Yeovil Town's playoff hopes were left hanging by a thread after a harsh last minute winner by Boston United
sent them home with nothing to show for a great second half performance at York Street today. Were it not for
only one of the likely playoff contenders gaining victory today, Gary Johnson would already be preparing for
the 2004-05 season as of this evening. As it happens, the Glovers are now stuck in a "win or bust" situation
for their remaining matches - a factor which heavily contributed to Boston's 93rd minute winner.
Johnson went for a radically different line-up to start the match with Simon Weatherstone starting up front
against his old club, who gave him a friendly welcome back to Lincolnshire. Adam Stansfield occupied an unorthadox
left wing position with Adam Lockwood slotting in at an unfamiliar left-back spot, giving Paul Terry the opposite
flank. Colin Pluck failed to recover from a back injury sustained during Saturday whilst Kevin Gall travelled
with the squad but was relegated out of the sixteen.
Somehow, players up against their former sides always seem to be guaranteed to score. It took Simon WEATHERSTONE
just four minutes to ensure that fine tradition continued - sending a rasping 25 yard drive into the the top of the
net giving the Glovers a dream start.
That was just as well as Boston had the best of the opening quarter hour and soon were back on level terms.
Graeme Jones had a fierce shot at goal but found Lee Johnson close to his own goal-line to clear the attempt, whilst
numerous other Yeovil defenders had to block half-attempts in a crowded penalty area.
Like many of the goals scored this afternoon, Boston's equaliser carried great controversy. Darren Way had gone
down with an ankle injury a few minutes previously but had attempted to continue. When he decided he could not, he
signalled to the bench and Nick Crittenden stripped off in readiness. Way went down for a second time at this
point and referee Eddie Ilderton instructed him to leave the field, but refused to allow the substitution to
take place. Exactly what rule Mr Ilderton was referring to in making this decision is not clear.
The consequence was that after much arguing, the match official forced Way to leave the field, and Boston were
level 15 seconds later from a throw-in. Kevan HURST, who Way had been picking up earlier, got all the space
he needed and doubtless with a 'thank you' to Mr Ilderton was given freedom to run at the Yeovil defence and slam
the ball past Steve Collis from just inside the box.
Boston's tannoy puts out faked taped crowd noise out to try and create the presence of an atmosphere at York Street
and this fantasically bad concept was to get more airings as the afternoon continued.
Yeovil weathered that early Boston pressure and the game gradually evened up with first Adam Stansfield, then
Gavin Williams exploiting the Boston left flank. Both moves resulted in the players cutting inside and forcing
Boston keeper Paul Bastock into what were fairly comfortable saves. Nick Crittenden blasted another attempt over
after a Lee Matthews knock-down.
Kevan Hurst tested Steve Collis when he shot from a narrow angle, and the same player set up Tom Bennett with
a right wing cross that saw Bennett's flick turned over the crossbar by Collis. But right on the stroke of half
time, controversy reigned once again when Mr Ilderton blew up for what seemed to these eyes to be a
ball-winning tackle from Paul Terry. Up stepped David NOBLE who put in a cross into the box from the
flank and as his attempt to find other home players evaded everyone, Steve Collis was left scrambling for air as the
ball bounced once and rose into the net for a freak goal that gave Boston the half time advantage.