Venue: Huish Park
Sat 9th April 2005, 3pm kick-off.
Conditions: Windy, cool
Pitch: Very good
Scorers: Arron Davies (5, 1-0), Adam Rundle (32, 1-1), Rhys Day (pen 51, 1-2), Darren Way (53, 2-2), Michael Rose (71, 3-2), Phil Jevons (72, 4-2), Darren Way (81, 5-2)
Attendance: 6,471 (including approx 250 Mansfield fans)
Referee: Trevor Kettle (Berk)
Assistants: Mike Hawken (Cornwall) and Mike Mullarkey (Devon)
Yeovil: Lee Johnson (60, foul)
Mansfield: Fraser McLachlan (9, persistent fouling), Alex Baptiste (88, dissent)
Yeovil Town : (4-3-3)
13. Steven Collis
2. Adam Lockwood 4. Terry Skiverton 14. Efetobore Sodje 3. Michael Rose
7. Paul Terry
8. Lee Johnson 6. Darren Way
9. Kevin Gall 11. Phil Jevons 25. Arron Davies
Subs: 1. Chris Weale (GK) 5. Colin Miles 12. Kevin Amankwaah (88, for Lockwood) 27. Andrejs Stolcers (82, for Gall) 28. Marvin Brown (87, for Jevons)
Mansfield Town :
1. Kevin Pilkington 2. Scott McNiven 5. Rhys Day 15. Alex Baptiste 31. Gareth Jelleyman 12. Simon Brown 11. Giles Coke 22. Callum Lloyd 26. Fraser McLachlan 29. Richard Barker 6. Adam Rundle
Subs: 13. Jason White (GK) 21. Luke Dimech 24. Danny Heron 27. Richard Lonsdale 16. Jake Buxton
A View of the Game
Glovers boss Gary Johnson once again rang the changes in an attempt to re-spark his side into action, as they went into their home match against Mansfield Town on the back of four defeats in the last five games – by far the worst run of form of the season. Robbed of Bartosz Tarachulski through chicken pox, and losing Marcus Richardson to a pulled muscle sustained on the final session of the Friday training, Gary opted for pace up front, with a three-pronged attack of Arron Davies, Phil Jevons and Kevin Gall, and doubtless a strict instruction to keep the ball on the deck. Kevin Amankwaah and Colin Miles made welcome returns to the bench, Michael Rose was restored to the starting line-up, whilst Andy Lindegaard was rested for the day.
What Yeovil have been screaming out for in the past few weeks has been a good start to a game. Whilst each of the past five matches has generally started well, far too many of them have failed to produce the end product of a goal and the nerves have gradually cut into the team’s performances. Therefore the start that the Glovers got was precisely what the doctor ordered to cure Yeovil’s ills. Within five minutes of the game starting, a Mansfield attack was broken up and the loose ball received by Kevin Gall on the edge of his own penalty area. Sprinting out of defence, Mansfield’s back line were caught completely on the hop, and when Gally slipped the ball through to the only player on the pitch who was keeping up with him – Arron DAVIES – Mansfield’s defence were cut to ribbons. Giles Coke and Gareth Jellyman gave chase in vain, but neither got near to putting in a tackle as Davies ran 60 yards up field and then still had the style to chip the ball over the diving body of Kevin Pilkington and into the back of the net. 1-0 and the day had started exactly as Gary Johnson must have been praying it would.
Fraser McLachlan landed in Trevor Kettle’s notebook after committing three fouls in the first nine minutes as Mansfield tried to get a grip on the pace of the game. From a corner Adam Rundle did get Mansfield’s first attempt after 13 minutes, but Adam Rundle’s attempt went several yards wide of the target.
A minute later though, Mansfield were back in with a chance of an equaliser when Efe Sodje brought down Fraser McLachlan inside the box. My first instinct was that Sodje had got a boot on the ball, although to be fair most down at the Westland Stand end felt it was clear-cut and there was little argument from the Yeovil players. Up stepped Richard Barker who stabbed a weak penalty towards the bottom right corner that gave Steve Collis a chance to adjust his dive into the path of the ball and block it out, with Terry Skiverton hammering the ball off the field in relief for a corner to a huge roar of approval around the ground.
