Matchday Preview

For Altrincham supporters this weekend’s final National League game of the season is a historic one for many reasons.

Firstly, it will be the last the club plays as a part-time team with the club confirming it will be full-time next season, but – even in defeat – they have already achieved their 55 points is the highest they have managed since 1996.

And, victory could see them claim as high as 12th place in the table – leap-frogging Yeovil in the process – which would be the highest they have managed in more than two decades.

However, as Yeovil fans with long enough memories to recall the club’s own transition from part-time to full-time football will recall, the change comes at a price with seven players confirming that this weekend will be their final one as Altrincham players.

Goalkeeper Tony Thompson, captain Shaun Densmore, full-back Connor Hampson, defender Andy White and midfielders Jake Moult, Josh Hancock and Tom Hannigan will all leave to remain part-time.

The transition to professional football began last summer when manager Phil Parkinson was installed in a full-time capacity and now the club has decided the time is right to bring the playing squad alongside.

It is the Robins’ performances at Moss Lane which has been their strength this season and they haven’t lost on home soil since the defeat to Torquay United at the end of January.

Over the past six matches, their home form – won four, drawn two, lost zero – puts them sixth in the National League form table, behind only Wrexham, Solihull Moors, Notts County, Stockport County and Torquay.

You can hear our chat with Erin, a.k.a @GolfRoadGoals on Twitter and Instagram, talk to us about the weekend’s game on our latest podcast – here.


FROM THE MANAGER

Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson admitted he had an eye on Sunday’s final day game when picking his starting XI for Tuesday night’s draw at Bromley.

He brought a number of the players who will be leaving the club as it transitions to full-time football back in to the line-up.

He said: “This game was to be them ready for Sunday and there’s other boys who could not make it due to injury.

The biggest thing I want to do is give them that send off, they have dedicated a big chunk of their footballing careers to this club and they deserve that opportunity to say goodbye to the fans.

One thing is for sure, they will not let themselves down knowing we’ve got a landmark moment because we have not finished higher than 14th in this division for 20 years and I’m sure they want to finish on a high.

But for Parkinson, who has been a full-time employee all season, next season is about the start of a new era for the club – and he is setting the bar high.

He added: “I don’t think I will have ever truly left my mark on this club unless we get promoted out of this league.

This is the toughest it has been with ex-League clubs in the division, but when this club has been at its best we have pushed for League football and that is certainly something we want to do.

But, that is a long way off, but we are making giant strides to get us where we want to be to be that club again.”


TEAM NEWS

Altrincham boss Phil Parkinson fielded “a makeshift team” in the midweek draw at Bromley.

Goalkeeper Matthew Gould came in between the posts in place of Tony Thompson, the first choice stopper who will be one of seven players leaving the club to remain part-time next season.

Defender Toby Mullarkey, a regular feature in the side this season, also missed out and has been linked with a move to EFL side Portsmouth this week.

Up front, top scorer, Ryan Colclough, who has 11 goals to his name this season, has been missing since Easter Monday.

There were returns for captain Shaun Densmore, Tom Hannigan and Jake Moult, three of the seven departing this summer, against Bromley.

Academy graduate Ryan Morton came off the bench in midweek.


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

AJ Leitch-Smith was the inevitable scorer of Altrincham’s goal when they drew 1-1 at Huish Park back in October.

The 32-year-old forward spent the 2014-15 season at Huish Park before departing back to his native Cheshire to join Port Vale, and arrived at Moss Road from Morecambe in the summer.

He has only made 19 appearances this season, scoring four times, and has not featured since the end of March.

Last season, central defender and now Wales under-21 international Billy Sass-Davies turned out for both sides whilst on loan from Crewe Alexandra and was in the patched-up Glovers’ side which went down 4-3 at Alty at the end of last season.

Full-back Mark Lynch, who played 31 times in green-and-white between 2006 and 2008, finished his career at Alty in 2012, but other than that we’re struggling a bit.

How about inside forward Albert Foulds, who started his career in the youth team at Alty before playing a season at Yeovil in the 1949-50 season?

In a similar fashion to Yeovil Town, it has been a season of underachievement for Bath City this season.

The Romans finished their National League South season with a 3-3 draw at Twerton Park last weekend and ended the campaign fourth from bottom – which is even more disappointing than the (anticipated by most people – see last week’s poll) mid-table finish the Glovers are heading for.

The Somerset Premier Cup therefore offers them something to finish the campaign with a flourish having beaten Clevedon Town (definitely nowhere near Bristol!), Portishead, Welton Rovers and Frome Town on their way to the final.

It has been more than 20 years since the sides last met when a double from Demba and a goal from Michael McIndoe earned Gary Johnson’s Yeovil a 3-1 FA Cup replay win having drawn 1-1 in the first game.

You have to go back to January 1996 to find the last time Bath were victorious in a competitive fixture, a 3-2 win in the FA Trophy, but in SPC finals they have won the last four encounters between these two sides – the last being in March 1994. If you’re interested, you can see the full history of results between the sides – here.

But, if you thought W*ymouth was the only historic rivalry we had, think again. Bath have visited Yeovil more than any other town in their history with more than 130 visits albeit only four in the past 26 years.

The two sides also share the record for the most successful SPC campaigns with 24 wins each. Bath’s last coming in 2008 with Yeovil’s three years earlier.

Are we making this sound more like there’s something to play for?

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Bath manager Jerry Gill is a man with a foot in both camps having made the move from Twerton to Huish Park back in 1996, spending a successful season in Somerset before getting his big move to Birmingham City.

His post-match comments after the weekend’s final league fixture suggest Romans’ fans have not let him forget it, he said: “Back in the day, this was a huge rivalry when I was playing here and I know I got my move from here to Yeovil and a lot of people don’t thank me for that.

It’s a wonderful club down there as well, so I am going to enjoy it first and foremost, but we are going down there to win.

“I have spoken to a lot of fans here and a lot of people are going down to watch the game, and we’ll be competitive, it’s no good going to a cup final if you don’t go and win it.

“So we’ll give it everything we have got to go and win that game and hopefully get some good backing.”

 


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

As you’d imagine given the proximity, there’s been quite a few down the years. The most obvious one is Bath City manager Jerry Gill.

Gill was a star player at full-back for City in the mid-1990s when he made the switch along with midfielder Rob Cousins joining Graham Roberts’ Yeovil in the summer of 1996.

Both players went on to be the a major part of the side which romped to the ICIS League Premier Division (now National League South) title and returned to the Conference in 1997.

His form that campaign caught the eye of Birmingham City, then a First Division (now Championship) side, and made the move for £30,000 with a further £10,000 payable after he played ten first-team games.

Both he and Howard Forinton, the star striker whose goals first Roberts’ side to the title that year, moved to St Andrews but it was Gill who was more successful, playing 60 times for the Blues.

He returned to Twerton Park as manager in 2017 after a spell in charge at W*ymouth (oh Jerry, how could you?) and coaching roles at Kidderminster Harriers and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Cousins stayed at Huish Park upon promotion back to the Conference and remained until the summer of 2001 when he moved to Forest Green Rovers.

Dean Birkby. Picture courtesy of Tim Lancaster.

Another player from that era who made the move south was striker Dean Birkby who joined Roberts’ revolution earlier than Gill and Cousins, joining midway through the 1995-96 campaign.

Having signed for £10,000 he went on to score 31 goals in 90 appearances alongside the likes of Warren Patmore and Forinton before leaving to join Forest Green in the summer of 2000.

More recently, Exeter City defender Jordan Dyer has had spells with both clubs. His time with Yeovil consisted of the final minute of the 2-0 home win over Woking in October, but he did have two spells with Bath making 21 appearances.

Mathematically this weekend’s visitors to Huish Park, Boreham Wood, still have a chance of making the National League’s top seven.

The Wood have seen their season fall off a cliff since the start of March when they went out of the FA Cup after an amazing run which saw them knock out AFC Bournemouth, who put Yeovil out in the previous round and will be a Premier League side next season.

Since the 2-0 loss at Everton, they have won just twice and lost eight times in the National League – but their last two results have been a 2-0 win at table-topping Stockport County last weekend and a 1-1 draw at home to title-chasing Wrexham on Bank Holiday Monday.

Boss Luke Garrard has been rewarded with a new three-year contract this week which (if he sees it out) would take him to a decade in the dug-out with the club he served as a player for five seasons.

He said: “I was fortunate enough that seven seasons ago the (chairman Danny Hunter) gave me the opportunity to take the reins and I know at any other National League club I would not get that chance.

“So I want to repay the (chairman) and I hope we can create even more memories and history in the next three years.

“I am disappointed with the way this season panned out, but we are in the history books again and every year we make history. That is something I am very proud of.”

After the trip to Somerset, Boreham Wood face two other play-off chasing sides in their final two fixtures with a long trip to Grimsby Town on Tuesday night followed by a final day fixture at home to Solihull Moors.

Garrard’s target?: “Our job now is to ensure we have the best defence in the division, we go and get eighth or ninth and certainly don’t drop out of the top ten.

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Wood manager Luke Garrard recognises the similarities between his own rise to management with that of of his opposite number Yeovil caretaker boss, Charlie Lee.

In 2015, Garrard stepped up after five years as a player at Meadow Park and was the division’s youngest manager at the time.

Speaking of the Glovers, he said: “When I was given the job here seven years ago, I knew it could have been my first and my last job.

“I think (Charlie) has done really well, you can see his structure and the way he wants to play and there is real good personnel in the (Yeovil) team.

“(Josh) Neufville has come back from a really bad injury and done well and is finding his form, (Tom) Knowles who I have always liked, Dale Gorman who I think is one of the best midfield players in this decision and Luke Wilkinson who I played with myself.

“It’s going to be tough, they have fallen away a bit but they will still have ambitions to finish as high as possible but I know Charlie is going to go out and fight for everything.”

 


TEAM NEWS

The imposing figure of central defender Jamal Fyfield will definitely be missing at Huish Park following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Wrexham on Bank Holiday Monday.

He seems likely to be replaced by James Comley on the left side of a three-man defence with Boreham Wood likely to stick with their familiar 3-5-2 formation.

In goal, Nathan Ashmore, who impressed in the reverse fixture at the end of September, seems likely to remain between the posts.

He returned in at the end of last month having been replaced between the posts by Fulham loanee Taye Ashby-Hammond in October and was even loaned out to National League rivals Maidenhead United. His return in goal has coincided with a return to form.


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Grant Smith has happy memories of his time as a Boreham Wood player. The Yeovil Town goalkeeper was part of the side which reached the National League play-off final in 2018, eventually losing to Tranmere Rovers at Wembley.

