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Season 2005-2006 : Yeovil Town v Portsmouth : Saturday 16th July 2005
Pre-Season Friendly : Yeovil Town 2 - 4 Portsmouth

Venue: Huish Park
Sat 15th July 2005, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Very hot, clear skies
Pitch: Excellent

Scorers: Lvica Mornar (0-1, 9 mins), Lomana Lua Lua (0-2, 20 mins), Paul Terry (1-2, 37 mins), Gary O'Neil (1-3, 39 mins), Darren Way (2-3, 54 mins), Svetoslav Todorov (2-4, 84 mins).

Attendance: 4,417 (including around 1,000 Portsmouth fans)

Referee: Steve Tanner
Assistants: Keith Buller, Ron Ganfield. Fourth Official : Tim Lawrence.

Yeovil: None
Portsmouth: None

Team Line-Ups

Yeovil Town :
1. Chris Weale, 4. Terry Skiverton, 6. Darren Way, 7. Paul Terry, 8. Lee Johnson, 9. Kevin Gall, 10. Phil Jevons, 11. Nathan Jones, 12. Kevin Amankwaah, 16. Efe Sodje, 19. Arron Davies.

Subs: 2. Adam Lockwood (sub 64 mins for Skiverton), 3. Michael Rose (sub 64 mins for Johnson), 5. Colin Miles (sub 26 mins for Jones), 13. Steve Collis (sub 46 mins for Weale), 14. Andy Lindegaard (sub 64 mins for Amankwaah), 15. Stephen Reed (sub 64 mins for Terry), 17. Scott Guyett (sub 64 mins for Sodje), 18. David Poole (sub 64 mins for Gall), 20. Matt Harrold (sub 64 mins for Jevons), Dale Williams (sub 64 mins for Way) Richard Cullingford, Luke Oliver (sub 64 mins for Davies).

Portsmouth :
1. Jamie Ashdown, 2. Andy Griffin, 6. Arjan De Zeeuw, 3. Dejan Stefanovic, 4. Matthew Taylor, 7. Gary O'Neil, 9. Giannis Skopelitis, 5. Richard Hughes, 11. Laurent Robert, 10. Lomana Lua Lua, 8. Lvica Mornar

Subs: 14. Andrea Gautelli (sub 46 mins), 13. Linvoy Primus (sub 46 mins), 15. Andrew O'Brien (sub 46 mins), 16. David Unsworth (sub 46 mins), 17. Gregory Vignaz (sub 46 mins), 18. Gary Silk (sub 46 mins), 19. Phil Cousins (sub 46 mins), 20. Aliou Cisse (sub 46 mins), 21. Liam Horsted (sub 46 mins), 22. James Keene (sub 46 mins), 23. Svetoslav Todorov (sub 46 mins) 24. A.N.Other (sub 76 mins for Cousins).

Match Report

In extremely summery weather conditions, Yeovil Town took to the field for their first domestic pre-season friendly of the 2005-06 season with Premiership side Portsmouth's full first team squad travelling to Somerset for the game. The Glovers had zero injury problems throughout the squad meaning that all contracted players were available for selection. Only goalkeeper Danny Barker was not named on the teamsheet and only Richard Cullingford ultimately did not take part in the game, thus providing a useful test of the new squad's standards.

The first real chance of the match came from Arjan De Zeeuw, whose fiercely driven shot struck Glovers captain Terry Skiverton prompting rather optimistic claims for a handball. But a somewhat sluggish start by the Glovers was punished just nine minutes into the match when Lua Lua broke down the right wing and attempted to chip Chris Weale. The Yeovil keeper parried the ball away from the goal, but only into the path of Lvica MORNAR who was able to take his time and slot the ball into an empty net.

The Glovers responded well and Phil Jevons came close to a freak goal when Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown was slow dealing with a backpass, smacking his clearance right against the Yeovil striker. Fortunately for the keeper's blushes, the ball went just wide of goal. Darren Way also weaved his way through the Portsmouth midfield, riding two tackles, but his shot was slightly scuffed and went wide.

Goalscorer Lvica Mornar was not endearing himself to the home crowd, committing one awful and one clumsy tackle within 60 seconds of each other. The first certainly didn't come into the spirit of a "friendly" game - taking out Nathan Jones from behind long after the ball had gone, injuring the player to such an extent that he did not complete the half and had to be withdrawn for Colin Miles. The second was just plain daft - climbing all over Efe Sodje long after the defender had cleared the ball resulting in a severe finger-wagging from Sodje but surprisingly no action being taken by referee Steve Tanner. Had this not been a friendly, Mornar could have been finishing the game early for both offences.

However, as Portsmouth continued to hold slight domination over their hosts, they struck again. Gary O'Neil produced a right wing move that saw a low ball go across the face of the Yeovil penalty area, the Westland Stand's friend Mornar stepped over the ball, and that was enough to wrong-foot the Yeovil defence and goalkeeper and see Lomana LUA LUA fire the ball home from six yards out.

The following five minutes saw Yeovil go to pieces a little from a defensive point of view and Portsmouth really should have taken advantage. Lvica Mornar got behind the Yeovil defence and shot at goal, but this time Chris Weale's one-handed parry allowed Terry Skiverton to be the first to clear the ball close to his own goal-line. Yeovil were struggling with low balls being put across the face of their own goal and Chris Weale was being tested at both front and back post and Weale denied Mornar once more on his near post, grabbing the ball at the second or third attempt. On another occasion the ball flashed across the face of the Yeovil goal missing all Portsmouth players with Jones's last contribution to the game being his hack out of the penalty box.

