Venue: Whaddon Road
Sat 11th Sept 2004, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Mix of sunny spells and showers. Occasionally blustery.
Pitch: Fantastic condition

Scorers: Steve Guinan (25, 1-0), Darren Way (29, 1-1)

Attendance: 3,966 (including exactly 1,042 Glovers)

Referee: Tony Leake (Lancashire)
Assistants: Tony Horton (West Midlands); Jim Hubbard (Leicestershire)

Yeovil: None
Cheltenham: None

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale
14. Roy O’Brien 4. Terry Skiverton 25. Liam Fontaine 3. Michael Rose
7. Paul Terry 8. Lee Johnson 6. Darren Way 20. Gavin Williams
11. Phil Jevons 27. Andrejs Stolcers

Subs: 5. Colin Miles 9. Kevin Gall 10. Adrian Caceres (76, for Fontaine) 13. Steven Collis (GK) 18. Bartosz Tarachulski (61, for Stolcers)

Cheltenham Town : (4-4-2)
1. Shane Higgs
15. Jeremy Gill 4. Shane Duff 6. Michael Taylor 3. Jamie Victory
2. Brian Wilson 8. John Finnigan 11. Grant McCann 7. Martin Devaney
10. Damian Spencer 9. Stephen Guinan

Subs: 12. Scott Brown (GK) 14. David Bird 16. Graham Fyfe 17. Kayode Odejayi (73, for Guinan) 18. Ashley Vincent

Badger’s View of the Game

After last week’s dazzling second half performance against Swansea City, Gary Johnson rewarded the players who had played the majority of that half by selecting them for the starting line-up. That meant no place for Kevin Gall or Bartosz Tarachulski who occupied the bench with Gavin Williams and Andrejs Stolcers getting the nod.

The Glovers kicked off going up the Whaddon Road slope with a slight wind in their faces. Long serving home player Jamie Victory started off a large number of half-chances for both sides by putting a shot-cum-cross in that went low across the face of the Yeovil goal. At the other end Paul Terry forced home keeper Shane Higgs into a strong save when he caught the ball on the half-volley on the corner of the penalty box. Ex-Hereford striker Stephen Guinan made good use of the slope and wind when he attempted a 40-yarder that caught Chris Weale somewhat off his line. Fortunately his shot was a yard wide of the post.

Mid-way through the half though, as heavy rain began to fall, Cheltenham grabbed the lead slightly against the run of play. The goal had an element of fortune to it. Referee Tony Leake attempted to play an advantage after a Yeovil player was fouled, but the Glovers never really regained possession and the match official’s mistake was compounded when Martin Devaney burst down the left flank, producing a pinpoint back-post cross to Stephen GUINAN, whose header gave Chris Weale no chance as it landed in the top right hand corner. To his credit, referee Leake later apologised to Glovers manager Gary Johnson for his mistake but the goal had to stand.

An unfortunate pattern to Yeovil’s away performances in recent seasons is that they have been at their most vulnerable after going behind in a game. So it was pleasing to see the Glovers hit back almost instantly with an equalising strike within four minutes of the restart. Gavin Williams produced a cross-field ball over the top of the Cheltenham defence, and ghosting in on the back post was 5’6″ Darren WAY, who may have been the shortest player on the pitch, but still managed to land a looping header over the top of Shane Higgs and into the back of the net.

Phil Jevons could have even increased the Glovers lead seven minutes later, when he planted a forceful header at the Cheltenham goal following another cross into the box, but his attempt went just wide of the goal. Yeovil finished the half in comfortable fashion, even if the Cheltenham defence were ensuring that bar that Jevons header, little in the way of anything aerial was going to get past them.

Half-time: Cheltenham Town 1 Yeovil Town 1

The home side nearly got off to a flyer after the break, when John Finnigan put a lobbed attempt onto the top of Chris Weale’s crossbar from 20 yards out, with Lee Johnson hacking the loose ball away from danger.

With the Glovers now kicking downhill, it was sods law that the wind began to drop and the weather cleared, making it easier for the Robins to defend against the elements. They were helped in part by some extremely lenient refereeing from Mr Peake. Whilst most football fans would prefer to see the booking-free game that materialised, it was surprising that Martin Devaney’s use of Darren Way as a climbing frame, and Stephen Gunian’s reckless and late challenge on Roy O’Brien escaped without the use of a yellow card. The game was certainly turning into a physical one, but Yeovil were doing well to withstand the Cheltenham long-ball bombardment.

The home side did manage to get in behind the Glovers defence on two occasions, with Damien Spencer being the culprit that missed the chance to win the game for the Robins. Former Glover Jerry Gill put in a right wing cross that Spencer headed wide of the target with the goal gaping. Spencer later made a mess of an even better chance when he was put through one-on-one with Chris Weale, only for Darren Way to appear out of nowhere and twice thwart Spencer’s attempts to continue his run, the latter a marvellous sliding tackle that managed to rebound the ball straight back into Chris Weale’s arms.

Gary Johnson decided to combat what was now two Cheltenham lines of four by bringing on Bartosz Tarachulski for Andrejs Stolcers, who had struggled to win the aerial balls for most of the afternoon. Later on, Adrian Caceres replaced Liam Fontaine as the Glovers firmed things up by going to a 4-4-2 formation.

Prior to the arrival of Caceres, Yeovil had matched Cheltenham for territory and possession but had struggled to get in behind the Cheltenham back four. Most of the Glovers chances were restricted to long rangers, with the pick of the bunch being a Lee Johnson 40 yard strike that would have surely eclipsed his goals against Plymouth. Higgs was well beaten at his left hand post, but the ball whistled a couple of foot wide. Caceres injected a greater degree of trickiness into the Glovers midfield and his weaving runs created more space to unlock the Cheltenham defence with the Argentinian twice getting chances himself to win the game.

Cheltenham had their own game plan though, and introduced Kayode Odejayi in favour of goalscorer Guinan as they looked to use pace to unlock the Glovers back line. The whole match had all the aura of a tactical chess match between managers Gary Johnson and John Ward as they each tried moves to try and unsettle each others sides.

Roy O’Brien was coolness personified when he stopped a Cheltenham cross-cum-shot on his goal-line and stood on the ball deciding how he was going to clear it. The Irishman was always the man in control throughout the game and Spencer and Odejayi could not find a route through. They did get the ball in the back of the net at one point that left the home fans celebrating but the referee’s whistle had long since gone for a handball on the way through. In the end Adrian Caceres could have won it in the last minute when Higgs had to have two goes at stopping a Caceres shot at the foot of his post. But it would have been rough justice on either team if they had finished the game empty handed.

Full-time: Cheltenham Town 1 Yeovil Town 1


MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Darren Way 21 787
Roy O’Brien 4 273
Gavin Williams 1 167
Terry Skiverton 1 127
Paul Terry 2 113
Lee Johnson 80
Liam Fontaine 1 73

Overall match rating: 6.1 / 10
Performance: 6.2
Entertainment: 6

30 votes received.