Gould, Alexander, Edwards, Etuhu, Jackson, Lucketti, Cartwright, McKenna, Fuller, Cresswell, Keane. Subs: McCormack, Lonergan, Healy, Lynch, Bailey, Skora, Abbott, O’Neil.

This report courtesy of Noddy Elms:

A Huish Park crowd of 2,185 enjoyed an eight-goal thriller that promised good seasons for both clubs. Preston fielded a strong line-up that, during a hectic first half, put on an exhibition of attractive, decisive attacking football.

Both teams started lively but it was Yeovil who opened the scoring. Kevin Gall’s pace was significant throughout the evening and lead to Yeovil’s first corner after four minutes. Lee Johnson’s cross was cleared to new signing Jamie Gosling on the edge of the Preston box, Gosling’s lob found Kevin GALL unmarked in the penalty area as the Preston defence charged out. Gall’s back header gave the Preston keeper no chance as appeals for offside were ignored: Yeovil 1 Preston 0.

Despite the setback Preston didn’t panic and soon settled into their composed, confident game. The game was played at break-neck speed and Preston’s movement and passing often cut the struggling three-man Yeovil defence to ribbons. The pace, skill and confidence of their attack rang alarm bells for the Yeovil defence and it was no surprise when Preston equalised after 19 minutes. Somewhat surprisingly it came from a dead-ball situation. A right wing corner was headed on across Collis’s goal and Preston’s Michael JACKSON had little difficulty in heading in from close range: Yeovil 1 Preston 1.

Lee Johnson seemed to relish the challenge of Yeovil’s lofty opponents and ran the Yeovil midfield throughout, always seeming to have that much more time than his hurried teammates. But it was the midfield work-horse, Darren Way, who combined with Kevin Gall after 27 minutes to create the next Yeovil chance: Gould fumbled Gall’s cross as Way charged in, but the Preston defence managed to clear.

Two minutes later Preston moved into the lead: working the ball down the right, a purposeful cross found Ricardo FULLER with plenty of space in the Yeovil box and he powered his header past a helpless Collis: Yeovil 1 Preston 2. Alex Jeannin soon replaced Pluck who was carrying an injury.

Minutes later Roy O’Brien did well to block a Preston attack after Gosling had lost possession on the right. But Preston extended their lead with a repeat of their first goal. Ricardo FULLER latched onto a right wing corner and headed past Collis unchallenged: Yeovil 1 Preston 3. Yeovil looked to be heading for a hiding as they were forced to defend on the edge of their box for significant periods.

It wasn’t until Nick Crittenden, who now looked back to his best, fell victim to a two-footed tackled after 42 minutes. That seemed to spur the Glovers on and, as calls for a booking rang out, Yeovil took a quick free kick and Lockwood squared the ball to Kevin GALL who beat Gould easily. Yeovil 2 Preston 3.

Within minutes Yeovil were back on level terms: a decisive ball into the box, this time from Lee Johnson, found Gall. Kevin GALL repeated his earlier feat and completed what will be the first of many hat-tricks. Yeovil 3 Preston 3. The half time whistle blew.

Half Time: Yeovil 3-3 Preston North End

Jose Sebastiao replaced El Kholti at the start of the second half and immediately showed he’s likely to be a crowd pleaser: tricky, with plenty of skill, a player who likes to run with the ball. Within minutes Preston regained the lead: Fuller beat a lunging Jeannin on the right wing and pulled back a decisive cross from the goal line. Richard CRESSWELL, in plenty of space in the Yeovil box, clinically jack-knifed his header past a stranded Collis. Yeovil 3 Preston 4.

Gary Johnson soon made full-scale substitutions to present a new team: Collis, Boyce, Rodrigues, Jeannin, Reed, Shepherd, Taylor, Lindegaard, Sebastiao, Stansfield, Edwards. (Bittner replaced Collis after 73 minutes).

Despite the lack of familiarity the 4-4-2 formation seemed to work well. The team looked more comfortable at the back: the immense Rodrigues, already a crowd favourite, looked imposing and commanding in the centre of defence. Boyce and Taylor showed industry and ability to suggest they are also worthy of further opportunities. Reed made a number of his trademark, positive runs.

The game settled to a less hectic pace as Yeovil came together, Preston rested on their narrow lead. There were few clear-cut chances but, as time tick away, Yeovil appeared the more likely to score. Sebastiao and Stansfield had combined well on the right to set up Lindegaard, whose shot curled wide of a far post. Sebastiao created a good chance for himself, but again his shot was wide. But the Yeovil equaliser eventually arrived, and it was the same trio who created it. On 84 minutes Lindegaard’s inch-perfect diagonal cross into the box found Jake EDWARDS. Edwards rose above his defender to head well past Gould. Yeovil 4 Preston 4. The Westland Stand Terrace began to sing its favourite song: “We’re going to win 5-4”. But time ran out before Yeovil could do that.

As a spectacle, it was great entertainment. But it’s always difficult to read anything into friendly games. With a number of key injuries Yeovil struggled in defence. Today one or two Yeovil’s stars shone. Others, on trial, acquitted themselves well. That shows what a keen eye The Gaffer has for a good player. That is the most encouraging fact as Yeovil approach what will be another exciting season at Huish Park.

Noddy Elms

Full Time: Yeovil 4-4 Preston North End