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Archived News from March 2004

27th March 2004 23:17

Jeremy Gear's View Of The Game

Yeovil failed to shoot down the Stags at Huish Park this afternoon in a game vitally important to the two play off hopefuls, but also one that was marred by an inept refereeing performance from Mr Beeby of Northants. To be fair his decisions did not have an impact on the outcome of the game, a draw was probably a fair result, but one decision on the half hour mark summed up his performance when a blatant push on Kevin Gall when through on goal in the box went unpunished and Yeovil were not rewarded with the penalty the home crowd screamed for. If, in his opinion it was not a spot kick then why on earth was Gall not booked for diving, a perfect example of his ability not to make a tough decision, just the petty ones, which was the theme for the rest of the afternoon. Referee's, admittedly take more stick than high street traffic wardens and who'd be one, but why, when he has two assistants does he not make more use of them!!

Yeovil kicked off attacking the away end, but lost possession giving Mansfield an early opportunity to score within the first minute when Wayne Corden crossed low in the box towards Mendes, fortunately Lockwood was on hand and read the script and managed to make a timely block. The first 15 minutes or so saw both sides play the ball around nicely but without any real penetration, Weatherstone who started brightly almost put Gall away but the last defender nicked the ball from his path. A few minutes later Mansfield were unlucky not to go ahead when a terrific curling shot from outside the area beat Steve Collis all ends up, but luckily for him the ball rattled the bar bounced down and out and the danger was cleared for a corner.

The game was evenly matched but as it drew on you got the impression that Mansfield had more fluency in their approach, Yeovil, for all their effort never really stretched the Stags back four, and the long hopeful balls pumped high and forward were nearly always mopped up by the central defensive pair. Like Doncaster the week before, Mansfield were strong and moved the ball quickly in midfield and the Glovers at times failed to win the 50-50's, but in terms of clear cut chances Yeovil were ahead, a killer instinct in front of goal and they could have been convincingly ahead. Lee Johnson run through the heart of Mansfield but could not direct his shot on target, then El Kholti had a similar run, but his shot was blocked. Williams, menacing as usual had a go but shot straight at Pilkington. Then came the penalty incident, a fine through ball from Johnson put Gall away and as he bore down on goal he was pushed aggressively from behind and fell in a heap to the floor. It looked obvious, but astonishingly it was waved away. Gall on the other hand has lost his touch in front of goal, and you wonder if his confidence was higher he would have shown the defence a clean pair of heels and finished sweetly. his confidence should have been restored on 42 minutes when a Johnson cross swung into the far post found the head of the Welshman but unluckily he hit the post. Moments earlier Terry Skiverton looked to be seriously hurt when a clash of heads saw him knocked to the ground and motionless. An alert Kirk Jackson quickly rolled him into the recovery position, so it was surprising to see that after treatment he resumed his usual role. Deep into first half stoppage time, Johnson again took on the defence but his cross was cut out by Rhys Day who was having a solid game at the back. The corner came to nothing and the half came to a close with the score line level.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 0 - 0 Mansfield Town

The second half started with a booking for Gall, rash but no worse than the one that went unpunished on Williams just before it. Jackson and Gall then linked well, the former with an audacious flick that almost set the Welshman away. Mansfield broke and Collis was alert as he blocked with his feet. The game was now opening up and Williams was away down the left, a glorious first touch gave him a head start but his cross evaded his attackers, as the ball was half cleared, Darren Way shot from the edge but his effort was comfortably saved by Pilkington. Mansfield broke away again, and their midfield engine room Liam Lawrence crossed low but Corden scuffed his shot wide when it would have been easier to score.

Not long after Kevin Gall tried his luck from distance, his shot was deflected for a corner and as Johnson swung the ball in Terry SKIVERTON bravely got there first and thundered a header in hard to give the Glovers a vital lead in the six-pointer clash. Captain Marvel hurt himself in the process and never recovered from a back injury, he was replaced by Andy Lindegaard, Lockwood moving to the centre of defence. Williams broke down the middle again and forced a good save from Pilkington, Johnson and Gall then combined to give Jackson a great chance to double the host's lead but again, Pilkington saved the visitors again, this time with his rear, sitting on the ball. Instantly Mansfield attacked, Collis came to the edge of the area to collect, but the drizzly conditions forced him to handle the ball outside the box conceding an unlucky free kick. Gall was then penalised on the edge of the area for a push, Corden took the free kick, left-footed from the right hand side of the box, and as it curled and made a beeline for the top corner Collis pulled off a fantastic save to tip the ball over for a corner, Chris Weale could not have done better and we can sleep easy knowing that Collis is not just an understudy but a ready made replacement should we lose the Yeovil born custodian in the summer.

Lawrence and Pluck tangled on the edge of the area, both falling to the ground when competing for a high ball, both were booked but the free kick was awarded to Mansfield, presumably for Pluck swinging his arm when Lawrence was on the deckā€¦. thank god he missed! Lawrence stepped up to take the free kick himself and his fine 25-yard effort was matched by Collis, diving to his left to parry the ball away, the loose ball was retrieved out wide by Larkin and his cross was pumped to the far post where Rhys DAY was waiting and equalised with a powerful header.

On 80 minutes Johnson made Pilkington work again as his shot was parried for a corner, Johnson may feel he could have done better. He had another go a minute later but this time his retaken free kick from the edge of the box failed to trouble the Stags defence. Bobby Hassell was booked for a foul on Williams, seconds later he turned villain to hero as he blocked Weatherstone's shot on the line. Yeovil's best chance to win the game had gone and the game was over. Most of the 6002 crowd preceded to tell Mr Beeby what they thought of his afternoons work.

So a hard earned point was gained and Yeovil can count themselves a little unlucky not to have taken all three points, certainly on chances created. At least with other results going both Yeovil's and Mansfield's way neither lost too much ground on their promotion trail. The next week's fixtures though could be interesting, with Torquay visiting the Stags and then hosting the Glovers a week today. Watch the chasing pack with interest though, Northampton are creeping up on the inside track and don't count them out as the dark horses for a play off spot, they seem to be hitting form at exactly the right time. The next 6 weeks or so are not for the faint hearted.

Jeremy Gear


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