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Season 2005-2006 : Yeovil Town v Walsall : Saturday 10th September 2005
Football League One : Yeovil Town 2 - 1 Walsall

Venue: Huish Park
Sat 10th Sept 2005, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Damp, warm
Pitch: Excellent

Scorers: Matt Fryatt (pen 34, 0-1), Phil Jevons (65, 1-1), Kevin Gall (70, 1-2)

Attendance: 5,979 (including approx 600 Walsall fans)

Referee: Paul Armstrong (Berkshire)
Assistants: Eric Mackrell (Hampshire) and Richard Palmer (Somerset)
Fourth official: Kevin Barnes (Wiltshire)

Bookings:
Yeovil: Terry Skiverton (42, foul)
Walsall: Craig Paed (36, foul), Michael Husbands (68, foul)

Team Line-Ups

Yeovil Town : (4-5-1)
1. Chris Weale
12. Kevin Amankwaah 27. Liam Fontaine 4. Terry Skiverton 5. Colin Miles
9. Kevin Gall 6. Darren Way 8. Lee Johnson 11. Nathan Jones 26. Luciano Alvarez
22. Pablo Bastianini

Subs: 7. Paul Terry 10. Phil Jevons (45, for Alvarez) 13. Steven Collis (GK) 20. Matt Harrold 25. Arron Davies (45, for Jones)

Walsall :
1. Andy Oakes 2. Craig Pead 4. Anthony Gerrard 5. Chris Westwood 3. Daniel Fox 15. Kris Taylor 8. Simon Osborn 16. Mark Kinsella 11. Darren Wrack 9. Jorge Leitao 12. Matt Fryatt

Subs: 7. Michael Standing (73, for Osborn) 14. Mark Wright (73, for Kinsella) 24. Scott Dann 30. Michael Husbands (33, for Wrack) 31. Rene Gilmartin (GK)

Jeremy Gear's Match Report

What a difference a goal makes!

Yeovil Town recorded their second win on the trot - and of the season - by overcoming an organised Walsall side led by former Arsenal and England star Paul Merson. Merson, who recently criticised England coach Sven Goran Eriksson for his latest tactical flaws, especially his formation of 4-5-1, would presumably have been delighted to have seen Yeovil line up the same way, as they did at Hartlepool last week. Gary Johnson, unlike the Swede, has a more positive approach to the game and after seeing his side go one behind to a Walsall penalty, he rang the changes, and boy how they worked.

Johnson has been criticised in the past for his gung-ho approach (not that it’s done his team any harm), but you get the impression that he, like his team are beginning to adapt guardedly to their new surroundings. Just before half time he replaced Luciano Alvares and Nathan Jones with the fit again Phil Jevons and Arron Davies and reverted to the traditional 4-4-2 pattern. That change, with the addition of the two subs, made the world of difference. Johnson said after the match “I could have changed ten at half time because we just weren’t in it, but I could only make 2 and I have to leave one on the bench in case of an injury”.

It was an injury that took the shine off the first half. Colin Miles made a poorly timed tackle that led to a Walsall penalty, Darren Wrack fell to the ground and immediately his team-mates and Darren Way who was close to the incident signalled straight away for the stretcher. Even from the halfway line on the Bartlett Stand you could see that Wrack’s leg was at a an awkward angle to his body and he had sustained a very serious injury, how very sad to hear after a long delay the repulsive chants from a group of supporters in the Westland stand, a total and absolute lack of respect. From the player's point of view he was probably in too much trauma to hear the abuse, but if he wasn’t he would have been heartened to have received the near on standing ovation he got from the rest of the ground, especially the College Stand. Football can be a cruel game at times, and supporters can be the cruellest, sometimes however they can be downright pathetic, and on this occasion the latter came to the fore. Every club has them, it’s just a crying shame that we appear to have too many judging by today’s reaction!

After a lengthy delay, Matty FRYATT stepped up and confidently hammered home the penalty to put his side one up. It was Fryatt who nearly scored the first goal after four minutes shooting hard and well from distance only to see Chris Weale make a great save tipping his effort over the bar. Weale, somewhat rejuvenated, saved well again from Wrack five minutes later.

