Five Conclusions

Yeovil huddle before Altrincham

…and breathe.

The 2021/22 season has come to an end. 44 league games, an FA Cup run, and a Somerset Premier Cup victory has made the campaign far from dull despite the 12th place finish. The final game saw an injury ravaged squad squeeze out a 1-0 win over fellow mid-tablers Altrincham. Debuts for Ollie Haste and Max Evans rightly took the post match headlines, but I wanted to highlight two other performances.

Sonny Blu Lo-Everton. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

I gave Sonny Blu Lo Everton my man of the match on the radio. He was fantastic in the first half, and gave us a glimpse into what we would have loved to have seen more of through the whole season. He glided effortlessly with the ball, had shots, a relaxed game brought out the best in him, how desperately we could have done with that on a more regular basis. His career lies higher than the National League and he’ll go onto good things, I’m sure.

Morgan Williams. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Much was made out of Morgan Williams’ controversial Glovies wins (by Ian mostly), but as one of those certain to be there on Day 1 of pre season next year, I for one am chuffed. He played centre half, he’s played left back, right wing back and for his first proper season adapted to all of them with ease. If he wants to show of the leadership and seniority he showed alongside Jack Robinson and in front of Max Evans that is absolutely fine by me. We’ve got a good one in Morgan Williams, that’s for sure.

184 Yeovil fans made the trip to Altrincham, maybe take a few off for some easy geography, but that is an incredible level of support. I wouldn’t have blamed any supporter for saying no thanks, for starting their summers early and listening on the radio, but so many felt like they needed to be there. To say goodbye? To say thanks? Because that’s just what weekends are for? I’m not sure, but whoever is on that press release as our new manager has a truly brilliant fan base to get on board with. I hope they harness the spirit of the 184, I hope they see the passion and support of the 1900+ at the Legends game and use that to their advantage, give us something to cheer and we are there ready to be on your side.

I have to mention Josh Staunton don’t I? Last summer he told us that last season he thought he might not kick a ball ever again. He did, he became an integral part of the side, then Charlie Lee’s right hand man, then… almost inexplicably, Manager. Find me a Yeovil fan who doesn’t think we should extend his contract? Find me a Yeovil fan who thinks he isn’t the person to build a side around next year? I’ve written in depth before about how I feel he’s the most important player we’ve had since Skivo, well, he became our first player-manager since the Glovers legend took over from Russell Slade. He deserves the upmost respect and a damn good contract.

So, I don’t like to address rumours, but there were murmurs of some players not being in the best frame of mind before the game and there were a number of absentees. I’ll say only one thing… if there’s any player that doesn’t want to be here, they’re absolutely fine to leave. It takes a special type of player to play for Yeovil Town, you have to show the commitment that 184 fans showed today, if you’re not willing to do that, despite all that’s gone on, you know where the door is. For what it’s worth, in every little snippet of conversation I’ve had with people, every game I’ve watched, every interview I’ve transcribed this season I’ve never doubted any squad member’s commitment, I just hope it’s still there at the same level next season.

It won’t exactly be a quiet week for Glovers fans, or a quiet summer for that matter, but I hope YTFC supporters can enjoy their summers. It’ll be time to play ‘Guess the Trialist‘ soon.

Yeovil wrapped up their home campaign with a 2-2 draw against Boreham Wood at Huish Park yesterday. Here are Ian’s Five Conclusions…

We stuck with the plan and deserved the point, if not more. At half time, I expected to see Charlie Lee make changes, given how early he made them against Wealdstone. At 2-0 down, it felt to me like we struggled to find our rhythm in the 5-3-2. But, no changes were forthcoming from Charlie Lee and his team battled back when it all looked pretty bleak at half time. Fair play to Charlie, he stuck with the system that they’d been working on through the week and his team performed for him.

Luke Wilkinson fires home the equaliser. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

It was a relief to finally get something from set pieces. Our poor return from set pieces is no secret this season, but we finally managed to convert not one, but two. It feels like we’ve been waiting for a long throw to pay off since Charlie Lee was hauling them into the box in 2019. Finally, Morgan Williams (or was it Mendy?) put one in the net. And not long after that, Luke Wilkinson got his first of the season with an excellent freekick, aided by Ashmore taking a huge step to his right and leaving the left side of his goal open.

Dale Gorman had a game to forget. I think Gorman has had a decent first season at Huish Park. When he plays well, we play well. He keeps the ball ticking over and he has an eye for pass – just look at his assist for Josh Neufville against Southend. Yesterday, though, was one of his bad days. Having missed a penalty, which would have brought us level, he then got caught in possession and tried to claim a freekick as Dennon Lewis raced away to double Wood’s lead. Gorman’s frustration boiled over 10 minutes later he was booked for dissent. He improved in the second half, but he has had his moments this season.

 

I’d love Charlie Lee to still be with us next season. Considering he was brought in as Darren Sarll’s assistant until the end of the season at Skivo’s departure, Charlie Lee has had to make a hell of a step up in his short time back at the club. I think he’s been a breathe of fresh air as manager. We’ve played more adventurously since he’s taken the reins and I think the team look more relaxed – albeit with considerably less pressure. While I’m not sure he’s the right man to get us out of the National League, he’s a ready-made assistant whose relationship with the current crop (should a few remain) will be crucial to any incoming manager.

Huish Park hasn’t been a happy place this season, but yesterday had a different feel to it. The return of the Get Pedalling ride was a moment I won’t forget in a hurry. This group, who’ve shared their story of the week on our podcast feed, have been an inspiration with their efforts. To see them arrive at Huish Park led by Lee Collins’ partner Rachel, including club legend Terry Skiverton and cheered on by supporters, players and staff set a positive tone for the afternoon. Add to that, the more than 300 kids which the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust brought to Huish Park yesterday and there was a nice feel about the place. Let’s have more of those moments next season, with the community at the heart of their football club.

 

What a strange game we saw at the The Shay, home of FC Halifax Town, yesterday.

As is custom Yeovil gave a top seven team a hard time, but this time, came away with nothing to show for it after an 83rd minute winner from substitute Zach Dearney.

Ben was in the commentary box for the BBC Somerset and here’s a few of his post-match thoughts.


Firstly, the only way the play against Halifax was with a few of the dark arts.

Now, that’s not a complaint, if we had tried to match up to Halifax with the same level of attacking flow and speed, they’d have picked us apart. There’s no shame in that, they’re a better side than us (hardly breaking news). It worked for us against Stockport, Wrexham and others and it was the right way to go about this.

Frustrating them was our best chance and it came, so, so close to working again.

The home fans were silent throughout until they scored late on, a polite ripple of applause all they could really muster, an atmosphere not befitting a side so close to making the EFL

Mainly though, the result came down to making the most of the minimal clear cut chances that the game provided.

For all their attacking prowess, Halifax didn’t really make Grant Smith pull off anything more than a routine save.

He caught a long ranger from left back Jack Senior, parried away a stinger or two from elsewhere…but they got one sniff inside the six yard box and took it.

Yeovil can only really say they worried home keeper Sam Johnson once or twice a Josh Neufville pinger off the bar and a couple half chances from set pieces.

Josh Neufville wheels away after scoring

Speaking of Josh Neufville, let me get this down on paper (well, in pixels on a screen)… when he’s playing Premier League football in a few years time we will all say “we saw it first”, “he learnt it all with us”... he’s that good.

He seems to find space where others can’t, he seems to make over hit nothing balls into something and with a burst of pace, half a yard and a drop of the shoulder he can cause all kinds of trouble.

