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Sun 31st March 2002
The Not So Magnificent Seven

Not the best of week's in the history of Yeovil Town Football Club ended with a second home defeat in a row and the seventh home defeat of the season, this time at the hands of relegation threatened Stalybridge Celtic, the visitors going away with a comprehensive 2-0 victory.

Credit to Stalybridge, they performed well, took their easier chances and could indeed have scored more if it wasn't for some wayward finishing. Yeovil had the ball in the net once but thanks to yet more bizarre refeering (a continuous complaint in the Conference these days) had Terry Skiverton's perfectly good first half netbuster disallowed in favour of a penalty, which, inevitably, was missed. That would have made the game 1-1 and perhaps changed the eventual destination of the points, though we will never know now. The ytfc.net match report is now online.

Not the most ideal week of preparation then for next Saturday's FA Trophy semi-final 1st leg v Burton Albion, which we sincerely hope will still go ahead following the death of the Queen Mother yesterday, though rumours are circulating that next weekend's sporting programme may be postponed as a 'mark of respect'. One hopes these rumours are false! Fortunately the Glovers have an away game at Chester City tomorrow (Easter Monday, 3pm kick-off) which definitely goes ahead - an opportunity for the team to put their Huish Park blues behind them and put in a solid performance before the semi-final.

Yesterdays result meant that the Glovers dropped to 4th in the table following Doncaster's 2-0 home win over tomorrow's opponents Chester. Both Boston and Dagenham continue to falter at the top of the table, Boston drawing 1-1 at home to Barnet on Friday, and the Daggers losing 2-0 at Nuneaton yesterday, Yeovil loanee Andy Turner scoring for the Boro. The pity of it is as far as the Glovers are concerned is that had the 20-match unbeaten run continued then we could have been right up there challenging - like last season, it's a case of so near, yet so far.... You get nothing for finishing second, third or fourth in this league, unlike the Premiership and Divisions One, Two and Three.

Correction: Of course, it wasn't Yeovil's Andy Turner who scored for Nuneaton against Dagenham yesterday as claimed above - Andy is currently on loan at Kettering, having spent a month at Manor Park earlier this season. The scorer was actually John Turner, making his home debut for Nuneaton.

Top of the table, 30th March 2002
Home Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1. Boston United 35 11 4 4 49 24 10 3 3 24 13 70
2. Dagenham & Redbridge 34 9 6 2 26 17 9 5 3 31 25 65
3. Doncaster Rovers 36 9 6 4 36 23 7 7 3 26 17 61
4. Yeovil Town 36 5 6 7 24 28 11 5 2 34 20 59

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Thurs 28th March 2002
New Signing Kumbur Could Be Big In Japan

Staff and supporters of Yeovil Town face an anxious few hours today waiting to see if international clearance papers arrive before today's 5pm transfer deadline to allow Nigerian striker Francis Kumbur to sign for the club for the remainder of the season.

The 23-year-old has been capped 7 times by his country and could be considered for this summer's World Cup Finals in Japan and Korea - he had been invited to join Nigeria's squad for the midweek game v Paraguay played at Loftus Road on Tuesday night, but declined the invitation, preferring to stay training with Yeovil in a bid to secure a contract with the club. He is married to a British national and therefore does not require a work permit.

Speaking about Kumbur to the Western Gazette, manager Gary Johnson said: "He is on the fringes of the Nigeria squad.... He has played for them before and at under-21 level. He is obviously in their thoughts. They asked him to play in the Paraguay game but I think he felt he only had a few days with us and if he wanted to take his chance with me in England he needed to be with us for the whole 3 or 4 days, otherwise how could I make a decision on him? To be fair to him he did that and I like his attitude. His mentality to the game is brilliant and I have also been impressed with his work-rate in training. It's not a long-term thing because it's a bit late in the day to make long-term decisions on people. It is until the end of the season - he is looking at us and we are looking at him."

Johnson isn't stopping his search for new players with the arrival of Kumbur or the transfer deadline however. According to the Gazette, he'll also be looking at French striker Abdullah Demba, currently playing for Belgian club Ostend, but out of contract at the end of the season and available on a free transfer. And talking of the transfer deadline, no offers for any of Yeovil's players are expected before the 5pm cut-off time today.

UPDATE:
International clearance papers have now arrived at Huish Park and Francis Kumbur has signed for the club until the end of the season. The player turned out for a Yeovil XI alongside French triallist Abdullah Demba last night v Wessex League side Portland United, a match the Glovers won 5-3. Yeovil's scorers were Kumbur and Kim Grant with a brace apiece, Demba adding the fifth.

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Wed 27th March 2002
All Good Things Must Come To An End Eventually

Yeovil Town's long unbeaten run - comprising 20 league and FA Trophy games - finally came to an end last night at Huish Park, league leaders Boston United conducting a smash'n'grab raid and going back to Lincolnshire with a 1-0 win and all 3 points, leaving the Glovers already faint promotion hopes in tatters.

The match was a microcosm of all Yeovil's problems at home this season: The visitors took an early lead through a 4th minute Daryl Clare strike and - as with so many other teams at Huish Park this season - defended deeply with 11 men behind the ball for the rest of the match. Despite the backing of a 5,061 crowd Yeovil simply did not possess enough guile or nous to break through the well-drilled Boston rearguard and in all honesty in the end got exactly what they deserved out of the game - nothing.

Glovers fans shouldn't be too downhearted though. The twenty match unbeaten run was a magnificent achievement and gives solid foundations to build on for a genuine title challenge next season with a little fine-tuning of the team - and lets not write this season off yet. It's still theoretically possible to win the Conference (though extremely unlikely) and there's the small matter of two FA Trophy semi-finals v Burton to look forward to.

