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Season 2006-2007 : Yeovil Town vs Port Vale : Saturday 26th August 2006
Coca Cola League One : Yeovil Town vs Port Vale

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Venue: Huish Park
Saturday 26th August 2006, 3.00pm kick-off.

Scorers: Paul Terry (5, 1-0)

Attendance: 4,827 (including 394 Port Vale fans)

Referee: Clive Penton (Sussex)
Assistants: Ron Ganfield (Somerset), Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)
Fourth official: James Linington (Isle Of Wight)

Yeovil: Ishmael Welsh (foul, 57), Paul Terry (timewasting, 90)
Port Vale: Colin Miles (foul, 64), George Pilkington (foul, 78)

Team Line-Ups

Yeovil Town : (4-2-3-1)
1. Steve Mildenhall
24. Mark Lynch, 4. Terry Skiverton, 6. Terrell Forbes, 3. Nathan Jones
7. Paul Terry 14. Jean-Paul Kamudimba
25. Lee Morris 11. Chris Cohen 27. Ishmael Welsh
10. Wayne Gray

Subs: 5. Scott Guyett 8. Anthony Barry (90 mins for Welsh) 9. Arron Davies 12. Matt Harrold (76 mins for Gray) 28. Kevin James (63 mins for Morris)

Port Vale :
1. Mark Goodlad
15. George Abbey 2. George Pilkington 16. Mark McGregor 18. Colin Miles
14. Danny Whitaker 4. Danny Sonner 8. Paul Harsley 11. Jeff Smith
10. Leon Constantine 20. Akpo Sodje

Subs: 12. Joe Anyon (GK) 17. Michael Husbands (82 mins for Smith) 6. Richard Walker 3. Jason Talbot (73 mins for Miles) 19. Joe Cardle (73 mins for Harsley)

James Francis's Match Report

Yeovil Town rose to a healthy eighth position in League One, as their solid display against frontrunners Port Vale, who had taken maximum points from their opening four fixtures, earned them another precious home triumph. Just as Kevin Gall had made a swift return to Huish Park a fortnight earlier, while playing for Carlisle, so here did another fans' favourite of the past, Colin Miles, who has so far been a regular in the left-back position for the Midlands club. Despite being subjected to a bit of light-hearted mockery from the crowd for continuing to express his notorious 'hard-man approach' to the game, most notable from his booking after a rough challenge on Wayne Gray in the second half, he deservedly received a warm reception from his strong admirers in the Westland Stand after being substituted. While Miles (or 'Plucky', as he was formerly known) was being thanked, it was also a day to welcome debutant right-back Mark Lynch, whose current month-long loan with the Glovers could be extended. I, for one, hope that Lynch signs a permanent deal at Yeovil, as while he defended his flank quite effectively, he provided a couple of pinpoint crosses, and, primarily, exhibited electric pace in enabling several neat overlaps in attack. In my opinion, he seems like a more than adequate replacement for Kevin Amankwaah.

In the opening stages, Vale looked very well organised, executing some neat passes in the midfield, marshalled effectively by Danny Sonner, in order to manufacture a couple of efforts off target from Paul Harsley and then Danny Whitaker. But on five minutes, Yeovil found themselves in the rare position of having converted their very first chance of the match from a most unlikely source! In the most unusual fashion, Paul TERRY was allowed, by retreating defenders, to advance towards goal from the centre circle, before unleashing an unstoppable drive from 25 yards into the bottom-left corner. Vale responded immediately to conceding, as Harsley's shot was deflected wide, but Yeovil began to settle nicely, with Terry and Jean-Paul Kalala aiding their defence in stifling any Vale attacks, giving Chris Cohen and Ishmael Welsh more freedom to get forward themselves.

A wonderfully manufactured manoeuvre saw Nathan Jones curl a high ball along the left flank to Welsh, who mischievously dribbled the ball between two defenders, before passing to Lee Morris, who, holding off another defender, set up Cohen for a shot, which was unfortunately smothered by a last-gasp interception. On 22 minutes, Cohen almost repeated the earlier heroics of Terry, as his lengthy sprint down the middle between two Vale players nearly culminated in a similar goal, but this time his low right-footed drive rolled marginally wide. Then Morris, starting his first competitive match in about two years, tried his luck with a difficult chance, bending the ball round a defender but wide of goal. With in-form strikers Leon Constantine and Akpo Sodje being kept at close quarters, Vale were restricted to merely an audacious 40-yard drive from George Abbey which sailed wide.