Grant Smith didn’t have a lot to do, but he did pull off an important stop at the end. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Smith spent two seasons at Meadow Park before signing for Lincoln City. He returned to Hertfordshire in the 2019-20 campaign and played in Wood’s play-off eliminator against FC Halifax Town due to a suspension to first-choice keeper Nathan Ashmore.

Adi Yussuf is another player who has stepped out at Wembley as a Boreham Wood player. He was a 79th-minute substitute in the club’s play-off final defeat to Harrogate Town whilst on loan from Blackpool.

Glovers’ defender Luke Wilkinson also had two loan spells at Boreham Wood in the Conference South side. He turned out 26 times in the 2010-11 season and 23 times after returning the following campaign whilst on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge.

In the home side’s squad, Connor Smith spent the 2017-18 season at Huish Park, having his contract cancelled at the end of the first campaign. He signed for Wood from Wealdstone in the summer.

Other players with a foot in both camps include Kabongo Tshimanga, who played zero minutes whilst on loan at Huish Park before going on to be prolific with Wood, whilst Joe Quigley also had a nine-game spell with Wood on loan from AFC Bournemouth in 2018.

Graham Roberts, who managed Yeovil to the Isthmian League Premier Division title and promotion back to the Conference in 1997, managed Boreham Wood to the Isthmian League Division one title in 1999-2000 before his departure saw two of his players, Mickey Engwell and Lee Harvey, take charge.

Engwell was Roberts’ captain at Huish Park and Harvey was a towering centre half in that title-winning side of 1997.

Engwell was replaced as Wood manager by Steve Browne, who was part of that title-winning side under Graham Roberts, and probably better known to younger Yeovil fans as the father of Rhys.

Billy Clifford, who played once in green-and-white in a League Cup win at Southend United in 2013 whilst on loan from Chelsea, spent the 2015-16 season at Meadow Park, whilst Angelo Balanta was part of the side which reached the Championship under Gary Johnson before spending two years at Boreham Wood.

In what is in all reality the deadest of dead rubbers, the chance to complete a double over their old Southern League rivals from the 1980s.

The Stones’ 2-1 win over Yeovil back in February was described by then-Glovers’ boss Darren Sarll as “unforgiveable” and then-midfielder (now injured midfielder) Josh Staunton as one where the team “let everyone down.”

A win for the visitors would be their third double of the season – with whipping boys Dover and local rivals Barnet their other victims – and they will be looking to sign off their second season back in style.

On the road they have won two and lost four of their last six, including an impressive 1-0 win at Southend United on Good Friday, but they did lose at the weekend when play-off hunting Dagenham & Redbridge ran out 2-1 winners at Grosvenor Vale.

For a side with probably one of the smallest budgets in the division, a 17th placed finish (the position they find themselves in going in to this match) is more than creditable.

Speaking after the Dagenham defeat, Wealdstone boss Stuart Maynard said: “The top end of the pitch was the difference for us. They can bring Josh Walker off the bench and he probably walks in to most National League squads.

They had a similar philosophy to us and like to pass the ball, I thought we controlled possession but just were not clinical enough in the final third.


FROM THE MANAGER

Speaking of his side’s opponents this Bank Holiday Monday, Wealdstone manager Stuart Maynard said: “They’re a side with lots of pace all over the pitch, myself and Matty (Saunders, the Stones’ assistant manager) will start looking at them over the weekend and come up with a game plan for Monday and plan for the game.

Charlie Lee has come in and took temporary charge for them and picked up some really positive results, so we need to assess and see if they’re playing in the same shape they were playing in, with the same personnel or whether he’s tweaked them or not.


TEAM NEWS

Wealdstone seem likely to go with the same team which finished Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat at the hands of in-form Dagenham & Redbridge.

That included Sam Howes, signed on loan from Isthmian Premier side Horsham late last week, who replaced on loan Fulham stopper George Wickens after he was concussed during a collision in training at the end of lat week.

Midfielder Ashley Charles, who has been missing for the past couple of weeks, returned on the bench on Saturday and could be an option, but long-term injury victim Andrew Eleftheriou is expected to be missing.



FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

There will be two very familiar faces in the Yeovil Town squad which arrives at Wealdstone in the form of forwards Charlie Wakefield and Sonny Blu Lo-Everton.

The pair were both on the books at Grosvenor Vale last season with Wakefield starting the season with the Stones with Wakefield playing – and getting booked – in the 2-2 draw at Huish Park at the start of last season.

He departed for full-time football with Bromley last January before being released at the end of the campaign.

Sonny Blu Lo-Everton in action for Wealdstone against Yeovil Town last season.

Sonny played ten times for Wealdstone on loan from his parent club Watford including as an 18th-minute substitute following an injury in Yeovil’s 2-0 win in London last May.

For the hosts, winger Rhys Browne could make it back after two months out with an ankle injury tonight. He played more than 60 times in two years at Huish Park before joining Port Vale in the summer of 2019.

His father, Steve Browne, is another connection having had two spells at both clubs. In green and white he was part of the side which won promotion back to the then-GM Vauxhall Conference under Graham Roberts in 1996-97. In 2017, Steve sadly died after a battle with bowel cancer. He was just 52.

However, the strongest links to these two clubs date back to the late 1980s and early 1990s when Brian Hall was manager at both clubs, bringing a number of players with him.

Hall had led the Stones to the Conference and FA Trophy double in 1985 before taking the move to Huish in January 1987 where he picked up a Yeovil side in the game’s sixth tier.

A team photograph from 1988 showing Brian Hall’s Yeovil Town with a plethora of former Wealdstone players features in the programme for the reverse fixture in February.

The Glovers were beaten to promotion back to the Conference by Wycombe Wanderers in 1987, but won promotion back in Hall’s first full season, switching places with Wealdstone who came down that year.

The success of Yeovil and the demise of Wealdstone was down in no small part to Hall attracting a number of players to join him in Somerset.

Neil Cordice and Steve Rutter, the latter who would go on to manage the Glovers, made the move along with full-back Tiv Lowe, Steve Tapley, goalkeeper Bob Iles, and midfielders Gary Donnellan and Andy Wallace.

Hall was sacked after four years and replaced with Clive Whitehead who had an unsuccessful six-month spell before being replaced by Rutter, who was one of a number of ex-Stones who remained in Somerset.

When Rutter left in 1993 his eventual replacement was Hall who brought a number of his old Wealdstone players with him, unfortunately, he could not match the success of his previous spell and lasted just under a year.

FC Halifax Town boss Pete Wild insists his side is not feeling the pressure as they bid to secure a play-off place when Yeovil Town come to The Shay this weekend.

The manager, who saw red (and went a bit red) when his side lost the reverse fixture in September, saw the gap from fourth-placed Solihull Moors cut to just two points last weekend.

The Shaymen went down 1-0 at Southend United whilst Solihull picked up a win with third place offering home advantage in a one-off play-off semi-final.

A win for Wild’s team on Saturday would guarantee a play-off place, a win or a draw would set a new record for the highest points total the club has recorded in the fifth tier since reforming, while a win would equal their best points tally in the previous ten seasons.

Speaking to the Halifax Courier, the boss said: “I honestly don’t feel that there’s any pressure on us, I feel that we’ve just got to keep going,” Wild said.

“The only pressure is what people try to create outside to try and put us under pressure, I don’t feel a pressure and the players hopefully don’t feel a pressure.

“All they need to do is play the game and not the result, just worry about Yeovil on Saturday, don’t worry about what happens on Monday, don’t worry about what happens next Saturday, just play the game.

Having lost at home to Maidenhead United on the opening day of the season, only promotion-chasing Wrexham and Boreham Wood (before their FA Cup run scuppered them) have won at The Shay in National League action this season.

Last time out in front of their own fans they picked up a 2-0 win over fellow promotion chasers Chesterfield with one Matt Warburton on target.

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Shaymen boss Pete Wild is expecting more of what he and his side experienced when Yeovil came out on top at Huish Park back in September, despite the change of manager from Darren Sarll to Charlie Lee.

He told the Halifax Courier: “Yeovil are off the back of an excellent win on Saturday, I know Charlie tried to keep a lot of the same traits Darren  had and keep a lot of things going.

“I’d expect a team that’s like Charlie as a player, full of tenacity, full of energy, full of drive, wants to get in your faces and make it difficult for us, exactly what they did to Stockport last Saturday.

I’d expect a lot of that on Saturday because that’s a reflection of Charlie as a person and a footballer, so I’d expect more of what Southend gave us last Saturday.


TEAM NEWS

Former Glovers’ defender Tom Bradbury will be missing this weekend after picking up a knee injury on Easter Monday.

The centre half, who moved to West Yorkshire following his release from Huish Park in the summer of 2020, had been expected to be out for six weeks but may be back in time for the club’s play-off campaign.

Fellow defender Niall Maher, whose foul on Tom Knowles gave the Glovers a penalty in the reverse fixture, is also a doubt after suffering a hip injury in the loss at Southend.

On loan Pierce Bird, who joined from National League strugglers King’s Lynn last month, could be an option at the back.

Winger Jamie Allen is expected to be missing with a hamstring strain, but midfielder Martin Woods, who had a three game loan spell at Yeovil in 2008, returns after suspension.

 


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Matt Warburton is the obvious link between these two sides and is showing the class which Yeovil Town supporters saw far too little of during his time at Huish Park.

Ex-Glovers’ midfielder Matt Warburton jumps for a ball with former Halifax favourite Josh Staunton in the reverse fixture at Huish Park in September.

The midfielder has formed an impressive partnership alongside Jordan Slew and Billy Waters in the Halifax front line and will be looking to show his old employers what they missed this weekend.

The 29-year-old joined on loan from Northampton Town in October 2020 and was with Yeovil until the end of last season, but only made 19 appearances. Following his return to Northampton he was released and returned to the North joining Halifax in the summer.

Tom Bradbury is another familiar face having spent the 2019-20 season at Yeovil but he seems likely to miss out with a knee injury this weekend, but Shaymen midfielder Martin Woods, who had a spell on loan at Yeovil in 2008, could feature having returned from suspension.

In the Glovers’ squad, injured midfielder Josh Staunton was a popular figure in West Yorkshire before moving to South Somerset last season. He will be missing having just undergone surgery on a groin hernia.

Over the Easter period, Yeovil Town struggled against two sides – Aldershot Town and W*ymouth – who were in in poor runs of form.

They will have no such problems against a Stockport County side who have lost just twice since the middle of December and in the process picked up 22 victories.

