The last time Yeovil Town played a match in which they had no absolute interest in the outcome was in April 2003.
Chester City were the opponents with the Nationwide Conference title already won. Entry into the Football League was
beckoning and none of us knew what was likely to follow. I doubt that too many people would have believed that 138
games into Yeovil Town's journey into the Football League that the first 'meaningless' fixture would finally
appear on the cards.
Not that the visitors would have seen the game as 'meaningless'. Colchester United, the first club to play a
competitive fixture at Huish Park, were also hoping that Huish Park would see their last match in League One - the
Essex side tantalisingly one point away from automatic promotion. Thus 1,600 Essex boys and girls were in attendance
to complement the three home sides of the ground that were also filled nearly to capacity to see out the final
match of the 2005/06 season.
Steve Thompson selected the same starting line-up for the third game running - it can be no coincidence surely,
that form returned to the Yeovil line-up at a point when they were able to offer on the field stability rather than
the mass of changes that have been in the main forced upon Steve Thompson this season.
The match started with the Glovers taking the game to Colchester - shooting towards the packed away end. Craig
Rocastle forced an early chance but goalkeeper Dean Gerken smothered the attempt. But in an end-to-end opening 20 minute
period, Colchester went close when Chris Iwelumo knocked the ball across the face of the area to Greg Halford whose
stinging shot was parried by Steve Collis but only partially. Just as well then that skipper Terry skiverton was stood
on the goal line to head the ball away and out for a corner. From the resultant set piece, Phil Jevons of all people
was deep inside the six yard box ready to hack the ball away from close to his own goal line.
Phil Jevons has developed a bit of a hot streak at the end of this season and he gave Colchester fans and players
a real scare in the 18th minute when a quick turn with the ball gave him the space he needed on the corner of the
penalty area and before you knew what was coming, a shot was lashed on goal, with Gerken somehow getting something
in the way of the shot, knocking it onto the post and watching as the ball ricocheted out into play. 1,600 travellers
from Essex heaved a big sigh of relief!
Those sighs went to screams a minute or two later when Terry Skiverton won a header inside the penalty box,
flooring Scott Vernon in the process, but the on-loan striker's going to ground did appear to be a little after the
event to say the least. Those kindly folk in the Westland Stand did the gentlemanly thing upon hearing that Brentford
had gone a goal up at Bournemouth with a rousing chorus of "1-0 to the Brentford" but the Colchester fans were having
none of it, convinced that it was still going to be their day. Chris Iwelumo tried to get in front of Terry Skiverton
as Colchester pressurised the Yeovil defence with a Greg Halford cross, but in the end he got too far in front of the
Yeovil captain, landing his attempt into the advertising hoardings.
A classic Yeovil counter-attack though kept Colchester on their toes. David Poole skinned Jamal Campbell-Ryce for
pace out on the flank and when he put the ball across the face of the Colchester goal, Phil Jevons was there, right
place, right time, but his shot flashed a yard wide of the post.
It's not often that referee Andre Marriner comes in for criticism from these parts but four minutes before the
break, he certainly got plenty from the Yeovil crowd. Colin Miles executed a superb sliding tackle on Greg Halford,
only to find Marriner blowing his whistle and brandishing a yellow card to Miles for the apparent foul. Miles was
not the only furious Yeovil player letting Marriner know what he thought of the decision, and when a 50:50 throw-in
went the wrong way shortly after, Craig Rocastle gave a string of verbals in Marriner's direction, perhaps a little
lucky not to land in the book for dissent. All was getting just a tiny bit over-heated, so it was perhaps not a
bad idea for the Yeovil players to cool off in the dressing room for 15 minutes.