The Glovers are now 10 points behind leaders Boston in the table and have also played a game more than the Lincolnshire club. Second placed Dagenham could only draw 1-1 at Morecambe last night to slip 4 points behind Boston, but have a game in hand on the leaders. A swift glance at Yeovil's home form in the table below tells you all you need to know about where the Glovers have fallen slightly short this season.

Top of the table, 23rd March 2002
Home Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1. Boston United 34 11 3 4 48 23 10 3 3 24 13 69
2. Dagenham & Redbridge 33 9 6 2 26 17 9 5 2 31 22 65
3. Yeovil Town 35 5 6 6 24 26 11 5 2 34 20 59
4. Doncaster Rovers 35 8 6 4 34 23 7 7 3 26 17 58

In other news the club have announced that they have 'agreed terms' with 23-year-old 6'2" Nigerian striker Francis Kumbur. We don't know anything about him at present other than that he's been training at the club for the past week and has been plying his trade abroad in the Singapore League. His signing is said to be subject to international clearance arriving in time for Thursday's transfer deadline.

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Sun 24th March 2002
Twenty Unbeaten Isn't Too Scabby

Yeovil Town stretched their unbeaten run to twenty league and FA Trophy games after yesterday's 0-0 draw with top of the form-table Scarborough, a truly remarkable achievement - but there was still some frustration for the Glovers at having to settle for a point on a day when both Boston and Dagenham lost.

However, a point at the McCain Stadium is always a good point, particularly given Yeovil's record against the Seadogs in the past, the Glovers (according to our stats) winning just one game out of seventeen previous meetings - our bogey team or what?

Yesterday's game was a dull affair for the first 45 minutes, the ball rarely leaving the middle third of the pitch. The match became far more interesting in the second half going from end to end, but with both goalkeepers on top form and the woodwork coming to Yeovil's aid twice, a draw and a point apiece was a fair outcome, even if both clubs really needed all 3 points in an ideal world.

Still, it's tough at the top, as Glovers fans know only too well after last season, and it appears that both Boston and Dagenham are now beginning to feel the heat, both sides losing games yesterday they were surely expecting to take all 3 points from. Leaders Boston came a cropper at home to fast-improving Chester, a frankly risible 2,500 'crowd' watching Mark Wright's new side winning 1-0, a Mark Beesley goal being the difference between the two teams. Do the Boston public really want league football? Meanwhile the 2nd-placed Daggers were faring no better, going down 2-0 away to unfancied Leigh RMI, scorers Michael Twiss and Marcus Hallows sending the Essex side back home with plenty to think about. Dagenham now face a long and problematic trip to Morecambe on Tuesday night, while on the same evening the Glovers entertain Boston at Huish Park - the results of these two games will be pivotal to the outcome of this season's championship race.

Top of the table, 23rd March 2002
Home Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1. Boston United 33 11 3 4 48 23 9 3 3 23 13 66
2. Dagenham & Redbridge 32 9 6 2 26 17 9 4 2 30 22 64
3. Yeovil Town 34 5 6 5 24 25 11 5 2 34 20 59
4. Doncaster Rovers 35 8 6 4 34 23 7 7 3 26 17 58

In other news from the club, out-of-favour winger Andy Turner has joined Dr Martens Premier Division side Kettering on a month's loan. Despite possessing undoubted talent the former Spurs and Portsmouth forward has rarely made his mark at Huish Park - it would be no surprise to see him move on elsewhere in the summer.

Finally, Glovers left-back Anthony Tonkin is a man in demand - according to the Teamtalk website anyway. Second Division QPR are the latest club said to be interested in signing the flying Cornishman, but any such interest has to be taken in the light of the Loftus Road outfit currently being in administration and therefore banned from completing transfers at present. Yeovil - and Tonks himself - turned down a £50,000 offer from Stockport recently.

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Thurs 21st March 2002
Semi-Final 2nd Leg Is Live On Sky TV

Sky Television have announced that they will be screening live the 2nd leg of the FA Trophy semi-final between Burton Albion and the Glovers at Eton Park - accordingly the kick-off time has been brought forward by one hour to 1pm on Sunday 14th April. The first leg at Huish Park the previous week is unaffected and goes ahead on Saturday 6th April, 3pm kick-off.

According to sources close to the club, both Yeovil and Burton jointly approached Sky in an effort to get the tie screened, with both clubs accepting a much reduced fee thought to be around £5,000 each. With a full-house of around 4,500 still expected, the clubs are to be congratulated on their enterprise in this matter - Even with a generous allocation of 1,000 tickets for the game for Glovers fans, many would have missed out. And with any luck, the game will be a great advert for non-league football!

Talking of ticketing, the club have announced arrangements for the sale of tickets for the two semi-finals. The following information is taken with permission from the club's official website, tickets are available only from the Huish Park Ticket Office:

First Leg : Yeovil Town vs Burton Albion, Huish Park, Sat 6th April. 3.00pm.

Season Ticket Holders Only

Mon 25th March : 9.00am - 4.00pm
Tue 26th March : 9.00am - 7.45pm
Wed 27th March : 9.00am - 7.00pm
Thu 28th March : 9.00am - 4.00pm
Fri 29th March : 10.00am - 7.00pm

General Public

Sat 30th March : 1.30pm onwards. To be sold inside the turnstiles before the Easter Saturday fixture with Stalybridge Celtic.

Prices: As per normal Conference match day prices, with the exception of family tickets which are unfortunately not available due to the shared gate. Burton Albion supporters have been allocated the end block in the Bartlett Stand along with the whole of the away terrace. There will therefore be an allocation of just over 7,000 tickets for Yeovil Town supporters with Burton Albion receiving around 2,200 tickets.