Whilst Johnson may not have been to happy, Yeovil still had plenty of attacking opportunities and it was Kevin Gall who was at the heart of most of them. However on numerous occasions when in good positions his crosses can only be described as woeful, although on one occasion he fired in a tempting ball but, with Yeovil lying deep and only one main striker in Pablo, no one was on hand to connect.

Not long after the penalty Walsall looked certain to extend their lead when a Chris Westwood header at the far post was brilliantly saved by Weale, fortunately from the rebound the Saddlers skipper could not react quickly enough to convert the loose ball, knocking it wide for a goal kick. This signified the changes, and like Leroy Roseniors’ brave decision at Torquay a season or two ago, Johnson did the same and made two substitutions. Kevin Gall looked at the bench, and like a guilty batsmen he wasn’t going to walk until his number came up. Much to his obvious surprise, it didn’t and Gally was able to relax and ply his trade with effect for the rest of the game.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 0 - 1 Walsall

Not long into the second half it was Gall who tore down the Walsall right and pinged in a beautiful low cross to the far post that just needed a big toe to poke it goalwards’ but to no avail. Seconds later Gall had another go, this time from long range but Andy Oakes in goal parried to safety. Pablo Bastianini then conjured a chance from nothing, showing good close control he set himself up but his powerful shot from 20 yards flew just over the bar.

Yeovil were by now beginning to tick, Johnson in midfield began to run the show, and when he, Way, Jevons and Gall combined the pacey Welshman should have done better with his shot by at least making the keeper work rather than the ball boys!

Colin Miles at the back, whilst assured on the deck, seemed to be having a nightmare in the air. He misjudged the flight of the ball and conceded a corner which Anthony Gerrard, cousin of Steve nearly punished but his header went just over.

For all their possession and attacking flair, Yeovil needed to get back into the game quickly. The game looked like it was ebbing away, when just on cue the equaliser came, and a fine one it was too, Lee Johnson dinked a wonderful ball over the top into the path of Pablo, and it was his perfect lay off to Phil JEVONS that saw last season's top scorer bring the scores level. Jevons sometimes goes missing, but to see him back in the groove today, with his calm and deft touch was reassuring. It will be interesting to see - if he gets a decent run - how he links up with the Argentinian, who reminds me so much of Guy Whittingham!

Yeovil and the crowd were now on the boil. Sensing defeat Walsall resorted to niggly fouls and Husbands challenge on Davies was crude to say the least and he was fortunate to escape with a yellow card. Then Amankwaah was tugged back as he raced down the right to the byline, to his credit he stayed on his feet and he chipped the ball into the box where Kevin GALL, who moments earlier had the manager pulling his hair out with another miss, made up for all his mishaps with a wonderfully taken back header that put the Glovers ahead for the first time in the game. This could be Gally’s turning point, he turned down Carlisle, he was contemplating substitution, he was off key with his crosses, his finishing was none to special...and then he scored the winner. Super Kev, this is your nemesis, your turning point, raise your game and never look back…you are more than capable, believe in yourself like we believe in you, now is the time when you can do a Halifax…you are the prodigal son!

The next twenty minutes were always going to be tense, and so they were. Walsall, whilst not necessarily coming that close had a couple of good opportunities to score, none more so than when Michael Standing drew Chris Weale at his near post but only managed to miss the target by inches, Weale must have got something on the shot as a corner was awarded, although minutes earlier Johnson could have put the game beyond doubt with a pile driver of a free kick which Oakes could not hold. Johnson, fresh from his unsettling period after being linked with Swansea appears to be back to his searching best, and when he ticks, so do the rest!

With the two minutes of added time going on forever, eventually the Ref Paul Armstrong blew for time, and together Huish Park celebrated for the first time this season like days gone by…winning is a habit, so is losing…like Merse, lets hope we’ve turned the corner for good!

Jeremy Gear

MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Chris Weale 19 440
Kevin Gall 12 313
Liam Fontaine 8 276
Phil Jevons 4 185
Lee Johnson 4 156
Kevin Amankwaah 4 135
Arron Davies 1 102
Darren Way 2 80
Pablo Bastianini 1 40

Overall match rating: 7.4 / 10
Performance: 6.9
Entertainment: 7.9

55 votes received.

Any comments/questions please email yeo.motm@ntlworld.com

Full-time: Yeovil Town 2 - 1 Walsall
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Last Updated : 10th September 2005
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