After a pre-season that seemed to last forever, Yeovil eventually kicked off their league one campaign at Oldham’s Boundary Park, the highest league ground in England, and like last years opening fixture up north, the 1022 Glovers who made the long trip returned home empty handed as the Hoops suffered a 2-0 defeat in a rather disappointing game.
Pre-match optimism was high, Yeovil's attacking nature would surely be too good for a Oldham side that had been re-built this summer, Pablo Bastiani, Yeovil's record signing would lead the scoring charts at the end of the day, and the Glovers mean defence, with the addition of the experienced Nathan Jones, would remain un-breached as they keep a clean sheet and therefore, come 4.45pm we would lead the table on goal difference. Sadly though – cometh the hour, Yeovil, albeit alphabetically, propped up league one and that earlier optimism was quietly washed away.
With Pablo unable to play due to his work permit not arriving, Gary Johnson’s early plans were probably thrown somewhat. Collis, as most expected started in goal, and the defence was marshalled by Amankwaah on the right, Sodje and the dependable Skiverton in the middle, with new boy Nathan Jones filling the left back spot, which many thought would be claimed by Colin Miles, so impressive pre-season. In the midfield, another new boy David Poole took the right side of midfield, Lee Johnson and Paul Terry played in the centre, and Darren Way, who played on the left in the friendlies assumed the same role in this game. The attack was led by the prolific Phil Jevons, and he was partnered by Arron Davies.
For the first 20 minutes the game was evenly matched with little separating the two teams, as always Yeovil played the ball around neatly, and like the end of last season Amankwaah drove down the right and pinged in several low balls that never really caused any damage, although from one, Jevons’ first time shot from 18 yards whistled over the bar for Yeovil's first proper attempt on goal.
At the other end Mark Tierney drove wide from 18 yards, but his vicious shot rebounded off Skiverton and was goal bound until Collis comfortably saved down to his right. Collis was called into action soon after when the impressive Porter, Oldhams centre forward, hooked a right footed shot, but again Collis saved without any difficulty. A strong run and shot from Jevons went narrowly wide, just before Porter again showed some terrific control, with a hint of the hand as well, but Skiverton the Yeovil skipper averted the danger with a last ditch tackle and poked the ball out for a corner.
After the early sparring Oldham began to take control of the game and Yeovil almost looked a little bit in awe of the surroundings and their opponents, and it was the host’s who made the first breakthrough on 24 minutes when Yeovil’s defence failed to clear a bouncing ball in the box following a long throw. At the far post Wellens crossed and that man Chris PORTER headed home without any real challenge to give his side the lead. Worse was to follow two minutes later, and the goal that effectively killed off the game was a poor one to concede. Some terrific play down Oldhams left saw Wellens again provide a great cut back from the byline, he picked out Paul WARNE who made no mistake from 10 yards and drilled the ball past the helpless Collis. This was a sloppy goal to concede and both Johnson's senior and junior will be disappointed that the latter never got a last ditch tackle in on the byline to prevent the cross.
Yeovil needed an instant reply, they had their chance when Poole did well down the right and knocked a good cross to the far post but Darren Way could not find the power and headed straight into the hands of Day in the Latics goal. Right now Yeovil needed a spell of “cosmic” football we know they are capable of to get themselves back in the game, it never came. The last chance of the half again fell to Way following a searching cross from Davies, but his right foot shot flew over the bar and Yeovil trudged off at half time looking a little bit sorry for themselves.