The introduction of Colin Miles seemed to stabilise that flank somewhat and whilst Portsmouth still held the upper hand, their attempts to get behind the Yeovil backline diminished somewhat. Despite that, Yeovil's first goal of the afternoon came like a bolt out of the blue. A mistake from Laurent Robert gave Paul TERRY possession and after a quick one-two, Terry split through the Portsmouth back line and blasted an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 20 yards out. The benchmark for the 2005-06 Goal of the Season has already been set!

Sadly the Yeovil comeback lasted all of two minutes. Laurent Robert slipped the ball onto the right wing to Lvica Mornar. The Croatian cut inside and fired across Chris Weale's goal. Wealey got another palm to the fierce drive, but once again - and perhaps this is a pattern Gary Johnson must look at - a Portsmouth player was the first to react and this time Gary O'NEIL slotted home the loose ball.

Lua Lua and Mornar's pace continued to cause the Yeovil back line problems as the half drew to the close, but Kevin Amankwaah deserved credit for beautifully holding off Lua Lua during one breakaway, with Amankwaah showing just how much promise he has got by showing both strength and grace in the way he dispossed the Portsmouth player, turned, then ran up field still in possession.

To prove that a difficult half for Yeovil still had a number of positives to it, Phil Jevons caused Portsmouth full-back Andy Griffin all kinds of problems as he tangled with the player on the corner of the box, eventually running out the victor and firing in a shot from a narrow angle which Jamie Ashdown did well to beat out with a Portsmouth defender scrambling the ball away before the rebound could be converted. Perhaps that was the most subtle of differences between the two sides and their respective scorelines.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 1 - 3 Portsmouth

Just one change made to the Yeovil line-up at half time with Steve Collis replacing Chris Weale, however Portsmouth neatly brought out an entire new set of eleven players for the start of the second half. That new Portsmouth side seemed a lot less sure of their surroundings than the first half team, and a lot less composed on the ball.

That brought almost immediate fruition for the Glovers just nine minutes into the second period. Kevin Gall showed how much he relishes taking on Premiership defenders when he beat David Unsworth inside out and cut in a deep cross that was heading right for the top of the back post. It might have gone directly into the net such was the perfection of the cross, but instead Darren WAY out-jumped a defender eight inches taller than him and headed home from the proverbial half-inch, colliding with the post along the way but fortunately not injuring himself. 2-3 now and the second half looked nicely set up.

The second half was looking far more controlled for Yeovil with the Portsmouth "Second XI" looking far less of a threat. Efe Sodje was coming into his own - doing what perhaps the side should have been doing during the first 45 minutes by standing up to some of Portsmouth's over-physical challenges and giving his own back. Certainly it's difficult to recall seeing a Premiership side concede so many fouls to a lower league side and Pompey had to be glad that whilst referee Steve Tanner was often picky, that he hadn't brought his cards with him.

Yeovil made nine substitutions on 64 minutes with only earlier substitutes Steve Collis and Colin Miles surviving the transplant of a brand new team. Whilst the earlier side seemed to flex between a 4-4-2 and a 4-3-3 depending on how advanced Kevin Gall was up the field, this one was a little more rigid in it's structure, sticking to the 4-4-2 formation with Luke Oliver in an experimental forward position, no doubt to see if he could be the missing link to Gary Johnson's need to provide back-up for Matt Harrold.

This was showing to be a far more even half, with fewer chances to speak of. Adam Lockwood glanced a header wide of the posts following a free kick, whilst Portsmouth had another rather optimistic penalty appeal turned down when James Keene fell in the area, although it seemed the Pompey crowd rather than players were appealing and the referee deemed that Steve Collis had reached the ball first and awared a corner.

As the game closed out, Andy Lindegaard hooked the ball over the bar in what would have been a spectacular goal after he was set up by a Luke Oliver chest-down. But Portsmouth had the last laugh with a piece of clinical finishing five minutes from time when Svetoslav TODOROV latched onto a through ball, getting behind the Yeovil defence for one of the few times during the second half and slotting the ball past Steve Collis for a 4-2 scoreline.

For the Glovers this was a game of plusses and minutes. On the minus side, some of the defensive organisation midway through the first half left a little to be desired, and despite Portsmouth's Premiership status, the Glovers should have been able to stand a little more firm. Talking of standing firm, some of the Yeovil players struggled somewhat against Portsmouth's physical approach to the game, and although the visitors conceded a large number of free kicks as a result of that, it wasn't until the second half when the Glovers began to stand firm against such tactics and give their own back.

On a more individual level Darren Way looked a little badly used, staying mainly out on the left wing, where the team could have done with some of his tigerish tackles in the centre. Chris Weale, Terry Skiverton and a couple of other defenders were guilty of ball watching during a few of the first half penalty area moments, although both redeemed themselves with saves and blocks. In terms of the new boys all looked promising, although probably Nathan Jones could not be really judged given that he only managed 25 minutes during half of which he was struggling with a knock on his achilles. Both Matt Harrold and Luke Oliver had clear physical presence and got stuck into the game well, whilst David Poole showed he is not afraid to run at Premiership defenders. All in all, not a bad work-out and most importantly most of the 'negatives' were in the early period of the game. Once the players adjusted to the pace and the physical nature of the game, the results were quite good and with two great goals against the Premiership side this was one of the better friendlies to watch.


Full-time: Yeovil Town 2 - 4 Portsmouth
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