Second Leg : Burton Albion vs Yeovil Town, Eton Park, Sun 14th April. 1.00pm.

Season Ticket Holders Only

Tue 2nd April : 10.00am - 4.00pm (provisional)
Wed 3rd April : 10.00am - 4.00pm (provisional)
Thu 4th April : 10.00am - 4.00pm (provisional)
Fri 5th April : 10.00am - 4.00pm (provisional)
Sat 6th April : 10.00am - 1.00pm (provisional)

General Public

Sun 7th April : Time to be announced.

Prices: Terrace ONLY. Adults: £9.00. Concessions: £5.00. An initial allocation of around 1,000 tickets has been made available, with Burton Albion's ground capacity expected to be confirmed as around 4,500.



Season Ticket Holders Please Note: Please bring your season ticket book with you on both occasions. There is a limit of one ticket only per season ticket holder. Please note that this game is an 'all-pay' game.

Postal Applications: Season Ticket Holders must include their book number, and their seat number (if applicable) in a covering letter. Non-season ticket holders may apply by post, but should note that their applications will not be considered until after the deadline for season ticket holders has passed. Please remember to include as part of your application:

(a) A stamped addressed envelope
(b) A cheque made payable to Yeovil Town Football Club
(c) A covering letter stating your ticketing requirements, including venue.
(d) Your season ticket book number and seat number (if applicable)
(e) Your name, address and daytime contact telephone number.

If you have any further queries, please contact the club at ytfc@lineone.net or telephone on (01935) 423662.

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Wed 20th March 2002
Critts Caps His Debut

England (well, the England National Game XI) won tonight's International fixture against a USA Representive XI, composed of players from the United Soccer Leagues, 2-1.

In a game that was interesting at times but rarely hit the heights a second half strike from Yeovil's Nick Crittenden, who had come on as a substitute minutes before, brought England back to level terms after the USA had opened the scoring in the first half with a towering header by Mark Schulte at the back post from a corner. A rather dubious penalty awarded shortly before the 90 minute mark saw Tim Ryan win the game for England from the spot.

England lined up at a very wet Broadhall Way with a rather different side than manager John Owens would have been envisaging a few days before. The number of withdrawals must have disrupted his preparations, and this was to be particularly obvious up front as the game unfolded.
Starting eleven: Wayne Brown, Simon Travis, Anthony Tonkin, Terry Skiverton, Jason Goodliffe (captain), Tim Ryan, Stewart Drummond, Mark Stimson, Kirk Jackson, Leon Braithwaite, Nick Roddis.

Terry Skiverton
Skiverton finds American affection touching.
Both sides opened up by keeping the ball on the ground and going for a passing game. The first fifteen minutes saw a sparring match, but the game livened up when Goodliffe crashed a vicious drive back off the USA bar from eight yards out. Moments before the Americans had come close themselves. As the half progressed England began to gain possession and control. Wing-backs Tonkin and particulary Travis were giving the home side good width and making more and more forays down the flanks.
Tonkin on debut
Anthony Tonkin watches Morecambe's Stewart Drummond put the ball into the danger area.
The final delivery of balls into the danger areas was not all it might have been however, and England were mainly restricted to rather speculative snap shots from distance and the odd scramble around the six yard line. Up front Braithwaite expended a lot of energy running off the ball, but looked less assured when he actually got it. Jackson was a disappointment and didn't get into the first forty-five minutes. That said, the USA must have counted themselves fortunate to go in one up at the break as they hadn't really done enough to justify that lead. England were the more enterprising team but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.

The first twenty minutes or so after the break was rather a non-event. As is usual in these games the flow was disrupted by regular substitutions and, whether by accident or design, the most promising avenue of the first forty-five, the flanks, were scarcely used. After Steve Watson had replaced Drummond around the 55 minute mark, and keeper Brown was swapped for Andy Woods a few minutes later the most significant moment of the second period occurred with twenty-five minutes to go.
Nick Crittenden - who was to find the net on his England debut
Nick Crittenden waits for his first England cap.
To cheers from the handful of Yeovil fans in attendance Nick Crittenden came on for his first cap, replacing Roddis, and almost immediately injected much more urgency into England's attack. He appeared to have been given a fairly free role, though chose to concentrate most of his runs down the right. Jackson also upped his game and began to win more in the air, and hold up and lay off balls. The game got a bit more passionate and a USA player did enough to get himself booked in a match where the referee had clearly taken the stance that cards weren't a part of 'friendlies'.

Nick Crittenden
Nick Crittenden changed the game after coming on as sub.
With something under fifteen minutes to go Crittenden was put in down the right, worked his way into the box, and drilled an excellent shot across the keeper into the far corner. 1-1. England were then into their best spell of the second half, but a winner didn't look particularly likely in truth until Mr Crick decided that what looked to almost everyone else to be a pretty innocuous challenge should result in a penalty. The Americans were furious, and protested long and hard, but to no avail. Doncaster's Tim Ryan took the responsibility and hit the ball low and left. The keeper went the right way, but the shot was too good. 2-1. The last few minutes of normal time and three more of added on were played out with just a single scare as England made a bit of a mess in defence - one of the very few in the game. Shortly before the final whistle Neil Moore replaced Braithwaite.

Overall England will feel they did enough to win the game; the USA will feel they were a bit unlucky to lose it.

All pictures courtesy of Ros Pateman.

