Yeovil Town 4 Scunthorpe United 3 – Tuesday 22nd February 2005
After finishing 8th in our first Football League season with a points total of 74 which would have been enough to secure a play-off place in almost any other year, optimism was high at the beginning of 2004/05 that Yeovil could go one further and push for promotion. After a stuttering start and a 3-1 opening day defeat at Bury, the Glovers recovered and briefly went top of League Two after beating Shrewsbury away in September. However, a run of six games without a win followed, leaving the us in 8th following defeat to leaders Scunthorpe at the end of October. The match at Glanford Park was a very close one, as a patched up Yeovil side missing Skiverton, Guyett, Lockwood and O’Brien in defence, and Tarachulski also carrying an injury up front, did well to keep the leaders out for 80-odd minutes. The game was settled by two controversial incidents – in the first half, a Jevons goal was ruled out for offside when the replay clearly showed him to be on. Scunthorpe’s winning goal not only appeared to have been cleared off the line by Lee Johnson, but the corner from which it came should not have been awarded as the ball went out of play in the build-up. So despite losing the game the Glovers could at least console themselves that they could hold their own against the leaders even with a number of absences through injury.
When the two teams met again in February 2005, the tables had been turned – Scunthorpe, once seven points clear at the top, had their lead wiped out by Yeovil’s remarkable run of consecutive wins over Christmas. On 18th December, the Iron led the table with 47 points to the Glovers’ 40. On 3rd January, an equally appalling run for Scunthorpe saw them on 49 points against Yeovil’s 52, as Yeovil came back from 2-1 down to beat Shrewsbury 4-2 with ten men to finally go top of League Two. Despite the occasional setback, the Glovers remained top and were two points clear when the two teams met at Huish Park on a very cold Tuesday night in February.
Yeovil took an early lead, as the Scunthorpe defence were caught out by a long range effort from Bartosz Tarachulski. The visitors then stunned the home side with two goals in front of the Westland Stand before half time, from two poorly-defended set-pieces. The first was especially controversial as there was a foul on the touchline against Yeovil which the linesman was furiously flagging for, but the referee overruled him and gave a free kick the other way, from which Paul Hayes scored. The home fans were still booing the referee at half time as the Glovers went in 2-1 down, despite arguably having the better of the first half – all of the goals had come slightly against the run of play, as the home side played much better after they had scored.
Somewhat unfortunate to be 2-1 down at half time, Yeovil came steaming out in the second half and were very soon level, as Lee Johnson blasted a free kick through the wall to make it 2-2 on 47 minutes. Following the equaliser, the visitors had much the better of the second half and much of the crowd would probably have settled for 2-2. New loan signing from Bristol City Kevin Amankwaah was brought on to shore up the defence, and would have a hand in Yeovil’s two late goals, turning defence into attack. Another new signing on loan from Swindon, Rory Fallon, was brought on for Tarachulski, who was getting no change out of the Scunthorpe defence and was getting increasingly frustrated as the referee was giving a foul every time he dared to try and get off the ground. With the big man already on a yellow, defender Andy Butler attempted to con the referee by falling dramatically to the ground clutching his face claiming he’d been elbowed, and although the replay shows there was clearly no contact, it was perhaps wisest to take Bartosz off.
With their backs against the wall, Yeovil struck back to win the game with two goals in the last ten minutes, both initiated by clearances from Amankwaah – the first up to Jevons, who appeared to have been fouled in the area but the referee took the easy option of giving a corner instead of a penalty. From that corner, Fallon steamed in with a close range header to make it 3-2 with his first and only goal for the club. Fallon had only signed on loan that afternoon, and famously still had directions to the ground written on his hand during the game.
While Yeovil fans were asking themselves whether the Glovers would be able to withstand the last ten minutes of pressure, Arron Davies popped up with a 35-yard screamer out of nowhere to settle the game. With Scunthorpe pressing, a clearance from Amankwaah pretty much on the byline was held up by Fallon, fed to Davies inside his own half, who carried the ball forward and unleashed an unstoppable shot for one of the best goals ever seen at Huish Park in one of the biggest games. The goal came around 15 seconds after Scunthorpe had been in possession in the Yeovil penalty area.
There was still time for some late drama, as Hayes bundled in a 90th minute goal to make it 4-3, but as the snow began to fall there was no time for any further action and Yeovil held out to win, extending their lead at the top of League Two to five points. Also having already beaten Swansea twice, the Glovers had only one game remaining against the other promotion contenders – Southend away, on the penultimate game of the season.
Team that day: Chris Weale, Andy Lindegaard, Michael Rose, Terry Skiverton, Scott Guyett, Darren Way, Lee Johnson, Kevin Gall (sub. Andrejs Stolcers 45 (sub. Kevin Amankwaah 79)), Arron Davies, Bartosz Tarachulski (sub. Rory Fallon 70), Phil Jevons. Subs not used: Steve Collis, Paul Terry