Fri 8th Oct 2004, 7.45pm kick-off.
Scorers: Phil Jevons (48, 0-1), Grant Holt (68, 1-1), Gary Jones (82, 2-1)
Attendance: 2,402 (including approx 250 Glovers fans)
Referee: Nigel Miller (Co Durham)
Assistants: David Storrie (W Yorkshire), Neil Yates (Lancashire)
Rochdale: Leo Bertos (58, foul), Daryl Burgess (71, foul), Grant Holt (90, dissent), Paul Tait (90, dissent)
Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale
7. Paul Terry 14. Roy O’Brien 25. Liam Fontaine 5. Colin Miles
9. Kevin Gall 8. Lee Johnson 6. Darren Way 3. Michael Rose
11. Phil Jevons 27. Andrejs Stolcers
Subs: 4. Terry Skiverton (46, for Miles) 10. Adrian Caceres 13. Steven Collis (GK) 16. Andy Lindegaard (46, for Gall) 18. Bartosz Tarachulski (74, for Fontaine)
Rochdale : (4-5-1)
1. Neil Edwards
2. Wayne Evans 5. Gareth Griffiths 6. Daryl Burgess 3. Tony Gallimore
7. Leo Bertos 29. Scott Warner 14. Paul Weller 11. Gary Jones 4. Ernest Cooksey
9. Grant Holt
Subs: 13. Matthew Gilks (GK) 18. Jamie Clarke (72, for Griffiths) 15. Ashley Probets 23. Leighton McGivern 10. Paul Tait (for Cooksey)
Badger’s View of the Game
As with most of the games played this season, much of the pre-match deliberations centred around who would line up at the back for the Glovers, although the end result was a surprise. Colin Pluck made his first start as a left-back for the season, with Michael Rose switching to left wing. The rest of the back line was as per last week’s starting line-up against Northampton, with Terry Skiverton kept to the bench.
Yeovil opened up Rochdale early on with two crosses that fizzed across the face of the box, with Andrejs Stolcers within inches of sliding in to convert once such ball. But Rochdale were competing well, closing Yeovil down at a frightening pace, playing a 4-5-1 with the obvious attempt of flooding the Yeovil midfield.
In doing so, they managed to create their own half-chances, striking the woodwork, although in fairness it seemed as though there were Yeovil players covering the goal itself. First Gary Jones produced a lobbed shot that clipped the top of Chris Weale’s crossbar, then a couple of minutes later a Grant Holt header also landed on top of the crossbar with Darren Way covering on the goal-line.
This was a very messy low quality first half, particularly from the Glovers who seemed to have lost the art of completing more than two consecutive passes. Rochdale were coping better with this sort of game, though were concentrating most of their efforts into stopping Yeovil from playing rather than setting things up for themselves. Grant Holt seemed to be their one and only outlet and he used his power to force his way past a Yeovil defender, laying the ball back on a plate for Scott Warner, who fortunately aimed his shot at Row Z instead of the goal.
Although Yeovil were playing badly they weren’t being helped by the persistent lack of attention given by referee Nigel Miller to a series of fouls from behind, with Phil Jevons being cut down twice without action. Finally he spotted Grant Holt’s similar tackle on Roy O’Brien but rather than reach for his cards, he forced the Yeovil defender to leave the field to continue his treatment.
Somehow surviving probably their worst quality 45 minutes of the season, the Glovers were failing to pick up second balls, and one such occasion saw Paul Weller fire one wide as half time approached. But in a move that would have perfectly defined the term of “scoring against the run of play” Andrejs Stolcers came within a whisker of giving Yeovil the lead deep into injury time when his drive towards goal was deflected off the heel of a Rochdale defender with the home player knowing next to nothing about it.
Two positives for Yeovil from that first half – (a) the scoreline was still 0-0 and (b) you could bet your bottom dollar that Gary Johnson was going to be tearing the paint off the walls during the half time break. Somehow things couldn’t be any worse.
Half-time: Rochdale 0 Yeovil Town 0
Few people were surprised when Gary Johnson made several changes to the line-up. Off went Colin Miles who had been struggling to fulfil a left-back’s role on his first game back for a while. On came Andy Lindegaard into a right wing-back position, with Michael Rose his opposite number. Also on the field was Terry Skiverton with Kevin Gall perhaps a little unlucky to be sacrificed as part of the formation change.
The result was stunning to say the least. Michael Rose, in his new deeper role, picked up the ball inside his own half and ran close on 50 yards, riding a couple of tackles before delivering the killer ball through to Phil JEVONS. Ten yards out, the Yeovil striker cut inside Daryl Burgess and curled a beauty into the corner for his ninth goal of the season.
The Glovers really were looking far more the part in this new formation, with now five midfielders matching five. Phil Jevons instigated a wonderful attacking move when he ran through the centre of the Rochdale midfield, playing a great one-two, then slotting a through ball to Andrejs Stolcers, who forced home keeper Neil Edwards into parrying the ball but a defender hacked clear.
The home side were also starting to pick up a number of yellow cards with Leo Bertos the first in the book for a late tackle on Darren Way. Michael Rose produced a shot-cum-cross that whipped right across the Rochdale goal with Stolcers once again inches away from converting it.
With Yeovil so dominant, it was no surprise when Rochdale made their own tactical ploy, with ex-Bristol Rovers striker Paul Tait introduced as a second striker to allow them to revert to a 4-4-2. But still Yeovil dominated with Wayne Evans almost inadvertantly increasing the Glovers lead when he headed a Stolcers cross rather too close to his own goal for comfort.
With all this pressure but no second goal, Yeovil were made to pay when on 68 minutes Rochdale unexpectedly equalised. Paul Weller got space on the left wing, and when his flighted cross was put into the box, Yeovil’s defensive marking went walkabout allowing Grant HOLT the chance to deposit a 10 yard free header past Chris Weale for an equaliser that woke the home crowd up from their slumbers.
Goals change games and whilst the equaliser lifted the crowd, it also lifted Rochdale’s players. After Phil Jevons had flicked a header wide, Gary Johnson decided to change his formation for the second time in the match, choosing to switch back to a 4-4-2 presumably to match Rochdale in the final portion of the game, Liam Fontaine making way for Bartosz Tarachulski, with Jevons alternating between a left wing role and a withdrawn striker position.
But Rochdale were in the ascendancy and the final substitution did little to deal with that. Paul Terry did brilliantly to thwart a run by Paul Tait when a last ditch tackle forced the striker to scuff his shot wide.
Eight minutes from the end though, Rochdale’s comeback was complete when once again the Yeovil defence failed to deal with Grant Holt. Seemingly in a low risk area close to the corner flag, he wormed his way out of a Yeovil challenged and forced the ball to the corner of the penalty area. Indecision seemed to rule amongst the Yeovil defence as to who should chase the loose ball, and the result was that Gary JONES was able to fire the winning goal home via Chris Weale’s near post.
Andy Lindegaard stopped it getting worse when Paul Tait turned Roy O’Brien, but Lindy forced Tait to go wide and eventually blocked him out for a corner. But the Glovers could have snatched a now unexpected draw four minutes into injury time when Andrejs Stolcers managed to pick out Bartosz Tarachulski five yards from goal. Sadly for Yeovil, the Polish striker put his header inches over the bar and a long painful journey up to North Manchester was about to become an even more painful journey home.
Full-time: Rochdale 2 Yeovil Town 1
MOTM Vote Result:
Overall match rating: 4.6 / 10
7 votes received.