Venue: Roots Hall
Sat 30th April 2005, 3pm kick-off.
Scorers: Phil Jevons (83, 0-1)
Attendance: 11,735 (including 1,600 Glovers)
Referee: Paul Melin (Surrey)
Assistants: Michael McCoy (Kent) and Gavin Ward (Kent)
Southend: Che Wilson (51, foul)
Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
13. Steven Collis
12. Kevin Amankwaah 4. Terry Skiverton 14. Efetobore Sodje 5. Colin Miles
16. Andy Lindegaard 8. Lee Johnson 7. Paul Terry 25. Arron Davies
18. Bartosz Tarachulski 11. Phil Jevons
Subs: 1. Chris Weale (GK) 3. Michael Rose 9. Kevin Gall (73, for Miles) 10. Marcus Richardson (29, for Tarachulski) 27. Andrejs Stolcers (44, for Richardson)
Southend United :
13. Darryl Flahavan 2. Duncan Jupp 15. Spencer Prior 6. Adam Barrett 18. Che Wilson 7. Mark Gower 29. Luke Guttridge 8. Kevin Maher 10. Carl Pettefer 23. Freddy Eastwood 14. Wayne Gray
Subs: 1. Bart Griemink (GK) 5. Andy Edwards 9. Mark Bentley (66, for Guttridge) 11. Lawrie Dudfield (80, for Gower) 28. Alan McCormack
A View of the Game
For all the suggestions that this match at Roots Hall might lay claim as being a Coca Cola League Two match, all the signs at Roots Hall on arrival were that this was a Cup Final that we were heading into. A stadium with every ticket available snapped up weeks beforehand, a special commemorative programme on sale, everyone packed inside the ground long before kick-off, and a clan of some rather … errr … busty young girls served up in glorious technicolour to take a few people’s minds away from the pre-match tensions.
For Gary Johnson, what emerged had been the news that he had been covering up Darren Way’s Monday bout of food-poisoning that had still laid him low enough to not even travel with the squad to Essex. That on its own resulted in a fair degree of reshuffling, with Paul Terry moving into the centre of midfield, whilst Andy Lindegaard headed to wide-right. Bartosz Tarachulski came in for a start whilst Colin Miles – so often chosen for these sort of games – made his first appearance for 2.5 months for the club in his less usual role as a left-back.
On kick-off, Roots Hall was turned into a cacophony of sound as all 12,000 supporters attempted to make their feelings on the importance of the game known, and at last the waiting was over.
The first 20 minutes saw Southend provide plenty of good approach play and possession but without any real end product. Paul Terry had produced the first early scare for the home side when he curled a cross just wide of the goalframe but this was a period where caution was evident and the Glovers were soaking up everything that was thrown at them, with Kevin Amankwaah, Efe Sodje and Terry Skiverton in particular giving Southend nothing and leaving quality strikers like Wayne Gray and Freddy Eastwood looking toothless.
Yeovil were showing that quantity of possession need not necessarily be an indication of quality, and their lesser time on the ball was working to greater effect. Bartosz Tarachulski’s 20th minute cross found the head of Terry Skiverton but the Yeovil captain’s header went wide. But this was not to be the big Pole’s day. Deprived of any sort of protection from referee Paul Melin from the countless shoves and shirt pulls, he lasted just 30 minutes before having to leave the field with a broken toe. Marcus Richardson provided a like-for-like replacement.
Two minutes after his arrival, Richardson thought he had opened the scoring when he received a Phil Jevons flick-on. Chesting the ball and wrong-footing home keeper Darryl Flahavan, he landed the ball in the net from close range but a linesman’s flag for offside was to deny him.
A minute later Southend finally got their first attempt on goal, although they got it in slightly uncomfortable circumstances. Earlier this month at Kidderminster, the opposition chose to play on whilst one of their players was down following an injury, and once again Southend elected to play on with ten men despite Wayne Gray lying on the deck. Freddy Eastwood made himself room from wide on the left and cut inside, but his attempt on goal was woeful and skewed well wide of the target.
As the game finally opened up, play switched to the other end as Lee Johnson fed Marcus Richardson down the right and despite looking as though he never had a chance of keeping the ball in play, the former Lincoln striker put in a Gallesque cross from the byline to the back-post allowing Arron Davies to head the ball back across the face of goal towards the top corner. A near certain goal – that was until Darryl Flahavan flung himself at the ball and palmed it away for a corner.
