The game was brought forward 24 hours at the request of the visitors, who had a League One match at Swindon the following day. Yeovil lined up with three trialists, the returning Sosthene Yao (West Ham), his team mate David Shaw, and David Poole of Manchester United. The young Bristol City side included trialist Dave Burborough, a striker from Bishop Sutton.
I have listed both sides as playing 4-3-3, but there was much discussion with those sitting around me regarding the formations! For the Glovers Poole and Yao were slightly withdrawn from Brown, giving almost a 4-3-2-1 set up, while City seemed to begin with a 4-4-2 but Ballinger soon moved up alongside the other two strikers giving the positions detailed above.
Andy Lindegaard started well, and had the first crack at goal after his pass to David Poole on the right was returned to him, but his shot sailed over the bar. The first corner was won by Yeovil in the 8th minute, and taken by Poole. Ten minutes into the game Sosthene Yao just missed a chance of a header after a good cross and soon after the Glovers earned a second corner. When City did press forward Dave Woozley made a fine tackle on Luke Ballinger to thwart an attack. Poole impressed for Yeovil, both with his direct attacking play and hustling and closing down the Robins defence.
It was just over a quarter of hour into the match when City won their first corner, which was soon followed by Yeovil’s third. City were having trouble getting out of their own half, but when Elliott Benyon did run toward the Yeovil goal a foul by Colin Miles earned the visitors a free kick 25 yards out and Miles a yellow card.
After 20 minutes a good ball by Lindegaard led to a Yao cross, but Marvin Brown was unable to keep his header down. A lovely turn and shot by Andrejs Stolcers was well saved by Clint Davies diving to his right. Both Poole and David Shaw continued to impress for Yeovil, and with City not getting much of the play a little frustration saw fouls on Brown and Lindegaard in quick succession.
Stolcers played in Lindegaard, and he ran at goal, riding a couple of challenges, and when the ball fell to Brown his close range shot was well stopped by Davies. Within a minute Yao tried a shot, but it was again well blocked. Past the half hour a rasping shot from Brown narrowly missed the left hand upright, and good work from Stolcers and Brown let Lindegaard try a shot which cleared the crossbar.
A great run by Yao saw him beat Griff Jones before running into the City penalty area. After an Amankwaah run, his cross was headed out for a throw by the corner flag. A left foot shot after a good run by Poole went just over the bar. Woozley again excelled in preventing City from getting a chance to go for goal, and although the visiting attack had not shown much of note I felt this was largely down to him and I had him marked as the Man of the Half!
With five minutes of the first period remaining Shaw tried his luck from about 30 yards, but keeper Davies saved easily. Another fine run from Poole was followed by a pass to Yao on the left, and he slid the ball into Stolcers in the centre but an offside flag ended the move. On the stroke of half time Chris Weale chested the ball down and it ran out play, giving City a corner which Stolcers was back to head clear.