He’s going the same way as Andros Townsend and I’m just grateful we were part of that journey.

Halifax will probably get promoted.

I think it’s time to crack out the crystal ball, Stockport are doing their darnedest to throw the title away and Wrexham are ready to pounce.

But if the Shaymen finish second or third, none of the other sides will fancy a play-off semi-final in West Yorkshire. They’re too good at home.

Then, they’ve got the big name players going forward to make enough chances in the final too.

All the more of a compliment to how we’ve troubled them (and plenty of others in the mix) over the course of 180 minutes.

Charlie Lee and the Angry Blackcurrant

Finally, a personal one. But National League sides need to better equip their press facilities.

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of the John Lukins Press Box at Huish Park will appreciate what having a bit of space, room to sit/stand and having the freedom to get into a good flow.

There were five bodies from the YTFC side at Halfiax, Sam, two from Three Valleys Radio and Sheridan and I from the BBC.

With fans sat behind us, infront and to the side of us you’re crammed into about 2 meters of space. My knees are in bits.

You get more leg room in RyanAir economy.

It was the same at Solihull too, fairly new stands and the press area feels like an afterthought.

I’m not going to moan about the stuff on the pitch cos we fought as I knew we would… so I found a moan off the pitch instead!

 

 

Not many would have thought that Yeovil Town would complete the double over National League big-spenders Stockport County. But that’s exactly what Charlie Lee’s Glovers managed yesterday. Here are Ian’s Five Conclusions from an excellent game at Huish Park.

It was another match which showed how crazy our season has been. I said before the match that it wouldn’t have surprised me if we nicked the game given some of our results against the better sides this season. And boy did we. It felt like Stockport were banging the door down for the entire first half, but we held firm and after a slick bit of skill from Tom Knowles (#DFILWF) he finished brilliantly just before half time. His goal was the springboard which seemed to galvanise the Glovers and Charlie Lee’s side grew in confidence as the match progressed.

It was amazing to finally see a Josh Neufville goal at Huish Park. A quick break and our lockdown hero was in behind the Stockport defence. He showed

Josh Neufville wheels away after scoring Yeovil’s second.

the calmness of a seasoned striker and coolly sent Hinchcliffe the wrong way to send those that were at Huish Park wild. He’s had to play a different game than he did last season. Yesterday he was starved of the ball at points and really had to make the most of his own possession and when it mattered he made it count.

We didn’t let Stockport’s changes count. Dave Challinor made a double substitution at half time and before Crankshaw and Hippolyte has a chance to settle into the game and make a difference, we were 2-0 up. Another change followed swiftly and although Hippolyte scored against his old club, the red card of Will Collar two minutes later meant they had another on-pitch change to make. It felt like Stockport never managed to get going as cohesively in the second half as they did in the first, and we managed to deal with most of their threat comfortably.

Stockport’s own supporters took their side’s momentum. After Hippolyte’s goal a blue smoke bomb was thrown into Grant Smith’s six yard box. County players had swiftly grabbed the ball to force a quick restart, but their momentum was totally lost as a stewards had to wait for the smoke bomb to extinguish before they could safely remove it. Collar’s deserved red card for a dangerously high foot on Dale Gorman shortly after the delay just exacerbated things for County’s evidently frustrated players. Dave Challinor thought the same:

Central defender Max Hunt. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Max Hunt stepped back in supremely. You wouldn’t have known it was Hunt’s first game back after months out injured. The centre back was dominant against the National League’s lethal pairing of Paddy Madden and Scott Quigley. The deadly duo had moments of freedom in the first half, but Hunt was a man mountain, winning everything in the air and throwing himself in front of efforts at goal. His confidence shone through and was clear to see when he executed a textbook Cryuff turn on the halfway line before getting Yeovil on the attack. It was the kind of performance from Hunt which hammered home the urgent need to secure the futures of some of these players.

 

 

Charlie Lee’s debut in front of the Huish Park crowd ended in defeat as Yeovil Town failed to take their opportunities and gifted an Aldershot Town side battling against the drop two goals on a sunny Good Friday afternoon.

Coatesie travelled down from his northern home for the match between his hometown team and his adopted hometown team (no, he wasn’t the away fan who needed medical treatment), and here are his conclusions….

Even the glorious sunshine could not hide the cracks at Huish Park. I’m not just talking about on the pitch – although there were some of those, which I’ll come too – but this was my first home game in well over two years and it’s sad to see the state of the place. Even if you can look past the unloved, run down infrastructure, I heard at least half-a-dozen people complain at the lack of a printed programme (not a problem for me, but it clearly it is for some supporters), the tea bars were shut for away fans meaning big queues in the Screwfix Family Stand. Yet again, it’s the same relentlessly cheery volunteers and underappreciated staff who are fronting up, whilst the only sign of our absent owner, Scott Priestnall, were the chants calling for him to go. If I were him, I wouldn’t want to face up to what my lack of interest and investment was doing to more than 125 years of history either……but I’m not the one who bought a football club less than three years ago.

On the pitch, it wasn’t a great day either. We seemed to forget how to score goals again. The freedom we

Josh Neufville. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

been playing with in recent weeks deserted us and we were unable to find our way through an Aldershot team who had absolutely no reason to do anything more than keep it tight and hit us on the break. Josh Neufville was paired alongside Reuben Reid in a front two and ran tirelessly but too often in the first half there were aimless balls played up to him. At the start of the second half we got it down better and laid siege to the visitors’ goal but just could not find a way through, and when we gifted Giles Phillips the freedom of the area to head home the opener, it felt like game over. I think we could have stayed out there all Easter and not scored.

Our full-backs didn’t not look comfortable. When I saw Mark Little and Jordan Barnett on either side of defence, I was pleased that we had a recognised right and left back on the pitch. However, from the start, Mark Little did not seem to be running comfortably and had problems containing Aldershot down his side. Barnett looked rusty in his first start in almost a month and, although he can still put in a fantastic sliding tackle when he needs too, does seem more effective further up the pitch. I’d put Morgan Williams back in for W*ymouth on Easter Monday.

Dale Gorman. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Please can we get Dale Gorman off free-kicks with a shot on goal? I know he scored that one at Dover, but surely we have other players who have the potential to get a more meaningful effort on goal. There was one in the first half of this match about 25 yards out which I thought was crying out for a Luke Wilkinson pile driver to test the keeper, but no. Or, to quote my Thatcher’s Stand companion, Chris Fox: “Oh, f*** off, Gorman!” It was funny to start with (tequila and all that) but I’m now starting to see what the Glentoran supporters were telling us when we signed him – he shoots from literally everywhere.

Tom Knowles was a bright spot – again. I feel like I have done nothing but complain in my previous four conclusions….so let me end of at least one positive. There were some bright spots and, as is often the case, Tom Knowles was one of them with his relentless desire to attack. When we got the ball to him, Aldershot didn’t know what to do and when we repeated that with other players (especially early in the second half) the same occurred. You know what you need to do on Monday, boys.

A late equaliser from substitute Charlie Wakefield spared Yeovil Town’s blushes by salvaging a point from the trip to a King’s Lynn Town side fighting for survival in the National League.

Coatesie made the trip to north-west Norfolk for what was the Glovers’ first visit to The Walks in more than 20 years. Here’s what he made of it all….