At times, the Glovers had to still put up with the odd Kettlism with one of the more comical ones being when Fraser McLachlan landed on the deck after losing his grip on the turf yards from any other player. When Darren Way ran across and grabbed the loose ball, Kettle somehow saw that as an infringement but the Huish Park crowd have grown to know and love Our Trev and the end result was more laughter than anger towards the official.
Richard Barker managed a shot on goal for the visitors but fired straight at Collis who fumbled slightly but picked up at the second attempt as Mansfield began to claw their way back into the game slightly. And it was Barker who unwittingly set things up for Mansfield to score an equaliser just on the half hour mark. Meeting a crunching tackle by Terry Skiverton, the ball ricocheted straight off his shins and into the path of Adam RUNDLE. The young striker crashed in a shot on the edge of the area that took a thick deflection off Efe Sodje, looping straight over Steve Collis and into the back of the net. 1-1 and now the test was how the Glovers would react to such a set-back.
The reaction wasn’t too bad. Phil Jevons fizzed a ball across the face of goal that missed Kevin Gall, but Michael Rose’s shot flew well over the bar. Next Rose turned supplier, putting in a curling cross that Kevin Gall knocked back for Phil Jevons and although he got half the boot on a ball that got in behind Mansfield keeper Kevin Pilkington, a defender was able to block the ball and hack the ball away.
Rundle provided more wayward shooting for the visitors, by blasting one into the Westland Stand, not that Yeovil were faring much better in the accuracy stakes. But at least they were looking brighter and more dangerous than in recent weeks and had rediscovered the seemingly long lost art of the “cross into the box”! Kevin Gall got in behind his full-back on the right hand side and stuck in an excellent ball that Lee Johnson laid back, but Michael Rose repeated his earlier act of endangering the cars parked at the Copse Road end. At least these were chances though, and at least there was a high degree of off-the-ball running, even if the end product wasn’t quite doing the business as the half time whistle blew.
Half-time: Yeovil Town 1 Mansfield Town 1
Say what you like about Trevor Kettle (and plenty do) here stands a referee that will never shirk from pointing to a penalty spot or dishing out a red card. Unfortunately, our experience at Huish Park is that Our Trev is a touch too eager to do so, and it took him just four minutes to award his second of the afternoon although this one was definitely more dubious than the first. Adam Rundle got clear on goal and whilst Steve Collis superbly parried the ball, as a mass of players scrambled for the rebound, up blew Kettle’s whistle with Adam Lockwood apparently the guilty party for holding down Fraser McLachlan – not the apparent handball claim that has been featured in several other media reports. Rhys DAY stepped up to the spot, Collis guessed the right way, even got a palm to the ball, but couldn’t prevent it hitting the back of the net. 1-2 now and Yeovil’s character would now be surely tested up to the limit.
Kettle should have been blowing for his third penalty of the afternoon 60 seconds later when Mansfield’s Gareth Jelleyman took the ball off the head of Terry Skiverton with the use of his hand, but somewhat interestingly the referee chose to acknowledge that the ball had come off Jelleyman for a corner but off some other part of his body. Answers on a postcard to Mr T.Kettle. Thankfully it mattered little. Lee Johnson’s corner caused Mansfield all kinds of problems and as they tried to hack it away from their goal, Darren WAY stabbed the ball home from close range with Alex Baptiste’s efforts to try and clear the ball off his own line very much in vain. 2-2 and game on!
Huish Park turned up the volume a notch and the players turned up the tempo by more than a notch. Phil Jevons had the ball in the back of the net after Efe Sodje put an over-the-top through-ball, but he was denied by a linesman’s flag. Lee Johnson became Yeovil’s only booking of the afternoon when he lazily tripped Mansfield’s Giles Coke on the hour, and Fraser McLachlan sent a header from a corner straight into the grateful arms of Steve Collis when anywhere else would have done, but this was largely one way traffic towards the Westland Terrace now.