In an epic exercise of clutching at straws, you could look at it that the Hatters have lost their last two matches away from Edgeley Park, a 2-0 defeat in the FA Trophy at fellow big spenders Wrexham and then a Good Friday loss at Grimsby Town where they played the final 55 minutes with ten men.

Myles Hippolyte in action for Yeovil Town. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Make no mistake, this is a very different team to the one which Yeovil turned over 3-0 at Edgeley Park. That performance was played under former boss Simon Rusk and since he was replaced by Dave Challinor in November, Stockport have looked unstoppable.

Their expensively assembled squad boast a frightening array of talent with no less than ex-Glovers’ hero Paddy Madden and Scott Quigley, top scorer for Barrow when they won this division two seasons ago, up front and another former Huish Park favourite Courtney Duffus unable to even make the bench.

They have added to an already strong squad with the signings of players including winger Myles Hippolyte, who played for Yeovil in the 2019-20 season.

Defensively they look strong as well having kept clean sheets in five of their last six games with captain Liam Hogan and Ash Palmer, who saw red in the reverse fixture in September, looking solid.

So, yeah, nothing to worry about.

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Boss Dave Challinor has targeted winning four wins out of their remaining six National League game to clinch the title and is aiming for one of them at the weekend.

Speaking after last weekend’s 1-0 win over Solihull Moors, he said: “Four wins is unassailable out of six. I’ll not say I will take three because that would not be enough – although I would take three if one of them with Wrexham because then they can’t catch us.

“We’ve just got to focus on Yeovil which is a tough place to go against a team which still has pride to play for in front of their own fans.

“They won’t want to lose the game so we have to make sure we are right and we do what we can to win the match.”


TEAM NEWS

Winger Antoni Sarcevic will be the biggest absentee for Stockport County this weekend.

The Manchester-born player joined on a free transfer in October after falling out with Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt and has been a regular starter since arriving.

He is serving the second game of a three-match suspension for a red card picked up in the Good Friday defeat at Grimsby Town.

Defender Liam Hogan went off injured with a “contact injury” against Solihull Moors last weekend, but boss Dave Challinor expected his skipper to be available.

 


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

If you don’t know the answer to this one – where have you been?! Mr Patrick Madden is a centre forward presently earning his trade at Stockport, having written his name in to footballing folklore in South Somerset.

24 goals in 42 games for the Glovers on the way to promotion to the Championship in the 2012-13 season – including a decent hit in the play-off final at Wembley that year – guarantee the Irishman a good reception from the home faithful. Just please don’t score, Paddy.

Another recent addition to the ranks at Edgeley Park is Myles Hippolyte. The winger joined from League Two (soon to be National League) outfit Scunthorpe United at the end of January and has made 13 appearances, scoring three goals including two in his last four. He was part of Darren Sarll’s first squad in 2019-20, making 34 appearances before moving to Scunthorpe.

Another member of the 19-20 squad, Courtney Duffus is another ex-Glover in the visitors’ squad having joined on loan from Morecambe, but such is the strength of the Hatters’ frontline that he is yet to make an appearance.

Winger Ben Whitfield, who joined from Torquay United in the summer, is missing through injury. He played more than 40 times in the 2016-17.

Then, in no particular order, other players who have a foot in both camps include:

  • Matt Warburton
  • Phil Jevons
  • David Poole
  • Andy Welsh
  • Joe Edwards

There’s probably more, but that’s enough to be getting on with.

The statistics make grim reading for W*ymouth going in to the Easter Monday visit from their old rivals across the border.

The Good Friday defeat at Maidenhead United stretched the Terras’ winless run to eight games and means boss David Oldfield has just one win from 16 games.

They have also not scored in seven of their last eight matches with their only goals coming in 3-2 defeat at Wealdstone.

Only already relegated Dover Athletic have scored fewer fewer goals (32 to their 31) while their have conceded the fourth most goals with the two they let in against Maidenhead taking them to 71 conceded. Only Dover (85), Barnet (76) and King’s Lynn (72) have let in more.

Oldfield said “In my mind, it’s the next game so it looms right into focus in terms of the importance.

“Obviously, for everybody involved it’s a derby game which is fantastic and we need to make sure we’re looking forward to that.

“But in terms of the reality of the situation it is our next game. We need to get ourselves ready to fight as much as we can.

“We’re aware how big the game is and we need to make sure we look after our supporters as much as we can with a performance that does ourselves justice.”

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Following the defeat at Maidenhead United on Good Friday, Terras’ boss David Oldfield admitted his side were now facing an uphill battle to survive, he told the Dorset Echo: “We knew how difficult the task was when I first came in to the group. I haven’t managed to affect the results enough, that’s absolutely plain and clear.

“Whatever happens now is a moot point, we can’t control anything but ourselves. For us to perform as we did is another missed opportunity and a reality check about exactly where we are.

“I can’t comment on other teams, we have to take responsibility, keep working and fighting until the very last kick of the season.”

 


TEAM NEWS

W*ymouth captain and striker Josh McQuoid is back after serving a two-match suspension.

But winger Tom Blair, who had a trial with Yeovil in the summer of 2021, will miss out serving the final match of a four-game suspension.

Midfielders Ollie Harfield and Omar Mussa are both doubts through injury.

Both Andreas Robinson returned after a foot injury on Good Friday and Xander McBurnie played the full 90 minutes against Maidenhead.

Josh Leslie-Smith (head) and striker Martell Taylor-Crossdale (knee) continue to be assessed.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

With the geographical location of both teams, there are a lot of players who have seen service with both these clubs.

However, the only one who is likely to feature in the latest meeting of Somerset-verus-Dorset is Brandon Goodship.

The striker played eight times for Darren Way’s Yeovil in 2017, scoring a crucial goal in a 1-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge which helped keep us in the League.

He was released at the end of that campaign and dropped down to the Wessex Stadium where he scored 38 goals in his first season and 39 in his second campaign in the Southern League Premier earning him a move in to the Football League at Southend United.

Despite making more than 50 appearances for the Shrimpers, he was released following their relegation to non-League and returned to W*ymouth last summer.

Goodship has been a regular starter for the Terras in recent weeks and would be expected to feature against one of his former clubs.

Barnet boss Dean Brennan is expecting to be without a number of players when they welcome Yeovil Town to The Hive tomorrow.

The manager was not giving away an names when he spoke ahead of the National League fixture, but he did speak (repeatedly) about his frustration at the capacity of the club’s treatment room.

He said described his players resilience to injury as “rubbish” which is something the Yeovil Town squad can relate too from last season.

Brennan said: “I can’t have this amount of players in the treatment room, it just can’t go on and we need to find a solution quickly.

“The recovery and where we are getting injuries is something we have to look at.

“In 11 years in management I have never known anything like this and, as a club, we need to change this.”

Despite this apparent issue, the Bees go in to the weekend off the back of decent run of three wins in their last five National League fixtures.

Their 2-1 win at Maidenhead United last weekend puts them eighth in the form table over the last six matches, with Yeovil in 11th having picked up nine points from a possible nine.

The wins including a 6-0 spanking of bottom club Dover and an impressive home win over high-flying Boreham Wood albeit they lost last time out on home soil going down 2-0 against Woking.

Prior to that run, the Bees had picked up just one win since the start of December with a run of eight defeats and four draws which began when Adi Yussuf’s early goal saw them go down 1-0 at Huish Park on December 11.

Barnet’s Ephron Mason-Clark is shown a red card at Huish Park in December.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Ephron Mason-Clark, who was red carded for a headbutt in the closing stages of that match, is a man in form.

He scored the winner in the 1-0 win over Boreham Wood and was outstanding against Maidenhead last weekend.

Adam Marriott, who missed the defeat at Huish Park to attend the birth of his child, was on the scoresheet last weekend and has six goals in his last ten outings.

He scored a late equaliser for King’s Lynn Town as they nicked a point off Yeovil on the opening day of the 2020-21 season.


FROM THE MANAGER

Bees’ boss Dean Brennan is still expecting a tough game from Yeovil Town even after the departure of his “good friend” Darren Sarll from the Huish Park hot-seat.

Speaking ahead of the game, he said: “They like to play a diamond and 4-4-2 in recent weeks.

“They have loads of pace and creativity in midfield, experience with (Luke) Wilkinson at the back who is a good organiser and Charlie Lee who has stepped in knows this level inside out.


“So we are still expecting a very tough game, they have good players and have done very w
ell with everything that is going on in the background of their club this year.”


TEAM NEWS

Despite the best efforts of the interviewer for the Barnet YouTube channel, boss Dean Brennan was not giving away any details about which members of his squad he is expecting to be without.

But, as you can read above, the fact he will not be able to field the same time he did seven days ago is a cause of great annoyance.

Winger Ephron Mason-Clark and midfielder Sam Beard both appeared as substitutes for England C in their 4-0 defeat to their Wales counterparts in midweek.


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

The last connection between these two clubs that we can think of, former Glovers’ youth team product Mitch Brundle left the Bees by mutual consent in January.

The midfielder has linked up with Southern League side Farnborough so, as far as we can tell, there’s no-one in the either squad with a foot in both camps.

If we’re not allowed to have Jordan Barnett as a connection, then a few other players  who have a foot in both camps include:

  • Mitch Brundle – Yeovil Town (2012-13), Barnet (2021-22)
  • Scott Loach – Yeovil Town (2015), Barnet (2019-2021)
  • Ben Nugent – Yeovil Town (2014-15), Barnet (2020-21)
  • Sam Hoskins – Yeovil Town (2013-2015), Barnet – loan (2014)
  • Keanu Marsh-Brown – Yeovil Town (2012-13), Barnet (2013-15)
  • Iffy Allen – Barnet (2012-15), Yeovil Town (2015-16)
  • Dean Parrett – Yeovil Town (2012), Barnet (2020-21)
  • Bondz N’Gala – Yeovil Town (2011-12), Barnet(2014-16)
  • Izale McLeod – Barnet (2010-2012), Yeovil Town (2016)
  • Sam Cowler – Yeovil Town – loan (2012), Barnet (2012-13, 2014-15)
  • Giuliano Grazioli – Yeovil Town (1995), Barnet (2003-2008)

It was a 2-1 win over Yeovil Town in Essex back in January which kick-started an amazing run of form for Southend United.

Relegated out of the Football League last May, the Shrimpers had been expected to compete having brought in some experienced professionals in the summer.

Unfortunately, they were being managed by Phil Brown, a man with a far from impressive managerial record, and during the first half of the season they managed just four National League wins with 11 defeats.