Having spent the first decade and more of my Yeovil Town supporting life in non-League football I have not had these thoughts too often in the past three seasons, but this was the most non-League of non-League days. For large parts it was a scrappy performance with very little in terms of quality from either side and a referee who seemed desperate to put his hand in his pocket for a card, yet missed some clear and obvious fouls perpetrated by both sides. Luke Wilkinson getting a hand round the throat as he jumped for a corner with the official in close proximity with quite baffling. Add to that the over-zealous stewarding from King’s Lynn – a supporter frog-marched out of the ground for sitting on a barrier, for goodness sake – and a serious risk of starvation whilst waiting for food in the away end – it could almost have been Huish Park!

To start with it looked like it could be a comfortable afternoon after Dale Gorman’s penalty put us ahead after just four minutes, but we failed to press our advantage and we gave King’s Lynn too much encouragement

Grant Smith. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

and they took it. Mark Little has looked unflappable when I have seen him this season, but he was ‘got at’ on more than one occasion and undone by a great pass from Brett McGavin for the first and then by the tricky Josh Barrett for the second goal.

On loan goalkeeper Ted Cann had a bit of a stinker with both goals as which makes me think let’s get Grant Smith back in between the posts. Charlie Lee has said the first-choice keeper is fully fit again although he was not named among the substitutes for this one. I have no doubt Cann will be a highly competent goalkeeper, probably at a higher level than this, but you had to cringe when he spilled Barrett’s shot right at the feet of Gold Omotayo who could not believe his luck to poke home against his old employers.

Thank goodness then for a moment of magic from Charlie Wakefield. The substitute’s 91st minute equaliser was a moment of pure quality which is everything we have seen time and again he is capable of. When he collected the ball on the left (isn’t he supposed to play down the right?) and cut inside, there was only one thing on the star man’s mind and he executed it in some style.

These relegation threatened sides are not going to roll over and let’s not forget we have two more of them to come in our next two matches. Our next opponents, Aldershot Town, gave their hopes of survival a boost with a win over a Boreham Wood side whose league season appears to have been ruined by their FA Cup exploits, whilst our seagull bothering friends down the road earned a point with a goalless draw against Grimsby Town. King’s Lynn were not pretty, but they dragged us down to their level through sheer hard work. We have to make our quality count if we are not going to come unstuck in these next two games.

After the past seven days at Huish Park, there was talk from the Barnet side of convincing victories coming their way but did we expect anything other than this Yeovil Town side to turn up at The Hive?

Goals from Tom Knowles and Reuben Reid earned a 2-2 draw in North London at the weekend, and here are Coatesie‘s conclusions on what he saw from the away end….

After the week they have had with the exit of Darren Sarll and remembering former captain Lee Collins a year after his death, Yeovil Town’s players could have found an excuse for sub-par performance. But, this group of players never fail to give it everything they’ve got and they did that once again.
If this was a ‘dead rubber’ match between two mid-table sides with little threat of troubling the top or bottom of the division, get me along to more of them because it was thoroughly entertaining and that was down to the desire of both sets of players.
Glovers’ caretaker manager Charlie Lee has promised that he will make sure his players give absolutely everything in every match he is in charge of and after his first 90 minutes there can be no questioning the commitment of this squad.

However, this was not the vintage performance we have seen in our last couple of outings against Southend or Bromley.
Reuben Reid summarised it perfectly when he spoke after the match and said that the start and the finish from his team-mates was on the money, but the bit in the middle needs some working on.
Both goals conceded will have been a disappointment to both Charlie Lee and his players as on both occasions Barnet seemed to waltz through out midfield without too much challenge.
For the first goal, Morgan Williams was at fault against a very good player in Ephron Mason-Clark, and for the second there were multiple guilty parties for not stopping the hosts’ attack.

Reuben Reid. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Remember when scoring more than one goal was a problem? Nope, me neither. These last few games have seen us reborn in an attacking sense and seeing Tom Knowles’ desire to win the ball after just nine minutes, then tear forward and smash home the opener was fantastic.
Where does he get his energy from? All through the match he was a constant thorn in Barnet’s side.
And, yes, I have said I will judge Reuben Reid on goals this season (well, I did last season as well) and with two in his last two games, there’s nothing more I can say than – keep it up!

Perhaps one of the reasons for the reigniting of our attacking play is the arrival of Josh Neufville and Olufela Olomola and surely it’s time we saw Neufville and Fela given a start.
Charlie Wakefield looks to be trying so hard and it’s just not happening for him at the moment, so why not take him out of the firing line and give one of the loanees a start against King’s Lynn next weekend?

Josh Neufville. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Lee spoke after the game about how Luton has told us to be careful with Josh and I am sure Hartlepool would not thank us for breaking Fela, but both feel like they need more opportunities to show what they are made of.

Finally, on Monday’s podcast I said the one thing supporters can do to help in these worryingly uncertain times was to turn up in numbers and make a racket and boy did we.
Every single one of the 288 fans in that away end did everything they could to show Charlie Lee and his players exactly what their efforts and this football club means to us.
I suspect we don’t need to tell show them, but at a time when these players who have put in so much effort appear to be being shown so much disrespect by others at the club – see here if you don’t know what I mean – it was great that we did.
And for those who either are or seek to be the custodians of this club, I hope you witnessed exactly what it means. History will judge you for your actions. Do not fail these people.

It’s three in a row for Yeovil Town and the Darren Sarll’s men put on a good show at home for the second time this week.

Here are Ian’s conclusions from a sun-drenched Huish Park.

This team appears to be out of its sticky spell. They proved that the performance against

Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Bromley wasn’t a one off. This was another confident and energetic from a team that have clearly turned a corner. The passes were slick, the one touch football was joyful, the defending was resolute. In the space of a couple of weeks we’ve gone from hopeless to maybe a tiny bit hopeful. Oh come on, you’re all thinking it. 

The early goals killed Southend off. We fell victim to it against Dagenham, and against Southend it was our turn. Goals from Reuben Reid after four minutes (fitting on the day we celebrated the life of Lee Collins) and then Tom Knowles four minutes later put the game to bed. It felt like we challenged Southend to break us down and they just couldn’t do it.

Ben Barclay. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Ben Barclay was imperious. From his crunching tackle on Matty Dennis to his chance to grab our third, it was a complete performance from the Stockport loanee. He’s developed a good relationship with all his defensive partners (and the ever-reliable Morgan Williams) and he had another stellar performance. Good with ball, timing on his tackle and was unlucky not to score. We’re lucky to have him for the rest of the season.

Lawson D’Ath. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Lawson D’Ath was the missing piece of the puzzle. We knew Lawson was good. We knew he was a cut above any other midfielder in the league, let alone the club. But I’ll admit that I’m surprised at how much he has improved us. The way he has helped our midfield bridge the gap between our defence and attack is abundantly clear. We look happier on the ball and our attacking players are freer knowing D’Ath will find them.

It was nice to feel some positivity around Huish Park. Yes, things haven’t been brilliant on the pitch up until last Saturday. Yes, things off the pitch are still uncertain. But on a glorious sunny afternoon, with a Disney-infused playlist chosen by the daughters of Lee Collins, there was positivity in the air. And a very timely reminder that there is more to life than football.

Goalkeeping coaching Craig Wight chats to Charley-Mae Collins, one of Lee’s three daughter of Lee, who w

After 810 National League minutes, Yeovil Town picked up three points again! Goals from on loan defender Ben Barclay and a free-kick from Dale Gorman secured a 2-0 win at Dover Athletic which in turn relegated our hosts. Supporter Ed Turnbull give us his conclusions from his spot in the away end in Kent…..

