Yeovil Town drew their first home pre-season friendly at lunchtime today, as they saw out a goal a-piece with local rivals Bristol Rovers. With the Plymouth Argyle friendly having been switched to Dorchester Town's ground, this was a belated chance for Glovers home fans to see the team play in a schedule that had taken in four away fixtures. They witnessed two quickfire goals, with Rohan Ince scoring his first goal since arriving on loan from Chelsea, but that was cancelled out quickly by Oliver Norburn's chipped attempt four minutes later in an evenly contested game.
Once again, Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson stuck to the plan of selecting his side's strongest starting line-up and the one that he doubtless has in mind at present for the start of the 2012-13 season. With only Dominic Blizzard's broken hand providing a treatment table problem, the other substitutes named were the remaining members of the club's professional squad.
Rovers started the more fluently, forcing Marek Stetch into a number of early saves. A cross-goal attempt from Michael Smith was tipped away, then former Glovers trialist Jim Paterson's header from close range was kept out. Glovers boss Johnson started watching the game in the Main Stand, but within ten or fifteen minutes came down to join Terry Skiverton in the dugouts, barking out instructions and clearly not too happy with the start.
Eventually they began to get it together, with two or three long range chances from Ed Upson threatening the Rovers goals. Keanu Marsh-Brown was also put through, but shot straight at keeper Conor Gough. Upson and centre-back Byron Webster were particularly impressive in central positions, with the Glovers just lacking a bit in the final ball. At the other end, Rovers shot narrowly wide twice in the lead-up to the break. Perhaps the main criticism was that neither team were finding the target enough when they did get in on goal.
The second period saw Lewis Young replace Gavin Williams at half time. Once again, Ed Upson continued to pull the strings in midfield, as one of the stand out performers. On the hour mark, a double substitution saw Gozie Ugwu and Sam Foley introduced, with Foley slotting into a midfield position, meaning that Rohan Ince pushed back into a centre-half position vacated by Richard Hinds. James Hayter made way for Ugwu.
The Glovers took the lead with 13 minutes remaining of a second period that had been a little bit too much like the pre-season friendly that it was. Even though Rohan Ince was occupying a deeper position since the hour mark, he managed to get himself space 25 yards out from goal, and fired a brilliant drive into the bottom corner to give Yeovil the lead, with Rovers keeper Conor Gough appearing to mis-time his dive for the shot, with the ball disappearing under his body.
That lead though only lasted four minutes, with Rovers hitting back with their first attempt on goal following that opener. Two of Rovers substitutes combined, with Joe Anyinsah feeding Oliver Norburn, splitting the defence in two and seeing the latter chip the ball over the advancing Marek Stech for a well taken equaliser.
In the closing minutes Lewis Young had a chance to seal the game when he cut in from the right but put his end shot over the bar, but in the end the draw was probably the fair result in a match that both sides had their opportunities across the whole 90 minutes.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Bristol Rovers 1.
Scorers: Rohan Ince (78 mins, 1-0), Oliver Norburn (83 mins, 1-1)
Luke Ayling, Richard Hinds, Byron Webster, Jamie McAllister
Keanu Marsh-Brown, Ed Upson, Rohan Ince, Gavin Williams
Reuben Reid, James Hayter
Gareth Stewart, Sam Foley (61 mins for Richard Hinds), Lewis Young (46 mins for Gavin Williams), Nathan Ralph (75 mins for Keanu Marsh-Brown), Gozie Ugwu (61 mins for James Hayter), Curtis Haynes-Brown (78 mins for Jamie McAllister)
Adam Virgo, Pat Keary, Jim Paterson
Michael Smith, Matt Gill, Seanan Clucas, Lee Brown
Fanbian Broghammer, Matt Harrold, David Clarkson
Eliot Richards (for David Clarkson), Oliver Norburn (for Matt Gill), Joe Anyinsah (for Fanbian Broghammer), Wayne Brown (for Seanan Clucas), Ross Staley, Ollie Clarke, Chris Zebroski, Shaquille Hunter (for Matt Harrold)
Attendance: 1,125 (including 223 Bristol Rovers fans).
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