The dismissal of Brown at the start of October saw former player Kevin Maher brought in as part of a management team which includes former Barnet manager Darren Currie and despite not making an immediate impact, they built up a head of steam by the time Yeovil came to town.

Since that night they have won seven, drawn four and lost three in the league and rocketed from the relegation zone to a comfortable 12th, one place ahead of Yeovil going in to the weekend.

Maher was busy on the final day of National League clubs being able to register players on Thursday.

He brought in centre half Joe Gubbins on loan from Championship QPR and Dagenham & Redbridge defender Kenny Clark, both of whom will spend the rest of the season on loan in Esssex.

The pair could be in line for a start at Huish Park with ex-Glover Nathan Ralph, who has been playing in the middle of defence, out for six weeks with a thigh injury and Polish defende Kacper Łopata having been recalled by Sheffield United.

Maher said: “With the players we’ve lost it meant we wanted to add a couple in that area. We want to keep pushing and finish the season strongly by winning as many games as we can so I’m pleased we’ve been able to sign two and I’m grateful to the club for allowing us to do that.

If there’s a positive to be had from Southend’s form it is that they have lost twice in their last three with a 3-0 home defeat to Dagenham and a 2-1 loss at Maidenehead on Tuesday night sandwiching a 2-0 win over Altrincham.


FROM THE GOALKEEPER

Southend goalkeeper Steve Arnold believes his team-mates should not be too downhearted by the midweek defeat at Maidenhead United.

Speaking to the Southend Echo, he said: “If you had offered us where we are now when the manager came in we would’ve done anything for that.

“We do need a sense of perspective but at the same time we don’t want to take our foot off the gas so to speak.

“We’ll take it one game at a time but we’ve got to keep positive.

Of the trip to Somerset this weekend, the former Forest Green Rovers shot-stopper said: “It’s a game we’re looking to go and win like we do every week. They’re another team in the way of what we want to do as well so we’ll go there looking for three points.”

 


TEAM NEWS

The transfer deadline day arrivals of QPR youngster Joe Gubbins and experienced Dagenham centre half Kenny Clark give Southend options at the back.

They recently lost Kacper Lopata who was recalled by Sheffield United and ex-Glovers’ defender Nathan Ralph through injury, the Shrimpers moved to bolster their back line.

Both will be in with a chance of starting at Huish Park, however, there will be no place for experienced midfielder James Dunne, sent off in the 2-1 defeat at Maidenehead United on Tuesday night.

Also missing will be former Yeovil striker Rhys Murphy and fellow frontman Simeon Akinola who both have knee injuries and midfielder Abu Ogogo who has a heart issue.

Striker Harry Cardwell returned to training this week having been missing for the past month with a hamstring problem, and could be in contention.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

The obvious link between these two sides is Rhys Murphy, who topped the scoring charts in the green-and-white of Yeovil Town for the past two seasons and is doing the same at Southend United.

Sadly, as mentioned above, there’s no change of the bagsman coming back to haunt his old employers having suffered yet another major injury, ironically in the Glovers’ 2-1 defeat at Roots’ Hall earlier this year.

You do have to wonder what kind of a career he could have had if it weren’t for such a bad injury record.

Another familiar face out of the reckoning is defender Nathan Ralph, who was part of the Yeovil side which was promoted to the Championship in 2013.

He has been impressing as a left-sided central defender – he’s not that tall, but he can’t half jump – for the Shrimpers this season but, see Team News, he’s out for the next six weeks with a thigh injury.

Other players with a foot in both camps include:

  • Jordan Green – Yeovil Town (2017-19), Southend United (2020 – loan)
  • Brandon Goodship – Yeovil Town (2016 – loan, 2016), Southend United (2019-21)
  • Jakub Sokolik – Southend United (2014 – loan, 2016), Yeovil Town (2014-16)
  • Craig Calver – Southend United (2009-10), Yeovil Town (2010-11)
  • Scott Spencer – Yeovil Town (2008 – loan), Southend United (2010-11)
  • Wayne Gray – Southend United (2004-06), Yeovil Town (2006-07)
  • Matt Harrold – Southend United (2001-02, 2006-08), Yeovil Town (2005-06)
  • Barrington Belgrave – Yeovil Town (2000-01), Southend United (2001-2003)
  • Gareth Risbridger – Yeovil Town (1998-2001), Southend United (2001-02)
  • Ben Smith – Yeovil Town (1998-2001), Southend United (2001-02)
  • David Webb – Southend United – manager (1986-87, 1988-82, 2000-01, 2010), Yeovil Town (2000)

Yeovil Town return to Huish Park following their first league win in ten on Saturday and welcome play-off chasing Bromley to town on Tuesday night.

The Glovers overcame Dover Athletic 2-0 at the weekend with goals from Ben Barclay and Dale Gorman whilst Bromley were holding the Hollywood boys of Wrexham to a goalless draw.

In terms of stats, Bromley’s form isn’t actually that good, draws against ten-man Torquay and Weymouth were sandwiched inbetween defeats at the hands of Stockport and Halifax.

They are still in the FA Trophy with their semi-final against York City scheduled for early April and currently sit 9th in the table, four points behind Notts County in 7th and 11 points ahead of the Glovers.

Yeovil won the reverse fixture 2-1 back in late November as part of that incredible run which had us all dreaming of our own crack at the top seven for a while; goals from Tom Knowles and Charlie Wakefield either side of a Michael Cheek penalty bringing all three points back to Somerset.

On that day, the Glovers could only name four subs including goalie Max Evans and youth prospect Ollie Haste.

Dan Moss (loan ended), Grant Smith and Luke Wilkinson (both injured) were all part of that impressive back line on the day and will all be missing this time around.

Since that game in November, the Ravens have added James Vennings, a young midfielder on loan from Charlton and Ali Al-Hamadi on a temporary deal from Wycombe, he will be expecting to start a third successive game alongside Michael Cheek in attack.

They could also have a new goalkeeper with on loan Brentford stopper Ellery Balcombe between the sticks, regular ‘keeper Mark Cousins hasn’t featured since the draw with Weymouth back in February.

FROM THE MANAGER

Bromley manager Andy Woodman is not expecting an easy game against Yeovil Town

Asked about the trip to the Glovers after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Wrexham, he said:

“We have got to build on this (result v Wrexham) now, that’s the real important thing, a clean sheet against Wrexham, a good performance against Halifax although we didn’t get the result, we have got to keep plugging away at this stage of the season”

It wont be easy, I don’t think any game is easy, we are all seeing that, we will prepare for that one and hopefully we can come back with the points”


TEAM NEWS

Michael Cheek will almost certainly lead the line for the Ravens, with three goals in his last three games against the Glovers he’ll be hoping for more of the same.

Former Glovers captain Omar Sowunmi hasn’t featured in either of the last two Bromley games.

 


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Two former Glovers defenders are currently in the Bromley squad, Wembley hero Byron Webster and Omar Sowunmi

Defender Omar Sowumni.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The giant 26-year-old defender spent four years at Huish Park having been signed from from Lowestoft Town by Paul Sturrock who infamously said he believed he could make the ex-Ipswich Town striker “the next Kenwyne Jones”.

Suffice to say, despite some impressive performances, Omar’s time at Huish Park will be remembered for captaining the side which whimpered out of the Football League in 2018-19.

In the Yeovil Town camp, Charlie Wakefield will be looking to show his old employers what they have missed out on.

The former Chelsea youngster was released by Bromley in the summer having made just four starts after joining in January last season.

Other players with a foot in both camps include Courtney Duffus, who it appears did not appeal to Woodman having been ignored for much of last season and then shipped out to Morecambe.

Winger Iffy Allen is another, having had a pretty iffy 12 match spell at Huish Park in 2015-16, before spending the 2017-18 campaign at Bromley.

There’s certainly never a dull moment being a Chesterfield (Cashterfield?) supporter this season.

After Chief Executive John Croot predicted the global pandemic and bought an insurance policy which paid the type of finance to bankroll a string of big money signings, the Spireites looked unstoppable for the first half of this season.

Up until a 3-2 defeat at Maidenhead United in mid-January, they had won 13 National League matches, made the third round of the FA Cup and had a striker in Kabongo Tshimanga who literally could not stop scoring.

But, that loss in Berkshire is where things started to go wrong. Having lost that match, then-manager James Rowe signed Yeovil’s top-scorer Joe Quigley (it’s still our fault he left by the way, Glovers’ fans) and he played in a goalless draw at home to Aldershot Town which followed.

Joe Quigley, still our top-scorer with seven goals for Yeovil this season.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz,

Poor old Joe, the following Monday, the manager who signed him had been suspended amid allegations of misconduct which led to him being dismissed and former Glovers’ player Danny Webb was placed in charge.

To be fair to Webb, who had a fairly anonymous spell on the Huish Park staff, he picked up two wins and a draw (the latter coming against fellow big spenders, $tockport County) before he was replaced by Paul Cook, a legend in the Peak District having managed the club out of League Two in 2014.

But, in his first game in charge, Tshimanga suffered a horrific leg break down at W*ymouth in a match they drew thanks to a late equaliser and then last weekend midfielder Jak McCourt was stretchered off in the 3-2 home defeat to Solihull Moors and is out for the season.

They followed that up with the defeat at home to Wrexham on Tuesday night, after which, Cook said: “At the minute with suspensions and injuries, it’s horrific but we can’t make excuses, we can’t think we’re not where we want to be.

“That disappointment must be felt and we’re feeling it at the minute, but that’s the thing that drives you on to be more successful.

“We’ve had a really good season to date and won a lot of football games, but at the moment it’s not going for us and we’ve got to take that medicine and get better.”

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Speaking after the midweek defeat against fellow big-spenders Wrexham, Chesterfield manager Paul Cook called on the club’s fans to stick with the team:

We’re a little bit of a blip and, when you are going through it like we are, if you don’t take your chances, it will come back to bite you and it did tonight.

“It’s a tough league and at the moment we’re feeling a bit flattened out, my job is to lift the players and make sure we don’t feel the same going in to the next few games.

“Our fans know what we are going through behind-the-scenes, that is obvious, we are going through a bit of pain and we need to stick together to make sure that pain goes away.

In front of the BT Sport cameras, Cook said the weekend’s game gives his side an opportunity to bounce back from a recent run of poor form:

It’s a big opportunity for us in front of the cameras (against Yeovil) and then we have Notts County and Southend, they’re all good games for us.

“If we want to be in that shake up at the end of the season, we must win games so the next game is a big one.