First things first: we won (first time in league since Woking away on January 29) and we scored more than one goal (first time in league since Wrexham away on November 30)! And,mid we scored from a set piece (first time in league since Dagenham on November 20, I think)! It was great to see Barclay tuck away a calm finish after coming close to scoring a couple times since he joined, and to see a Gorman free-kick that found the back of the net rather than the middle-man of the wall or the keeper’s midriff [or the car park – Ed!].

Charlie Wakefield

It’s a good job we did profit from set pieces because again our attackers failed to score. As usual Tom Knowles and Charlie Wakefield showed plenty of promise driving towards the box from the wings, but it didn’t lead to many clear-cut chances. I don’t think  Adi Yussuf had his worst game, but that really isn’t saying much, and, as always, he gave away countless silly fouls. Olufela Olomola had a good chance at the death – the sort of chance you could argue he needs to take if we’re to pick up a good number of points between now and the end of the season.

Ted Cann who has joined on loan from West Brom. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

It was fantastic to see Josh Neufville back after his horrible injury, but for me Ted Cann was the most impressive debutant. His distribution was generally excellent, with long and accurate kicks off the ground. One particular moment stood out when he came out of his area and instantly controlled a high ball before pinging an inch-perfect pass out to Knowles far-forward on the right. He did have one heart-in-mouth moment when he was beaten to the ball by Michael Gyasi, leaving the Dover attacker to pass the ball into an empty net, but Cann’s blushes were saved by the offside flag. Ted didn’t have much to do in the way of shot-stopping, so he couldn’t be judged too much on that.

The atmosphere at Crabble was very subdued. Maybe it was the sunny weather that resembled mid-May more than mid-March, but the match had a very end-of-season feel to it. This wasn’t at all echoed in the effort the two teams put in, but it was as though both sets of fans had given up on the season, with Dover relegated by virtue of the fact they didn’t win on the day, and Yeovil stranded firmly in mid-table. Nothing but respect to the hardy fans that travelled to southeast Kent, but I don’t know the last time Yeovil fans have celebrated a win with less enthusiasm.

However, I hope that this win can be a catalyst for a positive end to the season. You can only beat what’s in

Oh for a win which brings that celebration again.

front of you, and we did that quite comfortably. I think this is a group of young players who perform better when they have a buoyant crowd behind them, so hopefully this win will install confidence in both the players and fans that we can achieve similar results against teams higher up the table so that our season doesn’t completely peter out. Let’s get another win against Bromley.

It was another disappointing night at Huish Park as Yeovil Town collapsed to a 3-0 defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge to leave them third from bottom of the home form table over the last six National League games.

Ian was on BBC Somerset co-commentary duty for the evening and here’s how he saw it…

We were masters of our own downfall. The positive of our season so far has our security at the back and the strength of our defence. We let an in-form Paul McCallum have freedom of the six yard box and didn’t close down the cross with any determination after just 6 minutes of the match. That’s not a character-trait of this side so it was unusual. To then concede a 2nd goal and in such ridiculously poor circumstances quarter of an hour later meant the game was over before half time. We know we have issues in the final third, and we haven’t scored two goals in a game since November. We shot ourselves in the foot and it felt like the players on the pitch knew the game was gone.

Striker Olufela Olomola.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

We struggled going forward again. We welcomed Olufela Olomola back to the starting line-up, but it was that familiar story of a lack of service. Conceding so early meant we were chasing the game but we never seemed to have cohesion going forward. Charlie Wakefield and Tom Knowles seemed out of sync (and totally exhausted), the midfield trio of Josh Staunton, Dale Gorman and Alex Bradley looked like the new combination that it is and never really clicked. We brought Lawson D’Ath on at 2-0 to bridge that gap between the midfield and the attack and attempt to claw back the deficit. Unfortunately, three minutes later we’re asleep on a quick throw and Dagenham put the game beyond doubt, although it was already.

Dagenham & Redbridge nailed it tactically. From kick off they applied pressure to our defenders whenever we had the ball. It took us quite a few goal kicks to cotton on to the fact that they weren’t going to let us play out from the back. Every time Josh Staunton picked up the ball from a defender there we two red-shirts on him looking to force the mistake, and they did repeatedly. At 2-0 they knew their work was done and when we did have the ball in their half, they let us keep it, perhaps knowing that we’d struggle to break their solid back line down. All in all, it was a comfortable night for Dagenham.

I’m not sure where we go from here. The last three results have cemented that we’re definitely mid-table and any run on the playoffs would need a miraculous set of circumstances. A couple of weeks ago Darren Sarll said his side’s seasons don’t peter out, last night was the epitome of a team petering out though. Unfortunately it’s entirely understandable. This squad is slap bang in the middle, most of them are out of contract at the end of the season and the vision from the boss at the top of the club is non-existent. 

I’m not sure if we ever totally freed ourselves from it, but apathy has set in again. The early goal sucked any life the supporters at Huish Park might have had, but there was a real flatness last night. Like the players, the crowd never got going and were given very little to get going about. We slept walk out of the Football League, and if we don’t drastically improve in front of the home fans on Saturday against Grimsby, there will be a perception that we’re sleepwalking to the end of the season and after that who knows what? A statement in ‘due course’ means nothing. Seven day deadlines mean nothing. If the plan to be so distant and become so unaccountable that supporters just give up, we could be close to that point. We’ll continue to clamour for clarity and at this point we need it either way.

The curse of the old boy struck again as former Yeovil defender Alex Lacey headed home an equaliser four minutes in to second half stoppage time to rescue a point for Notts County on Saturday.

Glovers’ boss Darren Sarll said his side were “magnificent”, Tom Knowles said we deserved the three points, but the history books will show we had to settle for one at Meadow Lane.

Here’s Coatesie’s conclusions from his spot in the away end…

Darren Sarll wasn’t gutted at what can only be described as two points dropped, but admitted his players were. I have to say I am siding with the players.

This was  another hard luck story for this Yeovil side.

Despite my disappointment, I found myself standing, applauding and cheering this team at the final whistle.

It is just impossible not to be impressed and heartened by the sheer tenacity of them, they just never stop working.

As the game ticked past the 90th minute, Charlie Wakefield appeared in the left back position to win a ball back and clear it. Yes, our winger-turned-striker Charlie Wakefield who has played so many minutes this season, he was tracking back and helping out his team-mates.

How can you do anything but admire that spirit? And be so, so frustrated that it was not rewarded with three points. I know, again. Ugh.

The disappointment stings more because this was another good performance against one of the National League’s top teams.

I’d have taken a point before kick-off, especially when I saw there was no Olufela Olomola in the squad. How we missed him.

This was a Notts County which “has not scrimped” on its budget, according to Magpies’ fan Paul Mace who we spoke to pre-match, with a team we were told would control the game with easy-on-the-eye football.

It didn’t happen and it didn’t happen because Yeovil Town did not let it happen. We hassled, we harried, we disrupted the rhythm of a team with quality and experience in abundance. If you saw the win at Stockport County earlier this season, this had a similar feel. We showed Notts County no respect, the difference between this and Stockport was players feeling the rigours of a season – and no-one in any kind of scoring form.

It did not make for a game of great quality, but with our team which is all about effort, that speaks more for our efforts.

On that point, my thoughts on last season’s Reuben Reid were clear.

This season, I was willing to give him a chance and take fully in to account the fact he had an interrupted start of the campaign to put it mildly.

But, Reuben’s mistake at the end of this match was simply not acceptable. A burst forward by Lawson D’Ath, fed the ball through to our experienced striker who we are told has incredibly high standards, and he allows the ball to run under his foot and away to safety.

