Yeovil Town 2 Hereford Utd 2 – Tuesday 21st April 2009
It’s always a special moment when your goalkeeper scores, as it’s usually when you are in desperate need of a goal and are throwing the kitchen sink forward in a last ditch hope of getting something out of a game. Whether it’s Paul Robinson for Leeds, Jimmy Glass for Carlisle or Alisson for Liverpool, it’s usually fairly dramatic. And when it’s the locally born lad returning to help his home town avoid relegation by scoring in injury time against their old rivals, it doesn’t come much more dramatic than that.
Yeovil have had their share of scoring goalkeepers down the years, as Tony Pennock not only scored a penalty in the 4-0 win over Chertsey in 1997, he also saved and then scored a penalty in the FA Cup First Round shoot-out the following year. Back in 1991, David Fry famously scored from his own half with a wind-assisted goal in the 7-2 demolition of Slough Town. Former loan goalkeeper Asmir Begovic scored a similar goal in the Premier League for Stoke in 2013.
Following the sacking of Russell Slade in February 2009, it took some time for rookie manager Terry Skiverton to steady the ship. Following a run of three points from eight games, the Glovers were able to get back on track thanks largely to a trio of loan signings from Spurs in the shape of Andros Townsend, Jonathan Obika and Danny Hutchins. In addition came former player and legend Chris Weale, who left for Bristol City in 2006 but came back on loan to help out in 2009. Yeovil-born Weale had come up through the youth and reserve teams at Yeovil, making his Conference debut in the 2-1 win against Boston in February 2001, just after his 19th birthday. He made over 200 appearances between 2001 and 2006, winning the FA Trophy, Conference and League Two. He memorably pulled off a blinding save in the first minute of the FA Trophy from future team mate Kirk Jackson, and saved a penalty from Conference top scorer Paul Barnes in the 4-0 demolition of Doncaster on the day the Glovers sealed the Conference title. In the League, he also saved a penalty in the 1-0 win over Kidderminster in 2004.
All four players made their debuts at the same time, in the home draw against MK Dons. This began a run of 11 points from the next five games, as Weale kept an impressive five clean sheets in his first five games. This run took Yeovil up to 16th and almost to safety, but they just needed a few more points to get them over the line. Potentially winnable games against Cheltenham and Hartlepool were both lost, leaving the Glovers hovering above the relegation zone and running out of games.
With just three games to go, the visit of old rivals Hereford seemed like a home banker. Experiencing a brief spell out of their depth in League One, they were bottom of the league and heading for relegation. A win would be enough to mathematically secure league status for Yeovil. However things didn’t go to plan as a first half goal from Myrie-Williams put the Bulls ahead and another after the break from Guinan put them 2-0 up. As the lowest scorers in the division, Yeovil were up against it. Luke Rodgers did pull one back on 78 minutes but it didn’t look like it would be enough, until in injury time the Glovers got a corner and Weale decided to go up for it. He could not get to the resultant ball in, but it did end in a shot from Peltier that was saved by the keeper, resulting in another corner. Last chance saloon, and Weale stayed up. Rising like a salmon, he smashed a header home for the equaliser, resulting in the kind of pile-on usually only seen in primary school playgrounds.
He had secured a point that, while not making Yeovil mathematically safe on the night, would turn out to be enough – it put the Glovers on 50 points, and in the end Northampton would occupy the last relegation place with 49, so effectively you could say Wealey’s goal did save Yeovil from relegation. As soon as the match re-started the referee blew his whistle, and we’d scored with literally the last kick of the game.
Team that day: Chris Weale, Danny Hutchins, Nathan Smith, Aaron Brown, Lee Peltier, Kieran Murtagh, Danny Schofield, Paul Warne (Andy Welsh, 62), Andros Townsend, Jonathan Obika (Luke Rodgers, 73), Gavin Tomlin. Subs not used: Wagenaar, Alcock, Maguire
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