Within a minute of the restart, Steve Mildenhall was required to tip over the bar a teasing long-shot from Whitaker, made even trickier by the glaring sunlight. And it was Whitaker, yet again, who came close to restoring parity, as he failed to get a strong connection on Jeff Smith's cross at the near post after 66 minutes. Using the pace of both Cohen and Welsh, Yeovil were able to counter-attack swiftly in order to relieve the pressure. After both Terry and Gray had shots blocked in a tense goalmouth struggle, Kevin James, who had replaced Morris on 62 minutes, curled a free-kick over the bar, after a promising surge from the purposeful Cohen was ended by a cynical foul by George Pilkington. Pilkington was very nearly the last man, and so was rather fortunate only to be cautioned.

During the final ten minutes, Vale, determined to retain their impressive unbeaten record this season, summoned heavy ranks to besiege the Yeovil goal. An 83rd minute header from Akpo Sodje, brother of former Yeovil centre-back Efe Sodje, sailed over the bar, and Steve Mildenhall heroically parried Jeff Smith's 85th minute stinging volley from 12 yards. With so many players committed to attack, Vale were left very bare at the back; and James' exploitation of this, latching onto a long ball from Skiverton, almost sealed the victory, but for a rash finish, ending up wide, when in a promising one-on-one situation with Vale keeper, Mark Goodlad. Nevertheless, Yeovil held firm until the final whistle for three vital points.

James Francis

Badger's Match Report

Russell Slade tweaked his side once again prior to the visit of surprise League One leaders Port Vale by making one change to the starting line-up of the side that had crashed out of the Carling Cup in midweek. Arron Davies, who will be on international duty next weekend, also missed this match by sitting on the bench for the afternoon whilst his place was taken by Lee Morris who was making his first ever start in a Yeovil kit. The tactic was to maintain a two-tiered midfield, but to make it flexible enough to allow the two widemen in the forward tier to join lone striker Wayne Gray in a 4-3-3 formation whenever Yeovil went forward.

Former Macclesfield Town winger Danny Whitaker, who has been a bit of a thorn in Yeovil's side at Moss Rose in the past, fired a long ranger over the bar as Port Vale showed some early threat, but the Yeovil back line stayed calm as they sized up the threat that the league leaders posed.

The general idea was for Paul Terry and Jean-Paul Kalala to hang back as defensive midfielders and for Ishmael Welsh, Chris Cohen and Lee Morris to take on the attacking midfield roles. Someone hadn't told Paul TERRY the script. Just five minutes into the game, he picked up the ball in his own half from Jean-Paul Kalala, and spotting a space opening up he drove forward, skipping past the attention of a Vale midfielder. Onwards the centre of the park gave him the freedom of Yeovil, allowing PT to get 25 yards out and drive an excellent shot into the corner of the net that left visiting keeper Mark Goodlad helpless. 1-0 up and about as good a start as anyone could have ever hoped for! A rather bizarre celebration followed with PT crawling on all fours across the half time as Skivo 'walked the dog'!

Terry could have had a second long range stab a couple of minutes later but chose to feed the ball wide to Wayne Gray with the subsequent ball being blocked by the Port Vale defence. The blustery conditions were playing their part and with the wind slightly against the Yeovil players, Steve Mildenhall was having some problems with his kicking early on as he tried one way and then another to try and direct his kicks towards his team-mates.

Akpo Sodje managed to get some room on the edge of the box as Vale tried to find a way back into the game, but Paul Terry, who was buoyant after his goal, got a leg onto the shot and deflected the ball clear for a corner. But in the main the Glovers were keeping the Vale front pair away from the ball, and were dominating most of the forward moves. Chris Cohen cut in from the right hand side towards the centre of goal and fired in a shot that went a yard or so wide. Minutes later Lee Morris appeared to take the same path as Cohen had taken, but the end result was no more accurate.

The flow of the game was not being helped by some fairly erratic decisions from referee Clive Penton, as well as his positional sense. Twice the Sussex official got in the way of attempts from Yeovil to play the ball out of defence, whilst he maintained an irritating habit of pulling up for the trivial, whilst ignoring some more serious looking challenges. Penton also managed to completely foul up a supposed 'advantage' given in Yeovil's favour - too busy signalling to his linesman that he was waving play-on to notice that the Glovers didn't even have possession! The Cowlin Stand linesman was little better at interpreting the offside law.

Overall though, matters looked comfortable, without Yeovil creating too many more chances than their visitors. Lee Morris looked strong despite having played little football - his battles with former Glovers favourite Colin Miles drew plenty of noise from the Cowlin Stand, particularly when a strong Miles challenge appeared to foul Morris. No longer would his tackles be greeted with approval at Huish Park!