This was moments after the Notts equaliser and was a golden opportunity to get a shot in on goal. Yes, it is one mistake for a player who was on the pitch for less than 15 minutes, but he is paid to get that shot away. If his standards are as high as we are told – and I have no reason to doubt they are – he will be equally infuriated at his mistake.

The fact we played three midfield players – one of whom, Jordan Barnett, started the season as a left back – tells you all you need to know about our scoring options.

Alex Bradley. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

So, it was pleasing to see a goal of great quality from Alex Bradley.

We’re told he sees himself as a midfield player rather than the right-back we thought we signed and if he carries on performing like he did here, he very well could be.

There was nice passes, quality runs forward, strong tackles. There was a lot to like about Alex Bradley’s performance.

Finally, it was pleasing to hear Sarll and Tom Knowles praising the travelling fans at Meadow Lane.

Even when we weren’t winning, they were making a noise in an otherwise quiet Meadow Lane.

Every one of those 223 people in that away end were magnificent – well, let’s say 222, it’s a bit big-headed to call myself ‘magnificent’! We are supporting a team which in reality has nothing left to play for with promotion out of our reach and relegation almost a mathematic impossibility, yet we still turn up and make a racket. At the final whistle, the vast majority stood to applaud the players’ efforts and chant the manager’s name. There’s a huge effort going in on the pitch, but it is being matched in the stands.

Isn’t it amazing how just 90 minutes can define a season?

Yeovil Town had yet another ‘all guts, no glory’ performance against Chesterfield and came out on the losing side, with a first half stoppage time worldie changing the game and being the difference.

These conclusions are starting to feel like a broken record, but here are Ben’s five key takeaways from the Technique Stadium.

Ben Barclay
Pic: YTFC YouTube

Ben Barclay ‘gets it’ – he loves defending, he must be a joy to have in the defensive unit.

He’ll put his head in where it hurts and considering we love Luke Wilkinson and Max Hunt for similar traits, he’s quickly becoming a bit of a find for us.

At the time of writing, I’d like to know what his contract status is at Stockport, because if they go up, or deem him not to be in their plans, I’d certainly be looking to bring him in permanently.

Ben Barclay – he loves defending, and he loves defending for us.

At the other end… sometimes, you can’t do much more to score.

It’s no secret we’ve had our attacking problems this season, but at least yesterday it wasn’t for the want of trying.

Tom Knowles could have had a hat-trick, Luke Wilkinson should have had a least one, Adi Yussuf came close, Josh Staunton had a crack.

But sometimes, the fine margins don’t go your way.

On another day, Scott Loach in the Chesterfield goal doesn’t get his hand up, or Knowles’ wonder strike goes in off the bar rather than bounces out.

If the first half ends 3-1 to us, we go on and win the game. 

Those moments haven’t gone for us all season, but on Saturday evening it looked destined to never fall for us.

Striker Adi Yussuf fires a shot in on goal.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

… and on that… I’m done with Adi Yussuf.

Sorry, I don’t like calling out individuals, but I’ve gone from giving him the benefit of the doubt to really struggling to understand what he brings to the table.

He gave away free-kicks, he misplaced key passes in attacking areas which would have led to more chances, he managed to somehow not bundle the ball home from a yard out in the second half, he got in the way of others, and he constantly got caught offside.

Reuben Reid needs to be given a run in the side above Yussuf in the pecking order if Olomola isn’t fit. Reid looked brighter in that final 10 minutes.

Sorry Adi, nothing personal.

Lawson D’Ath. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz

I think, I’m looking forward to a Staunton, Gorman and D’Ath midfield.

Actually, I know I am, I quite excited by it.

Worthington, Barnett, Bradley and Lo-Everton have their place and in a squad environment they’ll all be very very handy, but, Josh Staunton looked he needed his mate, Gorman out there. Like Ant without Dec, Phil without Grant, it just looks a better fit for the team.

And as for D’Ath, he’s genuinely one of the best players in the league. 

He’s that good. It’s all so effortless for him to pick a pass and to have the composure on the ball that so many around him were lacking. 

If we can get those three on the pitch together singing from the same hymn sheet, that’s a bloody good midfield.

Sarll speaks to the media at Chesterfield

And finally, the manager made his clearest statement yet regarding the off-the-field future of Yeovil Town and it needs to be the catalyst for clarity.

Every word he spoke was correct, this is a team worth supporting, getting behind, enhancing, developing and moulding into a squad that can get Yeovil Town promoted.

If, as many now think, this season is over… next season must begin ASAP. That means clarity and plan of how we approach the medium to long term future of the team.

His own position included, either he needs to be told to go and get who he needs because he’s in charge, or told he won’t be allowing a new person to assess the squad. 

That sounds brutal, and harsh and I’m very much ‘Sarll In’ but the time for next season to start is coming… and it’ll be here far sooner than the end of this current campaign.

A point gained or two more dropped? Whatever your opinion, Yeovil Town’s draw at a Maidenhead United side with an impressive record on home turf fixes us even more firmly in to mid-table in the National League.

Here are Coatesie’s conclusions from the game in Berkshire from the away end….

For the first half Yeovil Town carried a threat going forward and, for the first time I can recall, it was not all built around Charlie Wakefield and Tom Knowles. It became obvious when both departed that we lost our attacking threat with the loss of Olufela Olomola and Lawson D’Ath. Neither player is obviously fully match fit as they both find their way back after a lack of regular football for different reasons. On the positive, we have two players capable of making a real difference going forward, but on the negative D’Ath tired after the break and was sensibly replaced and Fela took heavy challenge which he seemed to still be feeling after the game.

The more worrying thing was that despite our bench looking strong on paper none of our substitutions made much of an impression. Reuben Reid showed some good touches and looked like he got the winner (see next Conclusion), but otherwise did not carry the same scoring threat as Fela. Jordan Barnett didn’t have much of an impact, though on numerous occasions I had wished it had been him accelerating down the pitch from left-back instead of Morgan Williams. No real criticism of Morgan’s performance, but I just am still not convinced he is full-back.

Now I know referee’s are off the agenda (Rule 1 and all that) but what about assistant’s? Okay, I am biased but I saw little wrong with either goal that

Reuben Reid. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

was ruled out. In the first half, Luke Wilkinson did exactly what his manager had been calling for and got himself on the end of a great ball in to the box to head home, he jumped, but he was looked simply more committed than the Maidenhead player he was competing against. Even on a replay I don’t put it beyond ‘seen them given’. Then the injury time ‘winner’ from Reid, well, my angle behind the goal was not the best to judge, the linesman had his flag up early but the fact the ref checked with his assistant suggested even the man in the middle was unsure of the decision.

We saw the best and the worst of Grant Smith. The Yeovil keeper kept us in the game particularly in the second half when we couldn’t seem to keep Maidenhead away. He was involved in a one-on-one battle with the hosts’ Dan Sparkes with some brilliant saves, but sadly his error for the equaliser was even more telling. From the away end it was difficult to see exactly what happened, but it looked pretty inexplicable from what I could make of it.

Sadly, it was another performance which made me convinced we are every inch a mid-table side and unless we can magic up a fully fit D’Ath, get Fela firing or get Wakefield and Knowles back to their unplayable best, it hard to see how it is going to change. But let’s end on a positive, Charlie Lee is going to be an entertaining watch in the technical area. At the start, Darren Sarll shouted to supporters waiting to see which end we were shooting towards that his assistant was nailed on for a yellow card. Invading the pitch for the ‘winner’ from Reid. If there’s nothing to play for other than the pride this season, his antics could be worth a watch.

