Yeovil Town gained a draw in their opening pre-season friendly against Hereford United on Saturday afternoon, as both sides took to the field with new look sides. An Ed Upson strike looked to have won the match after it gave the Glovers a 41st minute lead they maintained for the bulk of the second half. But an error by goalkeeping coach Gareth Stewart gifted Lloyd Mackin an equaliser that on the balance of play the Bulls deserved.
Both sides went into the game with revamped sides for the game - in fact the Bulls included eleven trialists across the 90 minutes. For the Glovers things have been rather more settled with ten new signings in advance of the first friendly, and six of those were on display in the starting line-up, with former Southampton centre-back Aarran Racine, Oxford City defender James Clarke plus Salif Cisse - the brother of Kalifa Cisse - joining them as trialists. Only Ed Upson and Gavin Williams represented the old guard for the game. Dominic Blizzard missed the game with a broken hand sustained in training, whilst Curtis Haynes-Brown travelled but watched the game from the sidelines through injury.
Upson's opening goal came towards the end of the first period, with Cisse providing the build-up play, as he worked his way into the box before squaring the ball back to Ed Upson. The midfielder's shot took a deflection as it landed in the back of the net from the edge of the box, but was good enough to put the Glovers a goal to the good at the break.
Gary Johnson indicated that most players would only be able to last 45 to 60 minutes at this stage of the season, and he was true to his word at the break, leaving just Aarran Racine and Rohan Ince on the pitch for the second half, as nine substitutes entered the field, including former Swansea City duo Joe Walsh and Casey Thomas. Walsh slotted in as a left-back, whilst Thomas partnered Reuben Reid up front.
The second half side was less fluent than its opening counterparts, even if Sam Foley managed to land the ball in the back of the net three minutes after the break - only to have a linesman's flag deny him. With 15 minutes remaining, Racine and Ince became the final two players to be withdrawn - replaced by James Clarke and Lewis Young. This was an opportunity to try players in different positions - Clarke had played as a right-back in the first period but now switched to a centre-back position, whilst right-winger Young was given a chance in the full-back position on that flank. As a result Luke Ayling moved into midfield to cover Ince's withdrawal in that position.
With four minutes remaining, Hereford grabbed an equaliser, after Gareth Stewart was caught in possession, with Lloyd Macklin taking full advantage and curling the ball into an empty net. Not quite the the end result that Gary Johnson wanted and perhaps part of the reason why Gary Johnson described the game as having 'the good, the bad and the ugly' about it. With eight more friendlies to go before the real thing starts, thankfully there's plenty of time for retuning the parts that Johnson may not have enjoyed watching.
Final Score: Hereford United 1 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Ed Upson (0-1, 41 mins), Lloyd Macklin (1-1, 86 mins).
Yeovil Town: (first half)
Marek Stech; James Clarke, Aarran Racine, Byron Webster, Jamie McAllister; Lewis Young, Ed Upson, Rohan Ince, Salif Cisse; Gavin Williams ; James Hayter
Yeovil Town: (second half)
Gareth Stewart; Luke Ayling, Richard Hinds, Aarran Racine, Joe Walsh; Keanu Marsh-Brown, Sam Foley, Rohan Ince, Nathan Ralph; Reuben Reid, Casey Thomas
Other Substitutions: Lewis Young (76 mins for Rohan Ince), James Clarke (77 mins for Aarran Racine).
Players Not Used: Mitch Brundle, Will Agbo.
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