Gary Johnson was forced into one change to the side that saw off Bristol Rovers last weekend, with Scott Guyett
coming into the side for club captain Terry Skiverton who was serving a single suspension. Guyett was coming up
against the side he left for Yeovil, and the only other change was that Darren Way took over the skipper duties.
Chester had proved to be one of the most ugly physical sides to visit Yeovil in recent years when the two sides
met in October, picking up five yellow cards and a long string of cynical fouls. But there was hope that the Deva
Stadium game would be a far cleaner affair, with one of the chief protagonists in the home fixture - Cortez Belle -
serving a suspension for his third red card of the season.
Some hope! From the second the game kicked off, it was pretty obvious what sort of tactics Chester had set out
to play, with Kevin Gall getting clattered with a thigh high tackle by Sean Hessey with less than three minutes
on the clock. The Glovers are usually slow starters so it was pleasing to note the positive way that they set
about the game with the wind at their backs, despite Chester flying in with arms, legs and elbows at every possible
On-loan Liverpool winger Robbie Foy forced Chris Weale into an excellent save inside the first ten minutes but
just a couple of minutes later, the Glovers drew first blood. Lee Johnson thumped a free kick into the box from
close to the dugouts and when Bartosz Tarachulski headed the ball back to the edge of the area, it was teed up
perfectly for Arron DAVIES to crash a shot into the back of the net, leaving the Chester defence mesmorised
by the speed and simplicity at which they'd been undone. A well deserved lead based on the early play.
Colin Miles had been clattered by Robbie Foy early on and after attempting to carry on, ultimately found that
impossible and with his knee giving out, a stretcher had to be called for, and Kevin Amankwaah was drafted in
to play in the centre of defence.
The Glovers were well on top despite losing Miles so early and were doing well to keep their football on
track despite all the provocation. Kevin Gall paired up with Andy Lindegaard on the right wing, setting Lindy up
nicely on the overlap and as the ball was rolled along the byline by the right-back, he cut it back to Phil Jevons
who teed up Kevin Gall. The winger's shot went wide, but what it was showing was that Chester weren't getting
within a mile of Yeovil's passing.
A touch of handbags broke out midway through the first half when Bartosz Tarachulski and Chester's Stewart
Drummond went up for a header and the latter went down clutching his face. Chester's players took that as an
opportunity to get as many pushes and shoves on Bartosz as they possibly could and after the melee had calmed
down, Bartosz was booked for the foul, whilst Darren Edmondson was also carded for being one of the Chester players
to lay into Bartosz after the whistle had blown. Strangely after the referees scribbling in his notebook, Drummond
made one of the quickest recoveries known to man.
After 32 minutes though, a dominant Yeovil doubled their lead. A long throw from Michael Rose was knocked back
into the path of Darren Way by Phil Jevons. Way seemed to be fouled, but as the loose ball ran forward to Jevons,
the Yeovil player was quick to react and on reaching the penalty box, nudged the ball a yard forward and was
chopped down by Chester's Richard Hope. A clear foul, with the only debating point worth considering was
whether the tackle was inside the box or not. Video replays later tended to support the referee's decision
and Phil JEVONS doubled Yeovil's lead by sending Wayne Brown the wrong way.
Yeovil nearly grabbed a third when Kevin Amankwaah headed down a Lee Johnson corner but Phil Jevons fired
just over the bar. The half ended with another attack of Chester thuggery, with Robbie Foy receiving the
yellow card he should have received earlier with another awful foul - this time on Scott Guyett. Whilst
some football teams are overly competitive, some are late with their tackles through not being able to keep up
with the pace of the opposition, and some are just plain clumsy, it was dreadful to see an opposition play
football in such a style - seemingly going out of their way to leave the boot in. Whether this was to try
and rough up the opposition, or to provoke them into a stupid retaliation it was difficult to tell, but it was
so widespread it had to have been an instruction from the dressing room and it was a miracle that no-one had
risen to the home side's baiting.