After a disappointing defeat in midweek, Yeovil Town picked up a point with a goalless draw away at Eastleigh yesterday.

Boss Darren Sarll said his side were “dominant” for 80 minutes of the match, whilst on-loan defender Ben Barclay was pleased to secure another clean sheet – but the lack of goals were (yet again) the main talking point.

Here’s what Coatesie thought from the away end on the South Coast….

Yeovil players after the 0-0 draw with Solihull

Now this wasn’t vintage, free-flowing, exciting Yeovil Town, but it was an improvement from the defeat at Wealdstone where even the players questioned their own character.

This looked more like two teams determined not to lose, only coming to life when they thought they could win, before reverting back to trying not to lose.

There were long spells, particularly in the first half, where all the possession was with the visitors, but the same old problems exist going forward.

Yesterday we could not turn our possession in to clear-cut opportunities and it always felt as if there needed to be a mistake or a moment of brilliance to break the deadlock.

Sadly, the latter never looked likely to happen, though the former almost did at the end when Eastleigh striker Tyrone Barnett passed up a glorious opportunity to win it at the death.

Olomola chats to Sam Collard
📸 @YTFC

The man all those who travelled to the Silverlake Stadium was hoping could be the difference was new boy Olufela Olomola, back for his third loan spell at Huish Park.

It did not quite click straight away, but there was enough there from Fela to make you think it could.

He has had two appearances for his parent club, Hartlepool United, in the past month, playing less than 90 minutes in total in those matches, so it’s going to take him a bit of time to get up to speed.

There were some signs of a link with Tom Knowles and Charlie Wakefield forming, and his chance at the end of the first half suggests there is more to come.

Fela didn’t affect the game as we’d hoped, but give him a full week of training and let’s see how he looks against Dagenham next weekend.

Ben Barclay
Pic: YTFC YouTube


But defensively Yeovil looked sound again after some errors in midweek and Ben Barclay is looking a very shrewd signing on loan from Stockport County.

It was the centre half who actually came closest to breaking the deadlock when his header came off the crossbar following a header from his defensive partner Luke Wilkinson.

Wilko spoke before the game about the need for the Glovers’ backline to chip in with goals, and on another day that corner routine could have done just that.

The fact the absence of Max Hunt, one of our top performers this season, has gone pretty much unnoticed says everything you need to know about Barclay’s performances since his arrival.

This one could be a little controversial, but I do think Tom Knowles was lucky only to only see a yellow card at the end there.

And, yes, before you start swearing at your mobile/laptop/tablet, Eastleigh’s Ryan Hill was even more fortunate to remain on the pitch!

I held my breath when Knowles went in late on keeper Joe McDonnell the action which incensed Hill to shove his opponent to the ground.

Both McDonnell and Knowles were more than a little theatrical in their responses to the fouls.

Knowles went down for treatment, giving the referee a lot of time to confer with his assistants, and the result was a yellow card apiece.

Had the ref decided to go for red, there was every chance a National League ref (*Rule 1 invoked*) could have tried to keep the numbers level.

In summary, it was either a yellow card apiece or a red one apiece.

Charlie Lee rises highest
📸 Mike Kunz

Finally, it was lovely to see Charlie Lee waiting outside the player’s entrance after the game.

Since retiring from football at Billericay Town a couple of months ago, I imagine he has his Saturday afternoon’s spare.

I wonder if he got inside in time to hear Darren Sarll refer to the assistant he plans to appoint next week as “a super intelligent chap” in his post-match interview.

Well, it wasn’t pretty, but a hard-earned three points for ten-man Yeovil Town at Woking are the first we’ve got on the board in 2022. Here’s how Coatesie saw it from his vantage point at the Kingfield Stadium….

 

It probably doesn’t bear counting as a conclusion any longer, but this team really is putting everything on the line for points this season.
In a profession where there is a dwindling amount of loyalty, we have a team constructed of those at either ends of their careers who are playing like their lives depend on it.
There’s no experienced heads looking to see out their autumn years on easy street, or youngsters who see this as simply a step on the ladder – or if they do, they are going to kick and fight their way up it.
I cannot help being drawn back to the comparison of the side which took us out of the Football League…..if that side had half the spirit of this one….anyway, that’s a conversation for another day.

Luke Wilkinson.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

How much do we need Luke Wilkinson? The manager described his performance as “great, rubbish and great all in the same game” but even at his most ‘rubbish’ he was inspiring.
Ben Barclay alongside him looks a useful addition and when the kitchen sink came from Woking with us down to ten men, they ran in to a Wilko and Barclay-shaped wall.
The stats in all competitions where he’s featured speak for themselves.
With Wilko: P17 W11 D1 L5.
Without Wilko: P12 W1 D6 L5.
That is if you count the penalty shoot-outs against W*ymouth and Needham Market (both without Wilko) as draws at 90 minutes, and give him a win for his two-minute cameo at the end of the victory at Wrexham.

Whilst you can only beat what’s in front of you, this was a very poor Woking team.
Missing their only decent player in Max Kretzschmar and now without their only goal threat, Tahvon Campbell, who moved back in to the League at the, they were devoid of any quality.
A better side or one with a player able to find a bovine’s behind with a string instrument would surely have put away some of the chances Woking wasted.
Even with ten men for half-an-hour, there was only one occasion where Grant Smith was forced in to serious action.
The effort we put in saw is over the line, but let’s make no mistake this was a poor opponent.

I could complain about the referee, Tom Bishop, who was seemingly intent on sending someone off from the opening moments….oh, I just did a bit!
But, there were too many occasions where we gave the referee an invitation he didn’t need to go to his pocket.
Darren Sarll described Tom Knowles as a “daft bugger” for getting his fifth yellow for delaying play, and it felt like both sides gave away fouls which you can afford to do  against a trigger-happy referee.
When both benches are throwing their hands up in frustration at decisions, you get the impression of the kind of game Mr Bishop had.

Finally, who’s still standing? With Tom Knowles now suspended for Tuesday’s derby with W*ymouth, Jordan Barnett having limped off with a hamstring strain to go with the ankle injury he went in to Saturday with, it’s looking threadbare.
The addition of Barclay was a plus and it was great to see Lawson D’Ath back on the bench – oh how we could do with his skill in midfield – but more reinforcements are needed.

Yeovil whimpered out of the FA Trophy at the hands of Needham Market yesterday. I soaked it all in and fortuitously managed to condense it in five conclusions.

Well, that wasn’t very good was it? It goes without saying that losing to a team in the Southern League Premier Division is unacceptable for Yeovil Town Football Club. The game should not have reached a penalty shootout and we should have had enough about us to put them away. But, as everyone knows and Darren Sarll said, on the day it’s 11 men vs 11 men and Needham Market’s 11 men earned victory. Too many players performed far below the level expected and we were the ‘giants’ that were killed on this occasion.

It’s blindingly obvious but we’re horribly out of form. We’ve gone through this pattern before. A good run of form followed by a rough patch of form. We need to get out of this patch sooner rather than later if we’re going to keep within touching distance of the play offs. How we get it back, who knows? Darren Sarll didn’t seem hopeful of any additions any time soon, which we obviously need. Once again, we’re round to talking correlation between what happens off the pitch and how important it is to what happens on it. We’ve gone from nine subs to four in seven days and the manager needs reinforcements.