 


TEAM NEWS

Injuries and suspensions? There’s quite a number at Technique Stadium, Chesterfield. It is probably simplest to list them out…..

Defenders

Gavin Gunning – missing since the FA Cup third round tie at Chelsea on January 8 with a shin and calf injury, thought to be approaching fitness.
Luke Croll – suffered a knee injury in the draw with Stockport, not expected to return until towards the end of this season.
Haydn Hollis – injured his Achilles and is out for the season.

Midfielders

George Carline – last season’s player of the year suffered a bad injury in October and seems likely to be out for the season.
Manny Oyeleke – looked superb against us at Huish Park but out for four to six weeks with a torn calf.
Jak McCourt – suffered serious ligament damage in last weekend’s home defeat to Solihull Moors, will be unavailable.
Jack Clarke – former Yeovil loanee out for the season with a hamstring injury.
Curtis Weston – suspended for a red card against Solihull

Strikers

Kabongo Tshimanga – suffered a broken leg and a dislocated ankle in the draw at W*ymouth earlier this month.
Danny Rowe – not featured since October due to an ongoing “health issue”.

But, in better news for our hosts this weekend, right wing-back Jeff King is back after serving his suspension for a red card at Stockport, and striker Tom Denton and midfielder Joe Rowley both impressed Cook having come off the substitutes’ bench in midweek.

Denton scored Chesterfield’s winner in the days before their money at Huish Park last season, whilst Rowley impressed whilst on loan at King’s Lynn Town in their  opening day win over the Glovers.


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

If a few weeks ago you had asked us to name two ex-players who we were fearful of facing for Chesterfield, midfielder Tom Whelan and (still) our top-scorer Joe Quigley would not have been our first picks.

More likely we’d have gone for free-scoring striker Kabongo Tshimanga, who probably does look back on his time at Huish Park with a great deal of fondness, and one-time loanee Jack Clarke, who was awful in green and white but impressed in the blue of Chesterfield.

The latter two are injured, but the former two seem likely to be among those we face on Saturday. Whelan is facing us for the third time having played against us twice for Eastleigh this season and is undoubtedly a talented playmaker, whilst Quigley has suffered a torrid time since moving north but remains our top-scorer.

Goalkeeper Scott Loach is the other player expected to be in the visitors’ starting XI who has been in both camps is goalkeeper Scott Loach, who played six times during a one-month loan spell at Huish Park in 2015.

In the Yeovil side of the pitch, Glovers’ keeper Grant Smith and striker Adi Yussuf both turned out for the visitors’ last season.

Smith played 18 times after joining Chesterfield in the second half of last season, whilst Yussuf scored twice in a 10-game spell on loan at Chesterfield whilst a Blackpool player last season.

Going back even further, Glovers’ full-back Mark Little had a spell on loan at Chesterfield from Wolves in 2009-10.

Even Chesterfield first-team coach Danny Webb has Yeovil Town connections after following his dad, former Glovers’ manager and owner David, to the club. He played seven times in a couple of years at Huish Park, but failed to score.

As ever, there’s a fair list of players who have done time with both clubs, so we’ve stuck with the ones who will have some involvement this weekend, here’s a few others:

  • Mike Hughes
  • Daniel Johnson
  • Marc Richards
  • Nathan Smith
  • Terrell Forbes
  • Martin Gritton
  • Adam Rooney

There’s probably more, but that’s enough to be getting on with.

Do not be fooled by Maidenhead United’s lowly league position, they are a force to be reckoned with on home soil.

The 2-0 win over Boreham Wood in Saturday’s televised game was the latest over the National League’s promotion contenders.

Chesterfield, FC Halifax, Wrexham and Bromley are the other big guns who have come unstuck at York Road.

Their home form puts Maidenhead fifth in the National League form table over the past six matches, but in more positive news for 13th-placed Yeovil is that their opponents on Tuesday night had only won twice at home against teams in the bottom half. That includes beating Dover in the second game of the season.

It is their away form which is to blame for the Magpies’ league position, one place above the relegation zone, albeit nine points ahead of W*ymouth with games in hand.

In fact, their form over the last six puts them seventh in the division’s form table, ahead of Chesterfield, Wrexham and Notts County.

The win over Boreham Wood was the Magpies’ first in a fortnight after their match at Wealdstone was rained off the week before, with many of their part-time players having made significant journeys.

They now face a fairly brutal spell of two games a week as they look to catch up on a number of cancelled fixtures.

Josh Kelly will be one to watch for the home side. He scored his eighth of the season to open the scoring against Boreham Wood on BT Sport,

The tricky, speedy wide player was paired alongside for Torquay United man Nathan Blissett, who adds a more physical element to the Maidenhead attack.

 


FROM THE (ASSISTANT) MANAGER

Speaking after the 2-0 home win over Boreham Wood, assistant manager Ryan Peters said the Magpies needed to quickly focus on the visit of the Glovers.

He said: “It is going to be Saturday and then Tuesday for a good few weeks now, but once we get to Monday, this game is over for us and our attention shifts to the next one (against Yeovil).

”We have to keep picking up points to make sure we are as far away from those relegation places as possible, but if we carry on playing the way we did (against Boreham Wood).


TEAM NEWS

Striker Sam Barratt is the only injury absentee for Maidenhead.

The frontman, who has five goals in 14 appearances, had surgery which kept him out from November.

He started his first game in a 2-2 draw with Eastleigh a couple of weeks ago, playing 73 minutes, but missed out at the weekend with manager Alan Devonshire saying he is not quite fit.

The boss told the Maidenhead Advertiser: “Sam just keeps getting little niggles and when you’ve had a major operation it puts pressure on other parts of your body so we’re not going to take any chances with him.

Midfielder Kane Ferdinand, cousin of Les, Rio and Anton, returned after a six-week absence to appear as a late substitute at the weekend.

Luton Town loanee Sam Beckwith also played the full 90 minutes against Boreham Wood having missed the previous match through injury.


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Shaun Donnellan came off the substitutes’ bench in the 2-0 win over Boreham Wood at the weekend.

Shaun Donnellan. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The defender had a one-year spell at Huish Park between January 2018 and January 2019 before being allowed to leave.

He arrived at Maidenhead in summer 2020 having had spells at Maidstone United and Woking and has been in and out of the Magpies’ side this season.

Donnellan’s uncle, Gary, played for Yeovil in the late 1980s.

Other players with connections with both clubs include….

  • Rohan Ince – Yeovil Town – loan (2012), Maidenhead United (2020-21)
  • Gabriel Osho – Maidenhead United – loan (2018), Yeovil Town – loan (2018-21)
  • Ryan Bird – Yeovil Town (2015-16), Maidenhead United (2018-19)
  • Seth Nana Twumasi – Yeovil Town (2013-15), Maidenhead United (2018-21)
  • Chris Dunn – Yeovil Town (2013-14), Maidenhead United (2019-21).

Angelo Balanta in his loan spell at Yeovil Town in 2013. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Former Yeovil Town man Angelo Balanta is hoping success in the FA Trophy can spur his Dagenham & Redbridge team-mates on this weekend.

The Colombian seems likely to be missing this weekend as he makes his way back from a calf injury, but did tune in for their 2-0 win over Spennymoor United to book a quarter-final place last weekend.

The result was overshadow by a horrific injury to young winger George Saunders who suffered a double leg break, but Balanta hopes the result will pick up the Daggers who had lost their previous two league fixtures.

He said: “I watched the game on a stream and it was pleasing to get through to the next round, but devastating for George (Saunders) getting injured.

“Any team coming to our turf is a very good draw for us. We fancy our chances at home but York will pose a different challenge.

“Yeovil will be tough. They’re below us in the table but they gave us a good contest and made it tough for us.
“They’re very resilient the way they go about their business and defend their goal really well.

“I think it will be similar but we’ve got to do what we’ve been doing, performing well and hopefully get the result.

In the League, our visitors have lost three and won one of their last four albeit the defeats came at home to leaders $tockport County and promotion-chasing FC Halifax Town and then on the road at Chesterfield in their last outing on February 5.

The victory came with a 2-1 win at W*ymouth after goals from strikers Josh Walker and Paul McCallum saw them come back from trailing at half-time.

Walker missed the reverse fixture in Essex in November through injury having had a prolific start to the season.

Ominously, he has got five in his last seven with both he and McCallum on the scoresheet last weekend.


FROM THE MANAGER

Daggers’ boss Daryl McMahon admitted the serious injury to winger George Saunders in last weekend’s FA Trophy win over Spennymoor United did affect his players.

But, having reported that the youngster had a successful injury on a double leg break, the squad has been able to focus on the weekend’s National League fixture.

The boss said: “It has obviously difficult after what happened Saturday with Georgie, but since we’ve had the good news in terms of his operation, the lads have been great in training.”

The manager has a lot of respect for his opposite number, Yeovil Town boss Darren Sarll, and is expecting a tough game in the anticipated difficult conditions of a wind-lashed Huish Park.

He added: “Darren has done a terrific job down there. We know it’ll be difficult when we play against Yeovil. They’re well organised, competitive.

The weather looks like it might be a challenge, looking at the forecast, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.

We feel that we’re in decent form, we had a bit of good luck last weekend, getting bodies back as well, we feel like we’re looking forward to the run-in now.”

 


TEAM NEWS

Former Yeovil Town loanee Angelo Balanta is expected to be missing for the trip to face his old club.

The Dagenham winger, who had a six-game loan spell at Huish Park during the League One play-off-winning season in 2012-13, has not featured since a win at W*ymouth at the end of last month with a calf injury.

Boss Daryl McMahon said the Colombian is still expected to be out this weekend, but he is expecting experienced heads Matt Robinson and Dean Rance to be available despite carrying injuries.

Mauro Vilhete has returned to training this week alongside winger Myles Weston, who caused Yeovil’s defence all kinds of issues in the match at Victoria Road in November, is back after a spell with COVID.

Alongside winger George Saunders, who is out for the season having suffered a double leg break last weekend, the Daggers’ most high-profile absentee is defender Yoan Zouma.

The Frenchman has been suspended from playing whilst the RSPCA conducts an investigation in to an attack on a pet cat by his brother, West Ham United defender, Kurt, which was filmed by Yoan and posted on social media.

The Premier League player was seen kicking and slapping two pet cats in the video posted by Yoan at the start of this month and the Daggers responded quickly by suspending their player.

 


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Yeovil Town captain Luke Wilkinson and midfielder Josh Staunton seems likely to be the only players with experience of playing for both sides starting this weekend.

The central defender played 65 times for Dagenham following his release by Portsmouth in 2010.

