As first appeared in the Yeovil Express:
YEOVIL TOWN 1, DARLINGTON 1
STEVE SOWDEN REPORTS FROM HUISH PARK
IT is almost two years ago when Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson emerged from the dressing room at Underhill and told waiting pressmen that the Glovers were a `million miles away' from being title favourites after witnessing a depressing 2-1 defeat at Barnet in the Nationwide Conference.
Two years on and Johnson could have used that same phrase after being far from pleased with a lack-lustre display in the 1-1 draw with Darlington at Huish Park on Tuesday night.
Following on from Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Bury, the performance against Darlington was appalling and on the basis of two games Yeovil Town do not look anything like potential championship-winning contenders despite the bookies pre-season odds.
The display lacked any passion, the undoubted ability the players possess was demonstrated rarely, the defence looked decidedly shaky, the midfield was bossed out of the game, and the attack barely threatened to remove the gloom from an unusually hushed Huish Park.
And just as it was in London two years ago at Barnet, Johnson took an age to meet the press pack afterwards and he apologised to the media for the delay. You could forgive Johnson as he needed to tell his players, in no uncertain terms, that the display they produced against Darlington was far below the standard he and the supporters expect.
Johnson, who had discarded his jacket and tie once he met with the press, said: "The players have taken a lashing from me - that is why I am all hot and sweaty.
"There are some players who need some forceful direction. Some will prove themselves and some of them will not."
And Johnson said: "Thank God we didn't lose the game. Thank God we've got a point on the board."
But the Yeovil gaffer has still got faith in his squad - which, despite the poor start to the season, still looks on paper one of the most exciting in the club's entire history.
"We are going to turn it around," he said. "We have got a great squad and we need that squad to pull through."
Yeovil could not have wished for a better start. It took Phil JEVONS, who was making his first start of the season in place of the dropped Kevin Gall, just six minutes to make his mark when he received the ball, picked his spot and stroked a super shot past Darlington keeper Sam Russell. But from then it became a tedious, frustrating and somewhat depressing display by Yeovil.
After the disappointment of Bury, an early goal should have given Yeovil the spark to go on and win by a handsome margin. Unfortunately, however, it was a case of deja vu from Saturday where after taking the lead they seemed to run out of ideas, run out of puff and run out of energy and it was the visitors from Darlington who took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Darlington made the Yeovil defence look very jittery and if they had had someone with their shooting boots on then the eventual outcome could have been very much worse for the Glovers.
Andy Lindegaard was brought into Yeovil's starting line-up at the expense of Roy O'Brien at right-back and he had a difficult evening, centre-halves Terry Skiverton and Colin Pluck looked far from composed, while the defence had to reshuffle midway through the opening period when left-back Michael Rose had to go off after splitting his lip.
The defence was carved open all too easily and Darlington's Matt Clarke was a constant thorn in its side.
Manager Johnson spent the opening 20 minutes of the game watching from the stands, but as soon as he came down to the touchline he was barking orders constantly at his players in a bid to wake them up from their subdued slumber.
But come the half-hour mark, the game was already dying as a spectacle and there was that feeling - just as there was at Bury - that Yeovil were losing the battle in the middle and Darlington were getting the upper hand in proceedings.