Oh, Reuben. This wasn’t a performance of the rejuvenated Reuben Reid we’ve been anticipating. This match was Reid’s return to Yeovil in a nutshell. Loose touches, misplaced passes, a lot effort but a lack of quality. His penalty was disappointing and summed up his afternoon. This isn’t the Reid who was training almost immediately after the 2020/21 season finished. This is an experienced pro, at the latter stages of his career recovering from a serious hamstring injury having to start from square one again and get himself match fit in a side which is on a bad run. And instead of being able to be eased back into it, we’re reliant on him to come back into the team and drag us out of a mess.

There was a feeling of deflation around Huish Park. Perhaps it was the contrast of 8,000 last Saturday versus 1600 yesterday, but the rumours circulating before kick-off about Terry Skiverton’s departure (coupled with his notable absence during the warm up) certainly took the wind out of my sails. To lose a legend like Skivo in the middle of the season, without a proper send off is really sad. It’s not how I thought it would happen and I daresay it’s probably not how he thought it would happen. His departure is sad for supporters and also the players he works with on a daily basis and the staff he’s worked with since joining Yeovil in 1998.

Darren Sarll cut a frustrated figure. It felt like Darren was on the cusp of saying what he really felt about the situation after the match yesterday. That’s not to say he doesn’t normally, he clearly does. But, what must have been a highly emotional week for him has ended in, probably, his worst defeat as Yeovil manager. He’s lost his assistant (and friend), he’s lost his captain to injury and the team he’s worked miracles with so far appear to be in a rut. Next weekend we welcome Wrexham to town which will undoubtedly demonstrate the gulf in resource, but we did ‘em last time didn’t we?!

It was another defeat for Yeovil Town on Tuesday night as we went down to our fourth loss in a row at Southend United.

Here one-time Gloverscast quiz champion and Glovers’ supporter Ed Turnbull was among the 80 hardy souls in the North Stand at Roots Hall, and here are his five conclusions:

Unfortunately, the most obvious takeaway is the performance level was substantially lower (at least for the first hour) than what we were treated to during our stunning 12-match unbeaten run. The first half in particular, we had very little fluidity in attack and invited Southend onto us, struggling to get anything resembling a foothold in the game. To make matters worse, our defence seemed nowhere near as solid as the backline that stood firm to bombardments from the likes of Solihull, Bromley and Wrexham in previous away games this season – Southend could easily have scored more than two. Various wise heads including Darren Sarll and Ian Perkins have referred to the team looking tired of late, and this was further proof. Mind you, it must be said that Southend seemed a lot better than a team that has spent most of the season battling it out with W*ymuff for 20th place.

Joe Quigley battles for the ball.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Things improved significantly with the introduction of Joe Quigley and Reuben Reid (if you ignore for a second the fact Southend made it 2-0 right after they came on!). Adi Yussuf very rarely, if ever, got the ball to stick to him, and nobody was surprised when the fourth official’s board went up with a red 23 next to a green 10. I think getting the ball under control back-to-goal isn’t one of Quigley’s strengths either, but he’s negated that possible weakness by instead looking to win flick-ons for team-mates to run onto (take his assist for Yussuf’s goal against Eastleigh as a perfect example). Last night I was very impressed how he seemed to win every header against big centre-halfs, and it gave us (often Reuben Reid to be precise) a platform to work off, that saw us become a lot more threatening and gave us a fighting chance of getting something from the game. Quigley was also unlucky not to score himself when he did brilliantly to make space for a shot, which was excellently saved. I’ll be picking Joe ahead of Adi in my next FanHub line-up predictions in the future, for sure (unless Quigley get’s injured, I suppose). 

Luke Wilkinson. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Ordinarily, you’d probably say that the phase of play which ended with us scoring our only goal was the best 15 seconds of the match from a Yeovil point of view. But on this occasion I would argue it was the worst, and that’s because Luke Wilkinson went down innocuously immediately before we scored. I didn’t see whose shot it was from the edge of the box (sounds as though it was Wakefield’s) that wasn’t gathered by Southend keeper Steve Arnold, and Reid nudging in the rebound was only in my peripheral vision, because I was more focused on our captain clutching his leg in obviously severe discomfort. If you look at our record in National League games this season, I make it now W7 D1 L2 when Wilkinson has played the whole match, compared to W2 D3 L6 when he hasn’t – I think that’s enough said about how big a miss he’ll be. If anything, I was relieved to hear Sarll’s prognosis of “a good six weeks“, because I feared it could have been even worse.

Rhys Murphy did not get a welcoming reception from the Yeovil fans, it’s fair to say. Perhaps it’s understandable after his absence at the end of last season which did leave a sour taste in the mouth. Murphy later stated this was “due to some personal issues“, and given we’ll probably never know what he meant by that, one could argue he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Personally, I’d rather remember Rhys for his incredible return of 34 goals in 65 games, and for memories such as Torquay away (the 2-0, not the 6-1, if that wasn’t clear). The bloke literally scored a hattrick against W*ymuff, after all! He certainly showed enough quality last night to remind us what we’re missing.

Lastly, and most importantly, I think it should go without saying we need to stick by these players. Yes, it’s four defeats in a row, but it’s also four defeats in our last 16. I fully agree with Darren Sarll when he says this young group needs to be positively supported rather than have fans on their backs if we want them to perform to the really high bar they’ve set in November and December as frequently as possible. These players seriously care about Yeovil Town FC, and that was shown again last night in the way we kept trying our socks off for an equaliser despite being visibly shattered and ending the game with 10 men after Wilkinson went off. On another day, the ref might not have penalised Max Hunt for a hand ball, Reid’s goal would have been an equaliser rather than a consolation, and the lads would have secured a heroic comeback for which we’d be singing their praises.

It wasn’t the best afternoon at Huish Park yesterday, but there were positives sprinkled amongst the defeat. Here’s Ian’s Five Conclusions…

Darren Sarll has some decisions to make up front. Adi Yussuf started yesterday, and it was one of those games where nothing lands right for him. He never really got hold of the ball, didn’t win many headers and was out muscled on most occasions. Joe Quigley returned from the bench after his injury and caused issues for Torquay and was an instant upgrade. The arrival of Reuben Reid was also promising, he got the ball under control and held off Torquay defenders well too. For the first time this season, Sarll has three out-and-out striking options and decisions to make.

Morgan Williams is becoming Mr Dependable. When we signed Williams in the summer after two decent loan spells, I though we were getting a good centre back option. A young player who would improve with us and either progress with us or move on for a nice fee. Not only is he all of those things, but he’s also becoming a trusted, versatile member of the squad who’s filling in at both left and right back. I think there is a question to ask about Alex Bradley’s absence, and what he gives us going forward compared to Williams. But, defensively Williams is proving that he’s dependable across the back four.

I think that’s enough of Dale Gorman’s speculative shots from distance. When Gorman lined up a freekick from forty yards yesterday, I thought he it was just a decoy run up. I anticipated a delicate lob or a disguised pass to a sneaky full back on the run. Instead, Gorman opted to attempt the unlikely spectacular and belted the ball into a two man wall allowed Torquay to break and force the corner from which they equalised. Now, we should have dealt with the corner, but we shouldn’t have gone from that position with an attacking free kick, to an exposed defensive situation in under a minute. He had another attempt later in the match, where he was tackled cleanly and tried to claim a foul as Torquay broke and but for a shirt pull, could have scored again on the counter. Gorman is great at breaking up play and keeping our possession ticking over, but the frequent attempts at worldies are letting him down.

I felt we lost our width. It may have been (and probably was) a tactical plan to get narrow, but as we chased the game we didn’t seem to get players in the wide areas to make a difference. We didn’t see Charlie Wakefield didn’t get to areas where we’ve seen him cause teams problems, Knowles didn’t get wide to cut back inside. With Quigley and Reid on the pitch, we could have got more crosses in the box and caused Torquay more problems.

