Venue: Huish Park
Sat 11th Dec 2004, pm kick-off.

Conditions: Sunny, crisp, getting colder
Pitch: Good

Scorers: Lee Johnson (43, 1-0), Bartosz Tarachulski (47, 2-0), Ashley Sestanovich (86, 2-1)

Attendance: 5,733 (including approx 250 Grimsby fans)

Referee: Lee Probert (South Gloucestershire)
Assistants: Bob Desmond (Wiltshire); Ron Ganfield (Somerset)

Yeovil: Phil Jevons (31, foul)
Grimsby: Terry Fleming (33, foul), Thomas Pinault (45, foul)

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale 17. Scott Guyett 4. Terry Skiverton 5. Colin Miles 3. Michael Rose
9. Kevin Gall 6. Darren Way 8. Lee Johnson 27. Andrejs Stolcers
11. Phil Jevons 18. Bartosz Tarachulski (78)

Subs: 2. Adam Lockwood (62, for Guyett) 10. Adrian Caceres 13. Steven Collis (GK) 15. Steven Reed (90, for Stolcers) 24. Yemi Odubade (78, for Tarachulski)

Grimsby Town :
1. Anthony Williams 2. John McDermott 6. Justin Whittle 28. Terrell Forbes 16. Ronnie Bull 8. Jason Crowe 15. Terry Fleming 17. Thomas Pinault 24. Dean Gordon 29. Colin Cramb 10. Andy Parkinson

Subs: 18. Robert Jones 11. Stacy Coldicott 7. Ashley Sestanovich (58, for Bull) 9. Michael Reddy (73, for Parkinson) 19. Darren Mansaram (80, for Cramb)

Badger’s View of the Game

Having lost Paul Terry due to a training ground injury, the last thing manager Gary Johnson wanted was to lose Andy Lindegaard to a quad muscle strain whilst Adam Lockwood was still short of match practice. So Scott Guyett was chosen for the right-back slot with the Glovers reverting to a 4-4-2 formation following last week’s pair of 3-5-2 formations. But even that decision was touch and go when Guyett was ill on the morning of the match, but the Australian decided he was fit enough to start the match.

Grimsby got the earliest of a small select handful of first half chances although it was Yeovil who seemed to create it for them. A somewhat short ball to Michael Rose left him struggling to collect a pass and it was intercepted with only a combination of Chris Weale’s body and Lee Johnson covering managing to stop the ball from being passed into any great danger.

Grimsby’s main outlet in attempting to break the deadlock though was a trio of free kicks conceded within striking range of their set play specialist Dean Gordon. The first was awarded for a foul by Colin Miles on Colin Cramb, but Gordon’s flighted kick reached around the wall but also several yards wide of the target. The second saw Cramb again fouled – this time by Michael Rose – and Gordon’s goal attempt this time was a little closer, just clipping the back of the goalframe with Weale probably having the actual goal covered. The third saw Terry Skiverton foul Cramb and Gordon’s attempt again did not trouble Weale.

Free kicks were in fact happening all over the place thanks to a stop-start approach by Lee Probert that saw the game degenerate into a middle-third battle. Even when play managed to break clear of this portion of the field, the pair of linesmen seemed to be employing an invisible forcefield, stopping either side actually getting in behind each others back lines with a series of decisions, some of which were highly dubious. This stifled Yeovil’s game, making for an extremely crowded game where only Kevin Gall seemed to have the ability to find a route through – several times making former team-mate Ronnie Bull look a pale shadow of his former self as Gall persistently beat him with ease, only for the final ball to evade those in green arriving in the penalty box.

Gordon’s inability to get his free kicks on target were to be punished though just two minutes before the break. Grimsby’s Justin Whittle fouled Bartosz Tarachulski and Yeovil finally had their own set play given by Mr Probert within shooting distance. In a half that had generally been a mess, up stepped Lee JOHNSON to provide the one single event worth writing home about by rocketing a 25-yard bullet into the top right hand corner that keeper Anthony Williams would have had trouble in keeping out even if Johnson had told him where he was going to stick it. 1-0 to Yeovil … and with the Glovers first meaningful shot of the game.

The half closed with a pretty awful studs up tackle by Thomas Pinault on Michael Rose that could have caused another referee to consider the use of a red card, but with the game generally being of a good-tempered nature, despite Mr Probert’s persistent pettiness, a yellow card was the only punishment handed out.

Half-time:  Yeovil Town 1 Grimsby Town 0

Last season, Yeovil’s problems tended to be that they would create 25 chances per game and score just one of them. This season is seeing fewer chances created but more goals scored, which is where it all counts in the end. Just over one minute into the second period, a stunning series of one-touch passes by the Glovers thread their way straight through the Grimsby defence. The ball broke clear to Andrejs Stolcers on the left wing, who placed an inch perfect delivery of the sort that Kevin Gall has been delivering of late, and on the back stick was Bartosz TARACHULSKI who somehow headed the ball home from a narrow angle. Two chances, two goals, and Yeovil very much in the driving seat.

Kevin Gall was continuing to give Ronnie Bull a torrid time from the opposite flank and Grimsby withdrew the former Millwall defender in favour of Ashley Sestanovich, whilst Yeovil replaced a tiring Scott Guyett with Adam Lockwood. With space now finally available behind a Grimsby side having to push up the field, Yeovil enjoyed their best spell of the game and looked the more likely side to add to the goal tally, despite Grimsby’s first half territorial advantage.

Lee Johnson fired from distance again but went narrowly over the bar, whilst Phil Jevons had a penalty appeal against his former club denied when a short ball into the box from Lockwood appeared to result in keeper Williams taking out Jevons in his attempt to get to the ball first. But Mr Probert, who had given every tiny nudge in the centre circle all day, wasn’t quite so willing to award a spot-kick for the goalkeeper’s challenge. Probert also denied Yeovil a free kick, when Kevin Gall had to vault clear of a dreadful lunge close to the dug-outs by a Grimsby midfielder. Despite no contact being made, it was just as well for Gall that he was quick enough to avoid the full-studded challenge.

Grimsby gradually managed to wrestle back the ball and enjoy lengthy periods of possession with Yeovil seemingly content to sit back and smother their attempts on the 18-yard line. But with just four minutes remaining the visitors got back into it when Ashley SESTANOVICH decided that if Grimsby couldn’t pass their way to goal, then a different approach was needed. With surprising grace for someone built like a Sherman Tank, the substitute weaved his way past four Yeovil players and on reaching the edge of the area fired the ball into the bottom corner to put Grimsby back in it.

Earlier this season, referee Paul Armstrong delayed the start of the home match against Boston United because Boston goalkeeper Nathan Abbey was wearing the same top as Chris Weale. It was therefore surprising that the king of petty decisions Mr Propert allowed visiting keeper Williams to take to the field in the same top as Weale. That could have caused mass confusion in a final frantic couple of minutes that saw all 22 players crowded inside one penalty area including both keepers. Thankfully nothing came of the remaining time, despite some miscommunication between Probert and his fourth official who seemed to have a difference of opinion of how much time added on needed to be played. In the end, 2-1 was a fairer scoreline on a Grimsby side who competed well across two-thirds of the pitch, though it was very easy to see why one of their websites reported that the tally of Yeovil’s Jevons and Tarachulski almost matched the goal tally of the entire Grimsby team. On such matters, games are ultimately won and lost …


Full time: Yeovil Town 2 Grimsby Town 1