He had a couple of spells on loan at Boreham Wood and one at Dartford during his time at Victoria Road before departing for Luton Town in 2014.

Staunton arrived in Essex following his release by Gillingham in the summer of 2016 and made 37 appearances as they reached the Conference play-offs missing out to eventual winners Forest Green Rovers.

Despite playing in most positions in defence, Staunton was allowed to leave and joined Woking for the following season and then moved to FC Halifax Town from whom he joined Yeovil in summer 2020.

Another possibility in the green-and-white corner is Lawson D’Ath, the playmaker working his way back to fitness after nine months out through injury.

He had a 21-game spell on loan in Essex in the 2013-14 season.

Likely to be missing through injury is the visitors’ talismanic forward Angelo Balanta who was an unused substitute in Yeovil’s 2-1 League One play-off final win over Brentford which secured promotion to the Championship in 2013.

If you’ve not heard it, check out our podcast with former Yeovil Town press officer Jimmy Healey for a great story about Balanta’s celebration – here.

The Colombian had a spell at Bristol Rovers, helping them out of the Football Conference in 2015, before moving to Carlisle United, Boreham Wood and eventually arriving at Dagenham in October 2018.

There is a possibility of seeing ex-Glovers’ midfielder Joey Jones who played the first half against Spennymoor last weekend before being replaced at half-time.

He spent his youth career at Arsenal and Leicester but having signed for Yeovil in 2013 after playing in a behind-closed-doors friendly he failed to make an appearance.

In January 2014, he was loaned out to Woking who he eventually joined permanently at the end of the season and when on to play 162 times for the Cards.

He arrived at Victoria Road, via Eastleigh and Salford City, in November 2020.

Other familiar faces to both sets of supporters include….

  • Rhys Murphy – Dagenham (2013-15), Yeovil Town (2019-21)
  • Mitch Brundle – Yeovil Town (2012-13), Dagenham (2019-21)
  • Jake Howells – Yeovil Town – loan (2015), Dagenham (2017-18)
  • Gavin Tomlin – Yeovil Town (2008-10), Dagenham (2010-12)
  • Matt Harrold – Dagenham – loan (2004-05), Yeovil Town (2005-06)
  • Kirk Jackson – Yeovil Town (2002-04), Dagenham – loan (2004)
  • Paul Terry – Dagenham (1999-2003), Yeovil Town (2003-07)

 

There’s no real rush to get a new manager in at tomorrow’s opponents Eastleigh.

The Spitfires parted company with Ben Strevens following an embarrassing 1-0 defeat at the National League’s whipping boys Dover Athletic – *cough* who we drew at home with *cough* – at the end of January.

His assistant Jason Bristow has been placed in interim charge which is expected to run until the end of the season with the club unlikely to challenge for the play-offs or get sucked in to a relegation scrap.

They head in to match with Yeovil on the back of six matches without a win since their 3-2 win at home to W*ymouth at the end of December.

But, five of their last six have come away from home with their only defeat on home soil coming virtue of an 89th-minute winner from Chesterfield a couple of weeks ago.

Under Bristow, they did manage to stem the tide of defeats with a 2-2 draw away at Maidenhead United last weekend conceding a late equaliser having led with 11 minutes to go.

The big news in recent weeks has been the signing of a South Coast legend in former AFC Bournemouth and Portsmouth striker Brett Pittman.

The 34-year-old joined on loan from Bristol Rovers until the end of the season having netted four times in 16 League two matches. He played 63 minutes at Maidenhead.

Eastleigh are looking to Pittman to replace the goals left by the departure of Ben House who joined League One side Lincoln City on transfer deadline day.


FROM THE MANAGER

Speaking after seeing his side concede a late equaliser to settle for a point at Maidenhead United last weekend, interim boss Jason Bristow was full of praise for his players.

He said he was “really frustrated” with the manner of the two goals his side conceded with the 87th-minute equaliser coming from another strike from the edge of the box, a carbon copy of the goal they conceded against Chesterfield the week before. Note to Tom Knowles: If you get a chance to have a dig from the edge of the box – have one!

The boss said: “The lads showed a lot of character, we were 1-0 down and with the exception of the first 10-15 minutes of the second half when they were on top, we played really well.

“We kept the ball well and we were unlucky not to have gone 3-1 up, so it’s disappointing but I’m pleased with the application of the lads.”

Like his Yeovil counterpart Darren Sarll, Bristow says he is looking for more goals from his side having scored 28 in their 25 National League fixtures – two more than Yeovil – who he says the side will pull together to face.

He said: “We have got enough there to see the lads are working hard and trying for the club and each other.

“We’ll come back in on Monday and try and put a plan together to beat Yeovil.

 


TEAM NEWS

Centre back Alex Wynter is a long-term injury absentee having been injured at the end of last season.

The former Crystal Palace player has missed much of the past couple of seasons but was instrumental when Eastleigh reached the play-off semi-finals in 2018-19.

Attacker Sam Smart joined National League South side Havant & Waterlooville on Friday having not featured for the Spitfires for nearly a month.


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Playmaker Tom Whelan and full-back Michael Kelly are the most obvious connection between with hosts this weekend.

Whelan was a regular feature in the first month of Darren Sarll’s time at Huish Park featuring in the first eight matches of the 2019-2020 National League campaign.

But, having seemingly fallen out of favour, he was allowed to leave on loan from Chippenham Town and then W*ymouth in the National League South, eventually being exiled to the Bob Lucas Stadium.

In fairness, in the murky depths of the Dorset coastline he shone and eventually saw sense and moved to the National League paupers of Cashterfield where it is fair to say he tore us a new one in a 3-0 win in Derbyshire last season.

He’s been a regular starter this season alongside full-back Kelly, who filled in at left-back when Carl Dickinson was unavailable for much of last season whilst on loan from Bristol Rovers.

The Scotsman was released by the Gas at the end of last season and arrived on the South Coast in the summer.

He was a regular under Ben Strevens but has not featured since the 1-0 defeat at Dover at the end of last month and was an unused substitute against Maidenhead last weekend.

In the green and white corner, Glovers’ captain Luke Wilkinson and a six-game loan spell at Eastleigh whilst a Portsmouth player back in 2010.

There’s a few other players with connections with both clubs including full-back Joe Tomlinson who played in the youth set up at Huish Park before arriving at Eastleigh via Bognor Regis and Hungerford – what a journey!

He impressed at National League level and made the step up in to the Football League at Peterborough United in the summer.

Christian Maghoma, who had a spell on loan from Tottenham in November 2015 and departed without playing a single game, ended his loan spell at Eastleigh last month and returned to his parent club, Gillingham.

Striker Ryan Bird scored eight times in 36 appearances for Yeovil in the 2015-16 season before moving to Eastleigh where he managed three in 16 the following year.

Other connections include Yemi Odubade, Alefe Santos, Aaron Martin, Marcus Barnes, Alex Lacey, Oscar Gobern, Jake Howells and a striker called Thomas Clarke, the latter having a Wikipedia entry as impressive as his lower league journeyman career.

It has been ten days since Wealdstone kicked a ball in National League anger.

A 2-1 defeat from a long trip to Grimsby Town the weekend before last was their last outing, making it seven defeats in their last nine matches.

For context, those losses have come against some of the division’s toughest oop
with home defeats to $tockport County and FC Halifax Town and losses on the road at Bromley, Boreham Wood and….errr….Woking.

There was also a loss in the FA Trophy away at Needham Market – and we’ve all been there right?!

The points they have picked up have come from a creditable home draw with Notts County and a 2-1 win at home to bottom club Dover Athletic .

Defender Connor Stevens scored our hosts’ winner in that victory, but his form this season saw him join Boreham Wood and make his debut in his new club’s FA Cup giant-killing at AFC Bournemouth at the weekend.

Forward Craig Fasanmade is the other departure since the Stones’ last outing. He joined Hemel Hempstead Town where he had previously been on loan.

But, boss Stuart Maynard has been able to recruit with midfielder Nathan Ferguson joining from National League rivals Southend United, and teenager Aaron Henry coming in on a one-month loan deal from League One side Charlton Athletic.

Ferguson has already tasted success against Yeovil this season having come on as a second half substitute against the Glovers in Southend’s 2-1 win last month.


FROM THE MANAGER

Wealdstone manager Stuart Maynard is hoping the conditions of a midweek match can work in his side’s favour against Yeovil Town.

The Stones have a decent record under the floodlights having only lost twice in midweek, away at Notts County and in their last midweek outing at home to Boreham Wood.

At Grosvenor Vale, they have beaten Grimsby and Dover and drawn with Solihull Moors.

Maynard said: “We try and move the ball quickly and in the day games the pitches can be a bit dry, we don’t have the sprinkler systems set up that other clubs have.

“On a Tuesday, you have a bit of dew and it makes the game higher tempo.

“I know the fans get frustrated about use going round the back, we don’t want to do that slowly, we want to do that quickly to open up an overload against the opposition.

“But at times when the pitch is a bit sticky, the ball travels a bit slower and it allows the opposition to get a bit closer.

“That has probably been the main differences between a Saturday and a Tuesday, that tempo of the game.

 


TEAM NEWS

New signings Nathan Ferguson and Aaron Henry are both in line for their Wealdstone debuts having joined since the Stones’ last outing at Grimsby Town ten days ago.

Midfielder Ferguson has joined from National League rivals Southend United whilst Henry is on a one-month loan deal from Terry Skiverton’s Charlton Athletic – that’s what they call themselves these days, right?

There is a possibility of a return to fitness for former Glovers winger Rhys Browne making a comeback having been out since the end of November with an ankle injury.

Injured defensive pair Jack Cook and Nikola Tavares will have both benefited from the gap in fixtures and could be in contention, but defensive colleague Andrew Eleftheriou is a long-term absentee.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

There will be two very familiar faces in the Yeovil Town squad which arrives at Wealdstone in the form of forwards Charlie Wakefield and Sonny Blu Lo-Everton.

The pair were both on the books at Grosvenor Vale last season with Wakefield starting the season with the Stones with Wakefield playing – and getting booked – in the 2-2 draw at Huish Park at the start of last season.

He departed for full-time football with Bromley last January before being released at the end of the campaign.

Sonny Blu Lo-Everton in action for Wealdstone against Yeovil Town last season.

Sonny played ten times for Wealdstone on loan from his parent club Watford including as an 18th-minute substitute following an injury in Yeovil’s 2-0 win in London last May.

For the hosts, winger Rhys Browne could make it back after two months out with an ankle injury tonight. He played more than 60 times in two years at Huish Park before joining Port Vale in the summer of 2019.