The half ended as it had started - with Whitaker wasting a chance by slicing the ball well wide of goal, and the visitors had yet to get in behind the Yeovil back line with the ball at their feet. The game was relatively tight, but there was no doubt about which side deserved their half time lead.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 1 - 0 Port Vale

Less than a minute into the second half, Port Vale finally managed their first shot on target when Danny Whitaker produced what looked to be a fairly harmless looking long ranger - until the ball whipped up in the wind, causing Mildenhall to rather indelicately spoon the ball over his own crossbar for a corner. But overall the Glovers showed a positive start to the half with the two wingers and Wayne Gray criss-crossing as they advanced towards the Westland Stand, putting the Port Vale defence onto the back foot.

Yeovil lost Terry Skiverton due to a head injury for around three or four minutes before he returned wearing a head bandage, determined to continue the strong role he had played during the opening 55 minutes of the match. Ishmael Welsh became the first player to be carded - and somewhat harshly - when he tried to win the ball back after losing it on a left wing run, causing the Yeovil fans to vent their fury upon referee Clive Penton. Lee Morris, having lasted 62 minutes of the game, was replaced by Kevin James in a one-for-one swap.

The phrase "a rash challenge by Colin Miles" can probably be found in numerous places on Ciderspace. In fact littered across five seasons worth of yellow cards, such an event has almost become a trademark. It was therefore fitting that he didn't disappoint on his return to Huish Park. A twist and turn by Kevin James in a harmless position saw Miles race in and cut him down in true "mentalist" fashion. The resulting "Off! Off! Off!" and boos from the crowd were straight out of the Christmas pantomines and the yellow card was duly shown.

Whitaker wasted an excellent opportunity to equalise when he sent a header well wide of the target midway through the half as Vale continued to fail to trouble Steve Mildenhall. At the other end Yeovil still looked the more dangerous side when they broke and after winning a corner, Paul Terry was one defensive block from his second goal of the afternoon. Chris Cohen put in a corner which was headed across the face of the box by Terry Skiverton and into the path of PT, but a brilliant defensive block by Danny Sonner stopped his shot before he could smack the ball home.

Out of nowhere, Mildenhall was forced into his first proper save of the afternoon when an excellent volley from Jeff Smith was tipped over his own crossbar by the Yeovil keeper, after the ball had only been half cleared into the left winger's path. The ball looked to be dipping in under the crossbar until a fingertip save took the ball away from danger.

Colin Miles left the field with 17 minutes remaining to a generous round of applause, sustained when he made his way across to the Westland Stand a couple of minutes later to complete his warmdown. Wayne Gray, who had run the front line brilliantly made way for Matt Harrold as Yeovil made their first substitution. The game was gradually swinging Vale's way as they pushed players up in numbers in search of an equaliser, and perhaps it was Harrold's height at defensive set pieces that influenced Russell Slade's thinking.

Port Vale captain George Pilkington could consider himself very lucky with 12 minutes left when Chris Cohen broke out of the Yeovil half, sprinting clear of the visitor's back line. As he reached the very edge of the penalty box, he was brought down from behind by the Vale captain for a clear foul. The only question left for referee Clive Penton was whether he considered Pilkington to be impeding a goalscoring opportunity. He decided he wasn't much to the disgust of the Yeovil crowd and the free kick from Kevin James was curled over the bar.

Akpo Sodje and Danny Whitaker wasted late chances to test Steve Mildenhall as the clock ticked town - both sending headers wide of the target from inside the area. Although these were free headers, to the Yeovil defence's credit they had not allowed Vale the chance to get the ball to their feet inside the penalty box despite the late pressure by the visitors. And in fact it was the Glovers who should have sealed the game deep into three minutes of injury time. A ball over the top was controlled well by Kevin James, leaving him one-on-one with the keeper, but he wasted the opportunity by slicing the ball wide of the target and into the side netting.

Overall though, despite being slightly on the back foot in the final 25 minutes or so, it was a strong performance by the Glovers as they restricted Port Vale to a minimum of chances - in the main headers that went wide of the target. That Leon Constantine - League One's top scorer - barely got a sniff all game is huge credit to the Yeovil back line, and overall there are signs that the new Yeovil side is starting to find its feet and each other in what was on the whole an impressively professional performance.


Full-time: Yeovil Town 1 - 0 Port Vale
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Last Updated : 27th August 2006
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