Two minutes later and Flahavan was to Southend’s rescue once again as Johnson and Richardson combined for a second time setting the latter in on goal. The former Woking keeper’s brave block denied Yeovil once again as they enjoyed their best spell of the match.
Andy Lindegaard perhaps should have crossed rather than shot when he broke through just before the half-time cuppa but he drove the ball wide of the near post when Phil Jevons was screaming for the ball on the back post. But the half ended with Yeovil having to reorganise a second time, with Richardson’s 15 minutes of fame being an impressive one, but ultimately ending in disappointment as he trudged off the field with a hamstring problem, replaced by Andrej Stolcers.
During injury time, Yeovil hearts were in their mouths when Southend won a free kick right on the edge of the area in an almost perfect spot for a strike on goal. But Mark Gower’s drive was deflected for a corner and the game went in at the break with neither side making the breakthrough.
Half-time: Southend United 0 Yeovil Town 0
No obvious changes from either camp during the break and it was Yeovil who grabbed the first attempt on goal six minutes in when a Kevin Amankwaah short corner found Lee Johnson, who threaded the ball square to Andy Lindegaard, but unfortunately Lindy’s shot didn’t find the target.
Freddy Eastwood proved to be inaccurate once again when he slid his way across the edge of the Yeovil area only to land his shot wide of the target. Meanwhile Che Wilson became the one and only entry into the referees notebook when he chopped down Andy Lindegaard after the right-winger had changed direction sharply.
Freddy Eastwood missed again when he headed wide as Southend continued their possessional domination without really making Steve Collis break sweat. Collis finally had to save one after a Kevin Maher cross was flicked onto the back post and a rare moment of sloppy marking gave Wayne Gray a free header six yards out. Somewhat charitably, he managed little more than a backpass straight into the Yeovil keeper’s arms.
Luke Gutteridge became the latest Southend player to forget where the target was as he put Eastwood’s cross well wide. Yeovil had been struggling to get any kind of incisive moves into the Southend half but finally managed their first attempt of note 20 minutes in when Lee Johnson produced a trademark long-ranger that whistled past the post.
Colin Miles retired in favour of Kevin Gall as Gary Johnson made his intentions clear with just 17 minutes remaining. Gall slotted in on the right-wing slot as Lindy switched through to left-back as Yeovil prepared to try and hit Southend on the break with speed.
Freddy Eastwood continued his attempts to land the match ball in the car park when he squandered another chance on the edge of the area, sending Kevin Maher’s crossfield pass hopelessly wide of the target. It can only be assumed that Southend’s leading goalscorer is normally a little more on his game than this – throughout the game he looked like a player that had put his boots on the wrong way round.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, the match seemed destined to end in a 0-0 draw. Kevin Maher forced Steve Collis to beat out a cross-cum-shot after Arron Davies had returned one of the Southend captain’s corners.
But with time ticking out, Yeovil were to execute a classic sucker-punch on the home side to punish them for their waywardness around the 18 yard area. A quick ball out of defence found Arron Davies and as he interchanged passes with Phil Jevons, the duo stretched the Southend backline. Davies shot from distance and as the ball cannoned off Spencer Prior, the loose ball landed perfectly into the path of Phil JEVONS who instantly fired home from a narrow angle. All four sides of the ground fell silent for a split second as the Southend fans sat with their heads in their hands and at the far end Yeovil fans peered across 90 yards to see where the ball had landed. The sight of Kevin Gall grabbing Jevons in delight told them all they needed to know, and 1,600 Glovers erupted in delight and Gary Johnson did a jig on the Roots Hall pitch.
Seven long minutes plus nearly five minutes of injury time seemed to last as long as the match itself, as fingernails were bitten down to the core in the North Stand, but the nearest Southend got was a volley from substitute Mark Bentley as Yeovil’s defence remained rock solid with Amankwaah, Sodje and Skiverton totally in command and in fact Kevin Gall and Arron Davies looking the more likely to provide the next goal, as Southend’s attempts to push up in numbers left them exposed on the break.
The final whistle brought celebrations that seemed to go on forever, and was only broken up by Gary Johnson reminding his side that they haven’t quite done the job yet. With Swansea and Scunthorpe both winning, the season is certainly not decided yet, but the reaction of both players and supporters gave an idea as to how huge that result was. Southend’s players sat in the centre-circle with their heads in their hands as the celebrations continued showed how fine the line between success and failure can be at this stage of the season.
Full time: Southend United 0 Yeovil Town 1
MOTM Vote Result:
Overall match rating: 8.6 / 10
65 votes received.