His father, Steve Browne, is another connection having had two spells at both clubs. In green and white he was part of the side which won promotion back to the then-GM Vauxhall Conference under Graham Roberts in 1996-97. In 2017, Steve sadly died after a battle with bowel cancer. He was just 52.

However, the strongest links to these two clubs date back to the late 1980s and early 1990s when Brian Hall was manager at both clubs, bringing a number of players with him.

Hall had led the Stones to the Conference and FA Trophy double in 1985 before taking the move to Huish in January 1987 where he picked up a Yeovil side in the game’s sixth tier.

A team photograph from 1988 showing Brian Hall’s Yeovil Town with a plethora of former Wealdstone players features in the matchday programme for tonight’s game.

The Glovers were beaten to promotion back to the Conference by Wycombe Wanderers in 1987, but won promotion back in Hall’s first full season, switching places with Wealdstone who came down that year.

The success of Yeovil and the demise of Wealdstone was down in no small part to Hall attracting a number of players to join him in Somerset.

Central defenders Neil Cordice and Steve Rutter, the latter who would go on to manage the Glovers, made the move along with full-back Tiv Lowe, Steve Tapley, goalkeeper Bob Iles, and midfielders Gary Donnellan and Andy Wallace.

Hall was sacked after four years and replaced with Clive Whitehead who had an unsuccessful six-month spell before being replaced by Rutter, who was one of a number of ex-Stones who remained in Somerset.

When Rutter left in 1993 his eventual replacement was Hall who brought a number of his old Wealdstone players with him, unfortunately, he could not match the success of his previous spell and lasted just under a year.

If you’re heading to Grosvenor Vale and are interested in the connections between the two clubs – make sure you pick up a copy of the matchday programme which features an interview with Neil Cordice about his time in both camps.

If W*ymouth – who picked up a winning draw at Huish Park in the week if their fans’ reaction is anything to go by – were bang out of form facing Yeovil Town, this weekend’s opponents, Solihull Moors, are bang in form.

In their last four matches, they have P4 W4 D0 L0 and scored 15 goals without reply.

Now, for context, those wins came against National League North side Southport in the FA Trophy and then bottom club Dover Athletic, two late goals at Torquay United and then Altrincham who were down to ten men after 22 minutes, but Neal Ardley’s men arrive in Somerset on the crest of a wave.

A striker who knows a lot about this part of the South West – see below for his manager’s review of the Westcountry – is Andrew Dallas, another player in form.

The former W*ymouth loanee has got 11 goals in his last four games, including all five in the 5-0 win over Dover and a hat-trick against Southport, and alongside him is an experienced head in Danny Newton, a player Glovers’ boss Darren Sarll will know from their time together at Stevenage.

The visitors will be without midfielder Jimmy Ball who made the move in to the Football League with Rochdale on transfer deadline day last week.

Anyone who attended the away game at Damson Parkway may remember him being a booking – it was an ‘orange card’ – for retribution against Tom Knowles, who he presumably blamed for his team-mate Jordan Cranston being unable to keep his hands to himself.

The fact Ardley was substituted Ball minutes after the booking tells you the boss thought his man got away with one there.


FROM THE MANAGER

It would seem that Solihull manager Neal Ardley has no plans to take his summer holidays in the Westcountry given his review of his side’s last visit to this part of the world – a 2-0 midweek win at Torquay – and his thoughts on a return visit down the M5 on Saturday.

Speaking after his side made it two wins in two for the week against Altrincham last Saturday, Ardley said: “We don’t mind Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, but when you do that for two weeks running it’s quite tough physically and mentally.

“We’ll have a breather now and then we’ll start preparing for Yeovil because Yeovil away and Torquay away they are horrible, horrible places to go.

Well, not sure we think an awful lot of the Jaguar Land Rover plant around your place either, Neal, but anyway!

However, the Moors’ boss made the point that his side need to pick up wins against the teams below them which they have done in their last three league games – Dover, Torquay and Altrincham – have lost to Stockport and Bromley, who were above them in the table, in the two before that run.

Ardley added: “If you can win the games that you are expected to win like these last two at home, and you’ve got to grind out the ones that are tough like Torquay away and Yeovil away and try and pick up points.

“Everyone has to play each other, teams like Notts County, Wrexham, Chesterfield and Stockport, everyone has to play everyone.

“In some we have come up short and in others, Boreham Wood and Halifax, we have won them, but you have to win these games to stay in there.


TEAM NEWS

Two players who will certainly not be around to trouble Yeovil Town this weekend are striker Justin Donawa and defender Callum Howe, who are both long-term injury victims.

Donawa broke his leg just before Christmas and has undergone surgery whilst Howe  has not featured since the start of December as he makes his way back from a long-term lay off.

Other than that, it’s a fairly clean bill of health available to Moors’ boss Neal Ardley going in to the weekend.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

A striker either side will be hoping to rediscover their scoring touch against their old employers this weekend.

Adi Yussuf.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

In the green-and-white corner, Glovers’ striker Adi Yussuf has not found the net since his brace in an FA Trophy win over Woking in mid-December – sorry, Adi, we can’t give you the own goal against W*ymouth on Tuesday.

His record as a Solihull player is pretty similar to that for Yeovil – either excellent or average. In the 2018-19 season he scored 17 times as Moors reached the National League play-offs, earning him a move back in to the Football League at Blackpool where he failed to hit it off.

So much so, he was loaned back to Moors in September 2019, making his debut in a 1-0 defeat to Yeovil – the Luke Wilkinson 7/7 performance, yes – and managed just one goal in 11 appearances.

Equally, Adam Rooney‘s three-game loan spell at Huish Park in 2007 was equally anonymous.

He failed to pull up many trees in League One whilst on loan from Stoke City, but when on to be prolific north of the border with Inverness and then Aberdeen before repeating that form with Salford City.

He’s made 18 appearances this season, scoring three times, but his last goal was back at the start of December.

Other players with a foot in both camps include:

  • Josh Neufville (Solihull – September 2019-January 2020; Yeovil – December 2020-June 2021)
  • Wes McDonald (Solihull – 2018, Yeovil – 2018-2019)
  • Jack Storer (Yeovil – 2017, Solihull 2017-18)
  • Jake Edwards (Yeovil – 2003-04, Solihull – 2008-10)
  • Lee Morris (Yeovil 2006-08, Solihull – 2011-2012)

 

As far as form goes, our ‘friends’ from down the road in W*ymouth arrive at Huish Park for the Somerset-Dorset derby without any.

Without a victory in their last six matches and without three points in the National League since the end of October, the Terras have changed managers since our FA Cup encounters from earlier in the season.

David Oldfield, who made nearly 700 League appearances as a player with Leicester City among others, replaced the luckless Brian Stock – who presumably now knows this match is a derby – in mid-January.

Oldfield had been at National League South side Oxford City who he left in fourth position to move seven players up the football pyramid.

However, it appears he does know it’s a derby, speaking to the Dorset Echo, the Terras’ manager said: “It’s a very important game for us on many levels.

“From our point of view it’s a very big game, we know that within the club. We need to make sure we’re as ready as possible.

“But also, it’s our next game. We need to grab any opportunity we can to play, try and improve and move forward.

Transfer deadline day did see Oldfield add a player to his ranks in the form of striker Manasse Mampala.

The 21-year-old joined on loan from League Two Carlisle United late on Monday night having not made a league appearance for the Cumbrians since the end of November.

Speaking about the former Everton academy prospect’s departure on loan, Carlisle boss Keith Millen said: “He hasn’t played enough first-team games, and has to go and learn how to play week-in, week-out and show people what he can do.

“It’s not so much the level, it’s more about him playing consistently and showing people what he can do, getting some confidence and belief, and scoring some goals.

Having suffered late heartbreak in their last two matches, not least on Saturday when an injury time own goal from former Glovers’ striker Brandon Goodship saw them go down 1-0 at home to Aldershot Town, managed by former boss Mark Molesley.


FROM THE MANAGER

Speaking about the derby, Terras’ boss David Oldfield told the Dorset Echo

It would mean a lot of the club. We know how important it is to the supporters, we want to reflect that.

“But also make sure we’re working as hard as we can collectively.

“It’s a big challenge, Yeovil are a good team and had a great result at the weekend – but we’ll be ready.

 


TEAM NEWS

Striker Ben Thomson could be available for selection having been missing since the middle of November.

The 33-year-old has been suffering problems with his Achilles and calf since pre-season which has limited him to just six appearances, albeit he has scored twice in those outings.

He has been involved in training and led the pre-match warm-ups in recent weeks, so it is a question of whether manager David Oldfield picks him.

Defender Josh Leslie-Smith (head), and striker Martell Taylor-Croasdale both seem unlikely to feature, whilst midfielder Andy Robinson (hip) and striker Brad Ash (ankle) have all been missing through injury in recent weeks and will be late calls for the boss.

Omar Mussa returned for the defeat to Aldershot having suffered a shoulder injury in the draw at Boreham Wood.

The Belgian, who Glovers fans will recall shushing the Thatcher’s End after the Terras’ late equaliser in the first FA Cup game, went off in that match complaining of breathing issues.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

With the geographical location of both teams, there are a lot of players who have seen service with both these clubs.

However, the only one who is likely to feature in the latest meeting of Somerset-verus-Dorset is Brandon Goodship

The striker played eight times for Darren Way’s Yeovil in 2017, scoring a crucial goal in a 1-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge which helped keep us in the League.

He was released at the end of that campaign and dropped down to the Wessex Stadium where he scored 38 goals in his first season and 39 in his second campaign in the Southern League Premier earning him a move in to the Football League at Southend United.

Despite making more than 50 appearances for the Shrimpers, he was released following their relegation to non-League and returned to Weymouth in the summer.

 

The departure of former Glovers’ loanee Tahvon Campbell is the talk of the town (well, Woking town) ahead of the visit of Yeovil Town this weekend.

Tahvon Campbell in action for Yeovil Town in 2016. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The striker, who scored 14 times in 22 appearances this season including at Huish Park in December’s FA Trophy tie, joined League Two Rochdale for an undisclosed six-figure fee on Thursday.

Cards’ chief executive John Katz said the 25-year-old had rejected a new contract offer “which would have made him the club’s top earner” and with his deal up in the summer, Woking decided to cash their chips.

Campbell was “not available for selection” for the 1-0 defeat at Bromley in midweek sparking transfer speculation which did not take long to come to fruition.

That was their sixth defeat in the past nine games albeit they picked up a 2-0 win on their last outing at Kingfield beating Wealdstone last weekend with another former Yeovil loanee, Jamar Loza, on target.