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Tues 19th March 2002
YTFC looks to the future - the 2001-02 Directors Report

In an unprecedented move (well, they've never done it before!) Yeovil Town FC have published on the club's official website the Agenda and Directors Report to the shareholders prior to the shareholders Annual General Meeting due to take place on April 18th 2002, and fascinating reading it makes.

We urge you to take the time to read both documents, but it is the Directors Report which is particularly interesting, setting out as it does the club's ambitions for the future and how it plans to finance those ambitions.

The main points are as follows:

The club will remain full-time at least until the end of the 2002-03 season when the situation will be reviewed. However, it's clear that at present full-time football is only sustainable because the majority shareholder, Jon Goddard-Watts has been prepared to fund the financial deficit through loans or by buying share issues - according to the report Mr Goddard-Watts has bought £523,293 of shares and loaned the club £609,000 already, and has undertaken to provide another £200,000 for the remainder of this season and to fund up to £250,000 to cover next season's budgeted cash deficit either by loans or through the issue of new shares.

Interestingly (or scarily, whichever way you look at it!) it seems that the club lost £81,000 last season, even after several Sky TV appearances, a good FA Cup run and some very high crowds towards the end of the season. This season the loss at present is expected to be around the £350,000 mark - next season that figure could even rise. As the Directors Report somewhat drily states, "We should not underestimate the challenge that putting the club in a more sustainable position after the 2002/2003 season will entail." Indeed!

One decision has been made that has been fairly well anticipated in advance: The reserve team will withdraw from the Screwfix Direct League next season. According to the report Gary Johnson has approved of this move, feeling that the reserve-team fixtures played against Football League clubs reserve sides on Wednesday afternoons offer better 'value' in terms of squad preparation for league games - which after all, should be the sole purpose of a reserve team. There is also the obvious benefit of allowing the beleaguered Huish Park pitch to recover following Conference matches.

And talking of the pitch and the facilities at Huish Park generally, the report goes on to say that plans are in place for various different improvements and developments at the ground, BUT (and it's a big BUT) emphasises that the finances and funding are not yet in place. As the report says, "We are pursuing possibilities for significant grant aid and looking at how we can maximise the input from the Club's current assets. We are well aware that all these works are high priority but can only be achieved when circumstances allow."

Improvements earmarked include relaying the pitch (cost £200,000+); improving disabled access to the 1st floor of the Main Stand (£70,000); relaying the astro-turf pitch (£125,000); and upgrading the 'top pitch' to Screwfix Direct League standards (£200,000).

The report makes for fascinating and sobering reading. It's clear that the price for some of the most entertaining and attractive football ever played by a Yeovil side is high - and is largely being financed by the generosity of one man. How sustainable that price will be in the future remains to be seen.

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Mon 18th March 2002
FA Trophy Semi-Final Draw

The Glovers have been drawn against Unibond League leaders Burton Albion in the FA Trophy semi-final. The first leg will take place on Saturday April 6th at Huish Park, with the 2nd leg at Eton Park a week later on Saturday April 13th.

Update
After discussion with the local police, the away leg at Burton's Eton Park ground has now been put back by a day (or 23 hours for the terminally pedantic) to 2pm on Sunday April 14th. Unofficially it appears that 1,300 tickets will be made available to Yeovil supporters, though this has yet to be confirmed by the club.

In the other semi-final, Morecambe will play Stevenage, 1st leg at Christie Park, 2nd leg at Broadhall Way.

The latest odds, courtesy of Surreysports, are as follows:

Yeovil 11/8
Stevenage 3/1
Burton 7/2
Morecambe 7/2

More news, including ticket allocations, as we get it.....

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Mon 18th March 2002
Johnson's Boys Beaten By Monkeys

Yeovil Towns long unbeaten run came to a sad end last week - off the pitch. Our man at the bar holding a potato juice, Fat Harry, reports:

Following weeks of excuses and ducking and diving Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson finally accepted a challenge from Fat Harry's Monkeys Dart team and the eighteen match winning run [at the time of writing - ed] was brought to a sudden and disastrous end!

The Monkeys fielded their usual league winning side whilst Gary Johnson brought with him skipper Terry Skiverton, son Lee, Colin Pluck, Roy O'Brien, Chris Weale and wee Andy Lindegaard.

The match format was three pairs matches, a three against three, four against four and seven singles.

Ricky Hyett and Jas Jarvis easily stuffed Lee Johnson and Roy O'Brien and Lee Johnson after the match finally started with little Lee needing to stand on a chair!

Yeovil hit back strongly though when Terry Skiverton and The Gaffer worked it right up a very disgruntled Fat "180" Harry who was playing like a complete novice (nun that is!!).

The Glovers then amazed everybody present when they went into the lead 2-1 as Chris Weale and Andy Lindegaard showed Boom Boom Mayo and Al White just how the game should be played.

They even had to survive a stewards enquiry over the length of Wealey's arms- he was almost sticking the darts in the board!!

As Fat Harry paced about the room worried to death about his credibility the Monkey's struck back when Ricky Hyett, Jase Jarvis and the Fat one took the Monkeys back in front in the beer leg.

A certain Mr.Skiverton had major problems getting his money out at the end of the game.

As for the Gaffer, well I'll tell you what - he's a bit of a bandit on the quiet and certainly plays anything to win!! Mind you he too did need the chair like his son!!

Yeovil hit back again though to go 4-3 up when Plucky joined the fray helping Wealey, Lindy and the Gaffer to victory. The singles though were where The Monkeys knew class along with copious amounts of artificial stimulants would take their toll.

As The Glovers stuck to their Orange Juice and Lemonade (well the Gaffer was present after all and they are good honest professional sportsmen!!) the lack of those artificial stimulants were bound to tell as The Monkeys took the singles 5-2 for an overall victory of 8-4.

