Gary Johnson was forced into changes for the Glovers first league match against Oxford United for 41 years,
when both clubs were Southern League rivals. Ronnie Bull was out due to a medial ligament injury sustained
in training during the week, whilst Hugo Rodrigues lost his place from last week's game at Cheltenham. Thus
Terry Skiverton and Colin Pluck earned recalls, with Pluck taking up the left-back role. Kevin Gall, despite limping
off in the Wales U21 match on the previous evening, was a surprise start alongside Kirk Jackson.
One of the Glovers problems so far this season has been that whoever has scored first has won the game this
season, and a number of early goals against have contributed to those statistics. The last thing Yeovil needed therefore
was to concede an early goal, but it happened once again. There was an element of fortune to the goal as Paul Wanless
shot a free-kick on the edge of the area straight into the Yeovil wall, but the ball squeezed behind the wall into
the path of Steve BASHAM and the former Southampton striker turned with his back to goal and lashed the ball home
from ten yards out, leaving the Glovers 77 minutes to break the pattern that has defined their season so far.
Yeovil's first chance came 15 minutes into the match as a Lee Johnson throw-in was headed on by Adam Lockwood,
and Kirk Jackson's shot from the edge of the area went a foot wide of the post. But Oxford were dominating the
opening period of the match, with direct play into the Glovers penalty box. Matthew Robinson in particular was getting
plenty of space from a full-back position and he took advantage of some slack defending to pick up the ball 30 yards out
and run at the Yeovil defence, firing a shot just wide. Chris Weale showed the best side of his game when he stopped
Steve Basham doubling the lead by tipping a header around the post.
Yeovil gradually weathered the early Oxford storm and after half an hour finally began to impose a bit more of
their style on the game. A Lee Johnson free kick was smashed into the Oxford wall, but referee Frazer Stretton
really should have pulled up an Oxford defender for blatant encroachment from the wall.
The lack of action by the match referee was infuriating both sides. Whilst he seemed to blow up for what seemed
to be fair challenges, others seemed to be let go, such as when an Oxford player almost played leap-frog with Darren
Way in an attempt to win a header. The Oxford player's fall had the home fans screaming for a free kick but Yeovil
pointed to Way being held down. The referee chose to take no action at all.
Adam Lockwood forced Andy Woodman to push a header from a corner over the bar as Yeovil finished the half strongly
but there was little doubt on the first half of play that Oxford deserved their lead. The Glovers had barely used
the wings during the first half, and had been muscled off the ball, by an Oxford side that were cunning in the
way that they pushed and jostled their opposition to try and put them off their passing game. In the main, their
game plan was succeeding.