The other win saw them edging out bottom-placed Dover Athletic on home soil between Christmas and New Year – something Yeovil Town didn’t achieve.

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Woking manager Alan Dowson said he believed that his side were “on the right lines” despite a midweek defeat away at Bromley on Tuesday night.

The Cards’ boss said he thought his side’s second half performance should have seen them go away from Kent with all three points.

He said: “I thought the performance was very good, we were camped in their half for the second half.

“We should have had a goal, we should have had a penalty, it was a freak of a goal, we should have cleared it but then it rebounds off somebody and trickles in the net.

“Apart from that I can’t remember Craig (Ross) having to make a save.

“I thought we were the better team, it’s just those fine margins, but I think we are going in the right direction and the players are battling very hard for each other.

“There’s little tiny things that could have got us the result, we were excellent in the second half and I feel we are on the right lines.”

 


TEAM NEWS

Woking’s big injury worry from the midweek defeat against Bromley was star midfielder Max Kretzschmar who limped off with a recurrence of a hamstring injury after an hour.

The hosts will certainly be pushing to get the former Wycombe Wanderers man back having found the net nine times this season.

Speaking about Kretzschmar on Tuesday night, manager Alan Dowson said: “He keeps coming off with his hamstring, it’s when he gets tired it’s a weird injury but hopefully he’ll be alright for Saturday.

“He’ll be everything he can to try and get back, it’s a shame because when you have him on the pitch its a goal-scoring threat.”

Definitely out is on-loan Blackburn Rovers’ central defender Louie John Annesley who was sent off for two yellow cards at Bromley.

Defender Josh Casey and midfielder Jermaine Anderson have not featured since the home defeat to local rivals Aldershot Town on January 2 due to COVID-19, but are expected to be available.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Tahvon Campbell and Joe Quigley are two players we can scrub off the list of players on the current staff with connections between both sides since the last time we met at the end of December.

However, Woking striker Jamar Loza is another between the clubs. He played five times on loan from Norwich City in 2015 and returned for his third spell at Woking last season.

He started the last two matches on the bench but did come on to score the Cards’ second in a 2-0 home win over Wealdstone last weekend.

Rohan Ince, who made two Yeovil Town appearances in a two-month stint on loan from Chelsea in 2012, arrived from Maidenhead in the summer returned to the line-up at Bromley in midweek as he makes his way back from injry.

A few other players with connections with both clubs include:

  • Tahvon Campbell
  • Joe Quigley
  • Josh Neufville
  • Jake Gray
  • Kieran Murtagh
  • Nathan Ralph
  • Kevin Betsy
  • Steve Thompson
  • Matt Hayfield
  • Chris Giles
  • Warren Patmore
  • Colin Fielder
  • Kevan Brown
  • Robbie Carroll
  • Richard Nugent
  • Andy Clement
  • Dave Piper
  • Steve Stott
  • Tom White
  • Shaun Donnellan
  • Jamie Pitman
  • Luke Oliver

There are probably more. If you think of any, let us know and we’ll add them to the list.

 

Wrexham are arriving in South Somerset this weekend still smarting from Yeovil Town inflicting their only home defeat of the season.

Goals from Josh Staunton and Sonny Blu Lo-Everton earned the Glovers a 2-0 win in North Wales at the end of November.

The North Wales media still refer to the sending off of midfielder Liam McAlinden as “controversial” despite the fact an appeal was dismissed after an appeal by the Reds.

Striker Jordan Ponticelli also said that – despite losing by two clear goals – the big-spending side did not deserve to lose at the Racecourse Ground two months ago.

He told the North Wales Leader: “I thought we were the better side when they came here and we went down to 10 men so it will be a good game.

“Hopefully we can go there and put it right what happened. It’s our only home defeat and I thought we didn’t deserve that so hopefully we can go and get three points.

The match is the first National League action Wrexham have had since a 3-1 defeat at Notts County in their last outing on January 2.

But, whilst Yeovil suffered an FA Trophy exit at the hands of lower division opposition last weekend, the Welsh side dispatched Isthmian League side Folkestone Invicta with a 5-1 victory.

That game was played behind-closed-doors and live-streamed (remember that?) due to COVID-19 restrictions covering Wales, but saw manager Phil Parkinson put out a strong team including Ponticelli, who scored twice.

Having ‘only’ splashed out the best part of £1m on players this season, there are rumblings of discontent at the lack of activity in the January transfer window – something that exists for clubs from Wales, less so for the rest of us in the National League.

A striker to fill the void left by an injury to Jake Hyde seems to be where manager Phil Parkinson is looking to splash the cash with reports of a £180,000 bid for AFC Wimbledon striker Ollie Palmer last weekend, and non-League hot-shots Kabongo Tshimanga from title rivals Chesterfield and Solihull Moors’ Joe Sbarra among other names linked.

 


FROM THE MANAGER

Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson has backed his side’s mentality to prove their defeat at Notts County last time out in the National League was just a blip.

Speaking to the North Wales Leader ahead of the weekend, he said: “We have got a strong mentality in the group and we want to keep that because it is so important.

“The leadership qualities in the group are really important to us, and strength of character and mentality with the way we approach games is important, allied with the quality we have shown.

“But it is digging in sometimes away from home and when decisions go against you, it seems to happen away from home and you have just got to be ready to be resilient as a group.

“That is the kind of attitude that we need to take down to Yeovil.


TEAM NEWS

Star striker Paul Mullin appears set to return to the starting line-up having had a three-week rest with a hamstring injury.

The frontman, one of several big money additions at the Racecourse in the summer, sat out last weekend’s FA Trophy match but seems likely to return to the forward line probably alongside Jordan Ponticelli or Kwame Thomas.

Definitely out is frontman Jake Hyde who will be missing for at least another six weeks with a calf injury.

Defender Harry Lennon, who was sent off after just nine minutes of the 3-1 loss at Notts County last time out in the league, has served his suspension although has been carrying a back injury in recent weeks.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Two players with a foot in both camps could find themselves facing off against each other for a second time this season.

Adi Yussuf. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Yeovil Town striker Adi Yussuf scored six times in 16 appearances for Wrexham whilst on loan last season, whilst Ben Tozer played 26 times for Yeovil in the 2015-16 season.

It was the Glovers’ man who came out on top when they last faced off, of course.

Top scorer Joe Quigley, recently back after an injury which kept him out of the win at the Racecourse in November, spent four matches on loan at Wrexham in 2015 whilst an AFC Bournemouth player, scoring a late equaliser in a match against Tranmere Rovers in October that year.

Other players with a foot in both camps include:

  • Gold Omotayo (Yeovil Town – 2019-2020, Wrexham – 2021)
  • Iffy Allen (Yeovil Town – 2015-2016, Wrexham – 2017)
  • Mark Beck (Yeovil Town – 2015-16, Wrexham – loan – 2016)
  • Izale McLeod (Yeovil Town – 2015-16, Wrexham – 2017)
  • Chris Dunn (Yeovil Town – 2013-14, Wrexham 2016-18)
  • Daniel Alfei (Wrexham – 2012/2013, Yeovil Town 2017-2018)
  • Andy Bishop (Yeovil Town – loan – 2004, Wrexham – 2013-15)
  • Kevin Gall (Yeovil Town – 2003-2006, Wrexham – 2010-2011)

Needham Market are not coming to Huish Park for their FA Trophy fourth round with a plan to lie down for Yeovil Town.

The Marketmen, who lie in 13th place in the Southern League Premier Central Division, two steps below their hosts in the  pyramid, put out National League side Wealdstone in the last round with a 2-1 win on their own patch last month.

That result came about due to them taking the game to their higher division rivals, winning the ball high up the pitch rather than sitting back and hitting them on the break.

Manager and former Manchester City and Swindon Town midfielder Kevin Horlock said: “If we can we are a team that needs to be on the front foot. We’ve got some very good attacking players so you have to use them.

“I’m not one for sitting back too much because if you concede – especially early on – where do you go from there?

“I don’t want to give away too much, but we’ll be looking to play in a similar way to the Wealdstone game.

“I don’t want us to just sit there, play for the draw and penalties. That’s not in me and it’s not in my players either.”

You have to go back to the start of December to find this weekend’s visitors last defeat when they lost 3-1 at home to Stourbridge.

Since then they have picked up three wins and two draws in their following five matches including coming from 2-0 down at half-time to beat fifth-placed Alvechurch on Tuesday night.

Before disposing of Wealdstone in Round Three, Needham Market has made it through a qualifying round and then beaten Margate and Welwyn Garden City to progress to this stage of the competition.

However, the only game they played away from home was the qualifying round tie at St Ives Town.

You can hear more about what to expect from Needham Market – including why their players may be on a sugar high at Huish Park – in the chat with YouTuber and fan, Leo Fraser-Bell, in the latest edition of our podcast – listen here.


FROM THE MANAGER

Needham Market manager Kevin Horlock is coming up to his second anniversary in the top job having spent eight months in charge of the club’s academy before that.

The ex-Northern Ireland international is hoping that some of the products of the academy can show what they are capable of – as they did against Wealdstone in the last round.

He said: “We got the positive result against Wealdstone and that is bound to have done a lot for belief.

“I said as soon as I came back to Needham that we’ve got a lot of players that can play at that level (National League), I’m sure of it.

“Some could do it now, others will be able to do it at a later date as they progress and get more experience. That’s not me feeding them rubbish, I really believe these lads are good enough.

“You’ve got to shoot for the stars. We sold the likes of (midfielder) Callum Page to Ipswich recently so the young lads know there is a pathway here.

“They showed what they’ve got against Wealdstone and there’s another opportunity for them to show it again.

“Yes it’s away from home this time and the journey makes it a bit tougher, but we won’t be looking for or making excuses. It’s a big game and one we’re really looking forward to.


TEAM NEWS

Needham Market will give late fitness tests to left-back Callum Sturgess (calf) and defender Kyle Hammond (ankle) before the match.

Boss Horlock is hopeful central midfielder Tom Fitzgerald will have recovered from a groin strain to feature, but winger Tom Maycock is cup tied having featured for AFC Sudbury in the competition already.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Unsurprisingly, there’s not many player connections between us and Needham Market – in fact, we can only find one.

Simon Betts, not a player who will go down in Yeovil Town legend for anything particularly positive, was signed by Colin Addison midway through the 2000-2001 season and left midway through the following campaign after some below par performances, to put it mildly.

In 2005-06 he went on to play for Needham Market and went on to be a manager in the local leagues in East Anglia.