Perhaps more to the point was the stunning game involving Fat Harry and Terry Skiverton.

This was a classic of a match with Harry's big match temperament seeing off Skivo's dogged determination.

Talk of a five a side football match was mentioned but as soon as even a mention of physical exercise and running was heard Harry was gone like a rat up a drainpipe!

In fact nobody had seen him move quite as quick for weeks!!

The evening ended with a typical Gary Johnson calorie controlled meal chips, chips and more chips, fried sausages, fried chicken and fried onion rings but don't blame the Monkeys - they didn't have to eat it.

YEOVIL TOWN: Weale, O'Brien, Skiverton, Johnson, Johnson, Lindegaard, Pluck. Subs: None

MONKEYS: Hyett, Jarvis, Fat One, Lawrence, White, Mayo, Parkman

Fat Harry's Man of the Match: Fat Harry of course for his stunning victory over Skivo!

Attendance:About 20

M.I.B. Watch: 0

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Sun 17th March 2002
Glovers Through To Trophy Semi's!

Yeovil Town reached the semi-finals of the FA Trophy for the first time in thirty years with a comprehensive 2-0 win at the Drill Field yesterday afternoon, the last time the Glovers will play at that stadium, hosts Northwich Victoria moving in with neighbours Witton Albion from next season prior to the building of an entirely new ground.

After a quiet start to to yesterday's quarter-final the Glovers, roared on by approximately 800 travelling fans, took a 35th minute lead through the inevitable Adam Stansfield and never looked back from there. Playing with ever-increasing confidence Yeovil piled the pressure on the Vics goal, the woodwork saving the home side twice before Carl Alford made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

Adam Stansfield was substituted at half-time following an ankle injury in the first half. The injury isn't thought to be serious, but could mean the player may have to pull out of the England semi-pro international v the USA on Wednesday - his condition will be assessed by the club on Monday.

Yeovil were content to soak up the somewhat ineffectual Northwich pressure in the second half, a task the defence accomplished with relative ease, goalkeeper Chris Weale barely having to save a shot in anger. One incident occured to spoil an almost perfect day - a clash between Northwich's Val Owen and Carl Alford led to punches being thrown and a red card apiece. It's understood that the Yeovil management at first sight saw Carl as far more sinned against than sinning and, depending on what the video of the incident shows, an appeal against his red card may be forthcoming. Whatever, the 10 men of the Glovers comfortably played out time against the 10 men of the Vics to reach the semi-finals of the Trophy for the first time in thirty years. That's the second time I've mentioned that now, but it bears repeating! The ytfc.net match report is now online.

In the other quarter-finals Burton Albion - the team that knocked Yeovil out of the Trophy in the 5th round last season - beat Chester 2-0; Stevenage scraped through by a single goal against Conference strugglers Stalybridge Celtic and Morecambe had a good 2-1 away win at Margate. The draw for the semi-finals takes place tomorrow (Monday) morning.

In the Conference, 2nd placed Boston had a comfortable 3-1 home win over Telford to move within a point of leaders Dagenham, who didn't play yesterday. Both teams are now 6 and 5 points ahead of the 3rd-placed Glovers with plenty of games in hand. But hey, neither are in the Trophy semi-finals! 4th-placed Doncaster's season appears to be imploding, striker and most expensive Conference player Justin Jackson being sent off in Donny's 3-1 defeat at struggling Woking.

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Thurs 14th March 2002
Vics Trophy Tie Looks Tricky

A Yeovil Town Reserves side boosted by several first-team players seeking to imrove fitness levels beat Backwell United 4-1 at Huish Park last night, goals coming from Mike Cooper with a brace, a Darren Way penalty and a debut goal for Bristol City triallist James Pike.

Talking of triallists, today's Western Gazette claims that it now appears unlikely that Pike's fellow City striker Damien Spencer will return to Huish Park this season after picking up an injury in the Glovers friendly at Exeter a fortnight ago; and Nigerian striker Ganiyu Owolabi, who returned to his Belgian base after going down with a muscle strain whilst at Huish Park has now also been diagnosed with a blood disorder and won't be returning to Somerset in the immediate future. In the meantime Winchester City forward Michael Jackson is training with Yeovil for a week, a statement from the Hampshire League Premier Division club reading: "Since joining Winchester City, Jackson has made a big impression and has attracted inquiries from several clubs. City are pleased to allow Jackson to train with Yeovil - this as an opportunity to forge links with them."

Yeovil's versatile winger/wing-back Nick Crittenden has been called into the England semi-pro squad (to hell with this 'National Game XI' crap!) ahead of next Wednesday's friendly v the USA at Stevenage - the first time Nick's consistency and versatility have been recognised at representative level and about time too! Nick will join fellow Glovers Terry Skiverton, Anthony Tonkin and Adam Stansfield in the squad.

Looking ahead to this Saturday's FA Trophy quarter-final tie at Northwich Victoria the Glovers will have to manage without winger Michael McIndoe who begins his 4-match suspension after being sent off in the 2-1 win over Hereford a fortnight ago. Injury doubts include Darren Way who has a dodgy hamstring - though the player completed 90 minutes for the reserves vs Backwell last night - and Kim Grant who has an achilles problem. Adam Lockwood returns to the squad after serving a one-match ban against Farnborough last weekend.

Around 1,000 Glovers fans are expected to make the trip up to Cheshire on Saturday. Speaking to the Yeovil Express, manager Gary Johnson praised the supporters, saying, "The fans have had some great away days with Yeovil this season and I hope Saturday is going to be another one. They have been fantastic for us this season and I am sure they will get the atmosphere going at Northwich and make it feel like a home game for us. We really appreciate their support and I hope we can give them something to really celebrate by getting to Villa Park."

