Chesterfield 0 Yeovil Town 3 – Saturday 4th March 2006

In the 2005/06 season it took some time to adjust to our new League One level, but after a difficult start Yeovil had established themselves around mid-table by Christmas despite the loss of Gary Johnson in September, with assistant Steve Thompson stepping up as manager for the rest of the season.

However, results in the new year took a turn for the worse with some financial restructuring at the club leading to the losses of several key players during the transfer window including the long-standing midfield duo of Darren Way and Lee Johnson, both departing within a week of each other to Swansea and Hearts, respectively. Johnson in particular appeared to have been thriving at League One level, perhaps released from some of the pressure of being the manager’s son.

Early January saw the club peak with a league position of 10th, but results turned with the departure of Way, Johnson and Efe Sodje. There followed a run of two points from six games, and not only that but the Glovers were struggling to either score or keep clean sheets in a run of matches against other teams in trouble. The 1-0 defeat at Port Vale was a low point, but it got lower as it was followed by conceding an injury time equaliser at home to doomed MK Dons, and a truly abject performance away at Blackpool which saw the club re-enter the relegation places – from 10th to 21st in six games, and relegation was starting to look a very real possibility.

Saturday 4th March saw Yeovil face another team in trouble, this time away at Chesterfield. We had moved to replace Way and Johnson by bringing in Anthony Barry from Accrington and former Bristol City midfielder Tommy Doherty on loan from QPR, to partner the rising star of 18-year old Chris Cohen on loan from West Ham (he would turn 19 the day after the game). Phil Jevons was unavailable through injury and in his absence Matt Harrold was partnered up front by Arron Davies, who had played most of his previous games on the wing. Harrold was also carrying a knock but played through it as we didn’t really have any other options. Terry Skiverton returned to defence to give some much-needed solidity.

There had been a lot of snow the week before and there was some doubt it would go ahead with many other games called off, and even though the pitch was fine on the day, the surrounding areas were somewhat treacherous which may have contributed to what happened during the game. Tommy Doherty’s day lasted only ten minutes, as he came off worse in a challenge and was replaced by Paul Terry – it would prove to be Doherty’s only appearance for Yeovil. After a quiet first half an hour, Davies latched onto a long Chris Weale clearance to put the visitors 1-0 up. Just before half time however, Anthony Barry was involved in an awkward challenge and slid into the advertising hoardings at the far end from the away supporters. After a long delay, he was stretchered off to applause from the home and away fans, and after only four appearances would be out for the rest of the season with a dislocated knee. He was replaced by Andy Lindegaard, and to be fair Lindegaard and Poole did cause the home defence a lot of problems by running at them to create chances for the lively Davies.

In the second half, Yeovil had more opportunities but it was right at the death that Davies scored twice more, firstly an expertly taken shot across the keeper, and then a slightly fortuitous back-heel that he may not have known much about, but the hat-trick was much deserved after his performance. By the end Yeovil were the walking wounded, with Weale left limping after being clattered by a forward and Harrold struggling to play on, but having made two injury-enforced changes already Steve Thompson held back his final substitution having been caught out the previous week when Yeovil finished the game with ten men due to yet another injury.

The win against Chesterfield gave Yeovil a big boost, and although results did not turn around immediately, it perhaps gave them the confidence to know they could still win games despite the loss of so many players through departure and injury. It also highlighted that Harrold and Davies could complement each other well, which they would do again away at Walsall a couple of weeks later when both players scored in a vital 2-0 win (highlights to come in a future video).

Yeovil would finish their first League One season in the relative comfort of 16th, and actually put in some pretty good performances towards the end even though in January and February the situation had looked pretty bleak, and it may have been that the win at Chesterfield served as the catalyst.

Interestingly, with a lot of games being called off due to freezing temperatures around that time, both Yeovil and Chesterfield had taken their players away prior to the game. Yeovil’s squad went on a team-building day to an army assault course, during which they were thrown into freezing cold water. Chesterfield’s players were taken on holiday to Spain, so maybe the contrast between a beach in Spain and a freezing cold day in Derbyshire proved too great!

Yeovil team that day: Chris Weale, Kevin Amankwaah, Nathan Jones, Terry Skiverton, Adam Lockwood, Tommy Doherty (sub. Paul Terry, 11), Chris Cohen, Anthony Barry (sub. Andy Lindegaard, 45), David Poole, Matt Harrold, Arron Davies. Unused subs: Steve Collis, Colin Miles, Danny Webb.



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