We don’t need to panic. Two losses on the bounce isn’t great, but it’s not the end of the world. The late withdrawal of Luke Wilkinson meant we had to shuffle the pack even more than we thought we’d have to with Dan Moss and Grant Smith suspended. A back five that might have just had a couple of changes had four. This group has plenty of credit in the bank and this is part of the journey.

The run had to come to an end at some point – but yesterday’s Boxing Day match unravelled following a crazy five-minute period. Here five conclusions from a Boxing Day to forget from BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins.

It had been an even game up until the 65th minute but at that point our inexperience finally told. Throughout the good run of form, things have gone Yeovil’s way and they have stood firm well and except for the Woking game, they have avoided too much frustration on the pitch. But tempers were flaring early doors in this match and Torquay were street smart – while Yeovil lost their heads. Sonny Blu Lo-Everton can feel aggrieved he wasn’t given a yellow – but he gave the linesman and referee a decision to make and with how things were going, a red card at some point was inevitable – and it was against Yeovil. It was clearly not with intent to hurt his opponent – but it was reckless and silly none the less.

We need to get Charlie Wakefield in the game more. We are most dangerous when he gets the ball, runs with it and creates space. In the first half, it was a defensive masterclass once again, but Wakefield did not get the service he needs. Early in the second half, it was clear Darren Sarll wanted to utilise the right-hand side, but then it was always going to be difficult with 10 men. He is our danger man, and we need to use him more.

Gary Johnson had a game plan – and it worked. Speaking to BBC Somerset pre-match, the former Yeovil manager spoke about ‘shenanigans’ and while I don’t think Yeovil were cynical, the way Torquay won their free kicks was much more impressive than us – and they frustrated us. They have some talented players, but so do we and their work in midfield to win the ball back was one of their strengths. We must be aware of that in the return fixture.

Following Dan Moss’ fifth yellow card, Lo Everton’s red and Smith’s post-match dismissal, there will be several changes for next Sunday, but we do have some strength in depth now. Don’t get me wrong, we cannot afford many more suspensions or injuries, but with Mark Little on his way back, Jack Robinson recovered, Joe Quigley working towards fitness, and Alex Bradley, Reuben Reid, Jaheim Headley and Max Evans all available, it might not be the unmitigated disaster it could have been a couple of months ago. It is a huge chance for the squad players to stake a claim on a team which has been in wonderful form.

Lastly, in true Yeovil Town fan style, there is no need to panic. The manner of the collapse was concerning, but this group have a huge amount of character and desire – and for spells they kept Torquay at bay, who are in decent nick in league. I have no doubt they will bounce back – and what better way than against the same opponents? I will mention that I had to wait a long time for the post-match interviews but – as ever – both Sarll and Staunton assessed the performance honestly. It may well be a blessing in disguise that there is a full week for next week’s new-look side to gel and get back to winning ways.

Yeovil Town completed an unbeaten November with a fantastic 2-0 win away at Wrexham, two thirds of the Gloverscast were there, with Ben Barrett keeping up his record this season of not seeing the Glovers even concede, let alone lose!

He was alongside Sheridan Robins in the commentary box and here are his five conclusions from a brilliant night in North Wales!

Five Conclusions: Wrexham 0 – 2 Yeovil

I think I’ve just about made it back down to earth following Yeovil’s 2-0 win over Wrexham, a night that I think will go down as a special night for the 103 Yeovil fans who made the journey.

When we first got the team sheet, there was a look of realisation that hadn’t maybe sunk in properly before, but we are down to the barest bones, and it’s not going to get any easier.

Sorry to start with a negative, I’ll get to the good stuff in a bit, but our bench had a Goalkeeper with nothing more than a couple Somerset Premier Cup games to his name, a 17-year old college student, an experienced pro who was touch and go for a game a couple days ago, was ill overnight and probably shouldn’t have been there and Mr Versatile – Alex Bradley.

Bradley, who has done nothing wrong in his minutes so far, was probably the ONLY option for Darren Sarll. He came on for Adi Yussuf which meant a reshuffle tactically, but we need some bodies in the squad… and quickly.

Right, OK, onto the good stuff.

Morgan Williams, a bit like Alex Bradley has had to wait for his chance, but he got it last night… albeit out of position at left back… and grabbed it with both hands.

Nothing phased him, with Reece Hall-Johnson a constant threat, the ever dangerous Paul Mullin drifting onto his side to avoid Josh Staunton’s back pocket he dealt with everything brilliantly.

Not just defensively either, he took chances to move forward, to play brave passes, to try and start attacks and get involved with Barnett and Wakefield further forward.

This was the best I’ve seen from him, and to have him pushing Wilko, Hunt and co for positions can only be a good thing. 

I think it’s time to add Paul Mullin to the long list of highly influential players Yeovil have kept quiet.

Let’s get this right, he’s a League One striker, he’s better than this division by at least 24 places, but arguably so is Paddy Madden, so is Jordan Slew, so is Matt Warbuton, so is Tavhon Campbell, so is Michael Cheek, so is Joe Sbarra, so is Paul McCallum, you get the picture.

What is it about the league’s best that just cannot get the job done against Yeovil?
The only common denominators are Messrs Wilkinson, Hunt, Staunton, Worthington and Gorman.

At this level, maybe teams have a few stars with everyone else at a similar level, maybe Darren Sarll has cottoned on to that it can be just as simple as keeping those players quiet.

Wrexham fans sung Paul Mullins’ name time and time again almost as if to ask when he was going to do what he ALWAYS does.

But that didn’t happen, and opposition players will know that.

It’s Elliot List of Stevenage on Saturday, Adam Marriott at Barnet followed by… someone… maybe… at W*ymouth. Bring ’em on.

Loan signing Dan Moss in action
Pic: Mike Kunz.

A special word for Dan Moss.

With an elbow to his head, followed a target on his back, the 21-year old Millwall loanee had to play like a 31-year old YTFC veteran for 60 something minutes.

Not only was he in something of a makeshift defence, but he was an attacking outlet with Tom Knowles missing from that right hand side.

He was kicked, pushed, tackled late, shoved over and each and every time, he just got up and kept his cool.

That might have been a new experience for the young lad to be booed by nearly 8000 people and we’ve seen plenty crumble under that pressure.

On a yellow card himself, Darren Sarll could have pulled the trigger and taken him off, but he trusted his man to see the game out.

Dan Moss will have learned more in one night than maybe the rest of his short career combined, he passed every test with flying colours and is quickly rising up the loan-hero ranking at YTFC, he’s got Connor Roberts and Remeo Hutton ahead of him in that right back spot… but he’s closing fast.

Good luck to Mark Little who has to try and get him out the team.

Finally, a look at the table and maybe the future.

Darren Sarll said that as long as his Yeovil side were within touching distance of the play-offs come the turn of the year, we maybe have a chance.

Injuries permitting, we could give it a go in the second half of the season.

At the time of writing, we’re 10th on 28 points. Wrexham occupy the final play off spot in 7th on 30 points having played a game more.

We’ve played EVERY ONE of the top 14 sides so far this season, with Barnet (15th), Torquay twice (17th), Weymouth (19th) and Wealdstone (16th) coming up between now and the turn of the year…

This is an opportunity, none of those games are a guaranteed three points, but…

I’d say with a fair chunk of those next 15 points comes a great chance to be more than just within ‘touching distance’.

I enjoyed that one, I hope you did too.