The Ciderspace Guide to Northwich, including directions, pub recommendations and our own ill-informed insightful thoughts on the Vics and everything about them can be found by clicking here.

In other news from around the Conference, Dover have acted quickly to replace Neville Southall as manager after sacking the former Everton and Wales keeper yesterday - Clive Walker (no, not the former Chelsea/Woking/Cheltenham Clive Walker, a different gentleman with the same name) has taken over the Crabble hotseat. The best of British luck to Clive - he's going to need it.

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Wed 13th March 2002
Johnson Goes Fishing For Pike

Yeovil Town are giving a trial to 19-year-old Bristol City striker James Pike in tonight's reserve team fixture vs Backwell United at Huish Park. Pike is out-of-contract at the end of the season and has already been told that he has no future at Ashton Gate. Manager Gary Johnson, speaking to the Western Daily Press, said: "James is well known to our scout Frank Leworthy, who knew him when they were both at Everton. When we found out he was being released we asked him to come down and I feel it's important to see him in a game."

Last night's clash at Belle Vue between Doncaster and Boston went the visitors way, Boston winning a tight encounter 1-0. The result pushes the Glovers down to 3rd place in the table. Both leaders Dagenham and 2nd-placed Boston have 3 games in hand over Yeovil.

Top of the table, 12th March 2002
Home Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1. Dagenham & Redbridge 30 9 6 2 26 17 9 4 0 30 16 64
2. Boston United 30 9 3 3 41 20 9 3 3 23 13 60
3. Yeovil Town 33 5 6 5 24 25 11 4 2 34 20 58
4. Doncaster Rovers 32 7 5 4 27 19 7 7 2 25 14 54

Neville Southall has been sacked as Dover manager - less than 3 months after replacing previous boss Gary Bellamy. The crisis hit Kent club are bottom of the Conference and are at present existing on a week-by-week basis thanks to crippling debts (in Conference terms - one week of Sol Campbell's wages would probably be enough to sort the problem).

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Tues 12th March 2002
Money Money Money (It's A Rich Man's World)

Former Glovers boss Colin Addison has parted company with 3rd Division strugglers Swansea City following a change of ownership at the cash-strapped club. Despite keeping the Swans - £1.7 million in debt - afloat in Division 3 and by common consent doing a fine job at the Vetch Field on virtually non-existent resources, such is the appalling state of the club's finances that both Addo and coach Peter Nicholas have been released and replaced by senior players already on the club's books - Nicky Cusack and Roger Freestone - in a cost-cutting measure. Addo doesn't seem to have much luck with boards these days.

And talking of money problems old rivals Weymouth are also going through desperate times right now. Heavily in debt and losing around £2,000 a week, the Terras have shipped out four of their highest earning players to rival clubs in the Dr Martens League and now the Non-League Paper reports that the remaining players played for nothing in the 1-1 draw vs Folkestone last weekend after the club admitted that there was no money available to pay the players wages.

At least Terras fans can console themselves with the thought that they probably won't be relegated this season - unlike our other local rivals Bath City, whose financial problems have also been well-documented and who have now slipped into the relegation zone in the Dr Martens Premier League, mainly thanks to playing budgets being halved this season and the appointment of a manager prepared to do the job without being paid himself.

It would be easy for Glovers fans to gloat at our local rivals misfortunes, but at Ciderspace we're going to try and resist the temptation - it was nearly ten years ago, in December 1992, when Neil Coates scored a last minute winner for Yeovil in an FA Cup 2nd Round replay at Hereford to set up a televised 3rd Round home tie v Arsenal - a series of matches which in effect saved Yeovil Town from bankruptcy. Since then, thanks to the appointment of a new board at the time and much investment and hard work, the Glovers have gone from strength to strength (though there's no room for complacency) while our local rivals have stagnated and are now looking into the abyss - just as we were a decade ago. The best of luck to both Bath and Weymouth in these troubled times, we hope both clubs can pull through and come back leaner and fitter - even if only for selfish reasons! We are diminished ourselves without serious local rivals to compete against. There but for the grace of god....

Back to more mundane concerns anyway - Conference leaders Dagenham won 3-1 at Stevenage last night to go 6 points clear of the 2nd-placed Glovers at the top of the table with 3 games still in hand. 4th place meets 3rd tonight at Belle Vue when Doncaster Rovers entertain Boston United in another crunch match with both teams desperately needing the 3 points to sustain their respective title challenges, though for now it appears to be Dagenham's to lose.

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Sun 10th March 2002
Glovers Keep The Pressure On At The Top

Yeovil Town extended their fine unbeaten run to 14 Conference games in a row yesterday afternoon with a comfortable 3-1 win at troubled Farnborough. The 800-odd Glovers fans who made the trip up the A303 to Cherrywood Road gave on-loan Farnborough keeper Tony Pennock a hero's welcome, not that Ed the Duck had much to do in an uneventful first half. The Glovers put in a much improved performance after the break; an Adam Stansfield cross led to a Tim O'Shea own-goal in the 53rd minute to put the visitors 1-0 up and super-sub Chris Giles made it 2-0 on 86 minutes. It wouldn't be Yeovil however if they made things too easy for themselves and the fans! A minute later and Farnborough had pulled a goal back - Dean Green scoring to set up a rather more tense period of injury-time than the Gloves would have wanted. However it was new England squad member Adam Stansfield who had the last word, popping up again to make the game safe at 3-1, his 13th goal in 19 appearances since joining the club last November. The ytfc.net match report is now online.