Kevin Gall, who was by now running Mansfield’s back four into the ground, put in a sixty yard run down the right wing, feeding Phil Jevons, but the ball ran just in behind his strike partner and Pilkington was able to gather before Jevons could have a second attempt at scoring.
But with 20 minutes left, the game was turned twice within 60 seconds as Mansfield fell apart. Alex Baptiste brought down Kevin Gall on another run, and as Johnson, Jevons and Rose huddled together, and Darren Way engaged in a wonderful pantomine performance in winding up Kevin Pilkington by giving him “advice” on where the ball was likely to go, up stepped Michael ROSE who fired home from 25 yards to put Yeovil 3-2 up. Nearly everybody loves an underdog, and following several weeks of being labelled as Yeovil’s chief scapegoat for recent results – even seemingly in games where he hasn’t played – Rose’s reaction was to head for the Yeovil bench, where seemingly 30 people were engaging in a game of “bundle” – substitutes, management, physio and even Maurice O’Donnell seemed to be piling on in the thick of it all. Much has been said in the past week or two about Yeovil’s team spirit, but if ever there was a moment to answer how the players will back each other up when they need to, then that was it.
One minute later Huish Park was in delirium as the magical football of last December found it’s way back with a bang as Yeovil went for Mansfield’s throat. Kevin Gall danced his way down the right wing With Gareth Jelleyman probably wishing he could have gone home at this point, and Gally put in an excellent penalty spot cross that Phil JEVONS hooked home first time leaving Pilkington sat on his behind with his head in his hands.
Gally continued to torment Jelleyman, and nearly scored himself after he went all the way down the right flank, cut inside and shot narrowly over the bar. Arron Davies did the same three minutes later as he twisted, turned, twisted again, turned again, refused to let Mansfield’s central defensive duo within a yard of the ball and eventually forced Pilkington to tip the ball over the bar.
From the resultant corner, Lee Johnson curled the ball in, Terry Skiverton’s header found the far corner, and it was only a header off the line from Adam Rundle that stopped it being 5-2. But straight from the resultant corner from the same side, Johnson proved to be as deadly accurate as before as he this time aimed it at the near post, Adam Lockwood acted as the decoy at the front, whilst Darren WAY nipped in behind him to allow the smallest player on the pitch to score a headed goal from four yards to increase Yeovil’s advantage and doubtless leave Carlton Palmer asking questions concerning defensive gifts left on plates.
Still the Glovers ran riot, with Lee Johnson beautifully teeing up Efe Sodje on the overlap, whose low shot-cum-cross whizzed across the face of goal evading goal, goalkeeper and Phil Jevons. But with less than ten minutes left, Gary Johnson allowed three substitutions to take place, with Kevin Gall (in particular), Phil Jevons and Adam Lockwood individually receiving standing ovations around the ground. That just left a final cameo from Mansfield’s Alex Baptiste, who clearly didn’t like losing too much and managed to put in 10 minutes worth of some of the most petulant whining you could ever expect to see before referee Trevor Kettle had the last laugh and reminded him who was boss with a yellow card.
But this match was all about the return of the Glovers, the return of their swagger and style and the return of their flamboyant football. It may have taken 50 minutes to finally coax it out of it’s shell after threatening to during a reasonable but not spectacular first half. But once it did, Yeovil ripped through Mansfield like a demolition ball, and it is this as well as the end result that the Glovers can now take into their final four games, knowing that whatever had been causing the whole team to mis-fire in the past few weeks had been seen off in a flourish. Kidderminster next week will possibly be harder than this week’s opposition, but the difference is in BELIEVING you can do something and for Yeovil, the belief is now back in the side where it belongs.
Half-time: Yeovil Town 5 Mansfield Town 2
MOTM Vote Result:
Overall match rating: 8.6 / 10
80 votes received.