These are uncertain times for Farnborough fans. The planned merger with Kingstonian, always a non-starter in most sensible people's eyes, has now apparently been abandoned after Boro chairman Graham Westley spat the dummy after finding out that the K's administrators had also been having discussions with other consortiums intersted in taking over at Kingsmeadow. Having alienated most of the Cherrywood Road faithful with increasingly provocative statements over the past couple of weeks it's getting more and more difficult to see where the future lies for both Westley and Farnborough - whatever else Boro fans may say there's no denying that Westley has invested a great deal of money and effort over the last 3 years, saving the club from bankruptcy when he first took over.

Yesterday's result left the Glovers in 2nd place in the table, 3 points behind leaders Dagenham & Redbridge whose match against Hereford at Edgar Street was postponed yesterday after part of the Meadow End roof blew off in high winds. At Ciderspace we're surprised that anyone even noticed the damage, such is the state of the ramshackle tip that Bulls supporters are pleased to call 'home'. 3rd-placed Boston, with the aid of 2 hotly-disputed penalties, came back from being 2-1 down at home to bottom club Dover to win 4-2, Daryl Clare scoring all 4 goals. And 4th-placed Doncaster kept up the pressure at the top, grinding out a 1-0 win over Telford United at Belle Vue. Yeovil have a break from league action for a week now, travelling to the Drill Field for what should be the very last time next Saturday for the FA Trophy quarter-final tie vs a Jimmy Quinn inspired Northwich Victoria.

Top of the table, 9th March 2002
Home Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1. Dagenham & Redbridge 29 9 6 2 26 17 8 4 0 27 15 61
2. Yeovil Town 33 5 6 5 24 25 11 4 2 34 20 58
3. Boston United 29 9 3 3 41 20 8 3 3 22 13 57
4. Doncaster Rovers 31 7 5 3 27 18 7 7 2 25 14 54
5. Southport 33 8 6 3 31 18 4 6 6 11 16 48

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Fri 8th March 2002
YTISA Fanzine Back On Sale

Issue Ten of the YTISA Fanzine 'Independent Barmy Army' is now out and ready to hit the streets, available from all good newsagents the length and breadth of the country. Well that's not quite true, but it will be on sale at the Conference fixture at Farnborough tomorrow.

The latest edition contains the usual mix of editorial comment, a look back at last season's trip to the Reebok Stadium where the Glovers narrowly lost to Bolton, the latest installment of Glovers Big Brother, features on Yeovil exiles abroad and oop north and lots more besides. Can you get better value anywhere else for a mere 50p? We think not.

If you're not going to Farnborough tomorrow and you would like to reserve a copy of the fanzine, email editor Stew Bratherton at stewartbratherton@hotmail.com and he will see you right. Any copies not sold tomorrow will be available a week on Saturday at the FA Trophy game v Northwich.

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Thurs 7th March 2002
Johnson Reassures Collis

Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson insists Steve Collis' long-term future is at Huish Park, despite loaning the goalkeeper to Aldershot Town.

Collis has joined the Ryman Premier League side for a month, but Johnson said: "Steve has definitely got a future at our club. I want him to be at Yeovil Town. He is a very good goalkeeper but I just want him to play more competitive football."

"He hasn't been getting a game because Chris Weale played really well when Jon Sheffield got injured. But there is no difference between the three of them."

Johnson denied that Collis is treating the move as a step down, adding: "Aldershot are a good club and I trust Stuart Cash with him. Steve knows I am doing the right thing by him."

Johnson also paid tribute to Adam Stansfield after he was selecte to make his debut alongside team-mates Terry Skiverton and Anthony Tonkin in the England National Game XI to face USA on March 20th.

He said: "I have never seen anyone improve day by day as much as Adam has this season, and it is a great honour for him to be picked. We are very proud of them all and we see their selection as recognition of the work we're doing at the club."

[Source: Nationwide Conference Newsletter]

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Wed 6th March 2002
Islanders Swamped

Yeovil Town saw off the challenge of Ryman League promotion favourites and current FA Trophy holders Canvey Island in the rearranged FA Trophy 5th Round tie at Huish Park last night, the Glovers coming out on top by 2-1.

The entertaining match was a real contrast of styles, Yeovil's newly direct method of play contrasting sharply with Canvey's efforts to play passing football - a thankless task on the dreadful Huish Park pitch. Adam Stansfield celebrated his England call-up with a goal to put Yeovil 1-0 up on 17 minutes and a Nick Crittenden penalty made the game safe late in the second-half. Canvey scored a consolation through Paul Cobb on the stroke of full-time, but it was too little, too late for the visitors. The Ciderspace match report page is now online.

Yeovil now go on to play Northwich Victoria at the Drill Field on Saturday March 16th in the quarter-finals of the competition, meaning that the scheduled home Conference fixture vs Boston will have to be rearranged.

In other news from the club two outstanding fixtures have now been re-scheduled - Boston United will now visit Huish Park on Tuesday 26th March, 7.45pm kick-off; and the Glovers will entertain Barnet on Tuesday April 16th, 7.45pm kick-off. And young goalkeeper Steve Collis has joined Ryman League Aldershot on a month's loan in order to play some first-team football. Manager Gary Johnson has emphasised however that Collis remains very much part of his plans for the future.

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Mon 4th March 2002
Trio Given England Chance

A trio of Yeovil Town players will get a chance of representing their country on March 20th at Broadhall Way, Stevenage as the England Semi-Pro side (now given the particularly ikky name of the England National Game XI) take on a United States of America representative side.

Step forward and congratulations to club captain Terry Skiverton, left-sided defender Anthony Tonkin and striker Adam Stansfield who will join an all-Conference squad in a fortnight's time. The selection of the trio is an interesting measure of the pedigree inside Gary Johnson's squad - no other Conference side has three or more players selected for this month's squad. The only surprise is that once again Nick Crittenden has missed out on a call-up.

Whilst Skiverton's selection is no great surprise, and Tonkin's inclusion is no doubt based on a growing reputation and his performance in a recent FA XI representative game, the selection of Tiverton based Adam Stansfield is nothing short of sensational given that last November he was plying his trade in the Screwfix Direct Premier League with Elmore. However, since joining the Glovers, Stansfield has netted eleven times in a green and white shirt, and has been racing up the Conference goalscoring charts.

The full squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers:
Wayne Brown (Chester C)
Andy Woods (Scarborough)

Defenders:
Simon Travis (Forest Green Rovers)
Terry Skiverton (Yeovil T)
Jason Goodliffe (Stevenage Borough)
Tim Ryan (Doncaster Rovers)
Neil Moore (Telford Utd)
Anthony Tonkin (Yeovil T)

Midfielders:
Gary Patterson (Farnborough T)
Stewart Drummond (Morecambe)
Nick Roddis (Margate)
Simon Wormull (Stevenage Borough)

Forwards:
Warren Patmore (Woking)
Junior McDougald (Dagenham & Redbridge)
Robbie Talbot (Morecambe)
Adam Stansfield (Yeovil T)

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Sun 3rd March 2002
Bulls hit By Late Late Show

Yeovil Town kept up their belated charge for the Conference title by beating Hereford United 2-1 at Huish Park yesterday - but the Glovers left it late, the winner coming in the 2nd minute of the scheduled 3 minutes of injury time, and that after Yeovil had been reduced to ten men following the 74th minute dismissal of Michael McIndoe.

The Glovers should have taken the lead after 20 minutes when Chris Giles was brought down in the box for a penalty - unfortunately for Giles his subsequent spot-kick was comfortably saved. The visitors were unlucky themselves not to get on the scoresheet shortly afterwards when a Paul Parry shot hit the crossbar and bounced back down - over the line for a goal according to most in a position to see; not so according to the two men whose opinions count, the referee and his assistant. Nick Crittenden eventually opened the scoring just before the break to put the Glovers 1-0 up at half-time, but Hereford equalised through the impressive Paul Parry 2 minutes into the second half. Michael McIndoe was controversially red-carded on 74 minutes for what the referee deemed to be violent conduct following a clash with John Snape, but Yeovil had the last laugh when substitute Andy Lindegaard popped up with the winner from the edge of the box deep into injury time. The Ciderspace match report page is now online.

Unfortunately the match brought the morons out of the woodwork - small numbers of 'supporters' from both sides were seemingly intent on causing trouble throughout the match, though great credit must be given to the Huish Park stewards for preventing any problems in the ground itself. After the match a potentially nasty confrontation outside the ground was easily dispersed by baton-wielding police - final score, Yobs 0 Police/Stewards 2.

The result leaves Yeovil in 2nd place in the table, 3 points behind leaders Dagenham and a point ahead of 3rd-placed Boston. 4th-placed Doncaster kept up their challenge with a 3-2 win at Nuneaton. Dagenham entertain Boston, live on Sky TV on Monday evening, 8pm kick-off.

Top of the table, 2nd March 2002
Home Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1. Dagenham & Redbridge 28 8 6 2 25 17 8 4 0 27 15 58
2. Yeovil Town 32 5 6 5 24 25 10 4 2 31 19 55
3. Boston United 27 8 3 3 37 18 8 3 2 22 12 54
4. Doncaster Rovers 30 6 5 3 26 18 7 7 2 25 14 51
5. Southport 32 8 6 3 31 18 4 6 5 10 13 48

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Sun 3rd March 2002
Moaning King Over The Water

Canvey Island manager Jeff King has virtually accused Yeovil Town of deliberately manufacturing the postponement of the F.A. Trophy Fifth Round tie last Tuesday night.
I understand Yeovil put the covers on too late. The postponement seems very convenient as it gave them a break after three hard games in a row. I'm also upset that the match should be re-arranged for another mid-week evening kick-off when most of our supporters can't get to Yeovil in time. We will have less than 100 supporters there. I think the whole thing is a disgrace. The F.A. should have got there act together and insisted the match was played on a Saturday.

The reponse of Gary Johnson was: Jeff has got it wrong - there was no way the game could be played and we have certainly not pulled a fast one. We were desperate to play - we have a big enough squad to cope.
Club Secretary Jean Cotton added: We have had a massive amount of rain. Some of it got onto the pitch last Saturday when our home reserve game had to be postponed. We had the covers on since Sunday, but the pitch inspection revealed it was still too wet.

We at Ciderspace would be interested to know if King has phoned Huish Park with his 100% guaranteed down to the nearest minute prediction for the weather in the Yeovil area between now and next Tuesday, so the club knows exactly when to have the covers down and when to take them up. Such a skill, given the vagaries of the British climate, must have King in constant demand by organizations the length and breadth of the land.

As for his complaints about the scheduling of the tie: of course the fixture list should be further thrown into turmoil so that Canvey can play on a Saturday. Which one would King like? Couldn't have it clashing with his nephew's birthday party for instance......... let us know, Jeff.
The scheduling of postponed ties and replays follows a standard formula set by the Governing Body of each competition, and always has. As King presumably knows quite well. Real storms enough in the West Country over the last weeks without Jeff King trying to create his own in tea-cups........

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Last Updated 31st March 2002


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