Early disappointment for me when my entire list of pre-planned jokes for this report bit the dust before kick-off; the ones about the awful Macclesfield away kit (bright orange) were scuppered when they played in blue and white, and any references to grannies and brothels were entirely dependent on the appearance of Tommy (cousin of Wayne) Rooney – and he was not in their sixteen. As events would unfold, mere disappointment was actually the best part of a bloody awful day…
The Macc lads started as they meant to go on, with Phil Jevons being clattered inside their half within the first minute. The free kick, taken by Lee Johnson, was headed on by Terry Skiverton and then headed out for a Yeovil corner. Gavin Williams took the free kick from the right, which was headed out for another which Johnson took short to Darren Way from the left.
As early as the third minute Macclesfield’s physical approach earned them a yellow card, with Simon Weaver apparently being the player cautioned (although my notes suggested that Danny Whitaker was the culprit). If Macc set out their game plan from the start – very physical, long ball game – then the Glovers unintentionally set their mood for the afternoon with Williams shooting over the bar from distance. Kevin Gall then had a better effort with a sixth minute volley, but although nearer than Gav’s attempt it was still the side of the crossbar favoured by Jonny Wilkinson.
Soon after this, and following a free kick in their own half, the visitors had their first attack. Mr Hill spoke to Jonathan Parkin after a foul on Liam Fontaine, but did not caution him. A nice one-two between Skiverton and Way ended with Way shooting past the post on the left of goal. Ten minutes into the game Jevons seemed to be brought down just outside the opposing penalty area, but nothing was given. A good run from Michael Rose saw him beat several players, but ultimately the attack fizzled out.
A foul on Andrejs Stolcers about 35 yards out gave Johnson another chance with a free kick, but it was a free kick the other way which resulted in a break away with Williams freeing Gall, although his attempted cross to Way was intercepted. At the other end a solid save by Chris Weale was required after a quick Macclesfield break. A free kick from about 40 yards out was touched to Graham Potter by captain Tommy Widdrington, but Potter’s ball into the area was not controlled by the Macc forward and went out for a goal kick.
A Johnson free kick found Stolcers, but his shot was very well blocked by Alan Fettis for a corner. Good work from Jevons earned a fourth corner, and this narrowly missed the head of Fontaine. 20 minutes in a free kick midway into the Yeovil half taken by Paul Harsley and headed on by Tony Barras was cleared for the visitors’ first corner. Harsley took a short corner to Mark Bailey, who was unmarked and allowed to run several yards before flicking the ball toward goal, which Way headed out.
Midway through the half torrential rain began to pour, and this continued for about ten minutes, and then rain fell less heavily for the rest of the first period. Early on during the heaviest of the rain poor defending from Yeovil on the right of defence allowed Macclesfield room, and the ball was played across to Harsley on the other side of the area. His attempt to either shoot or cross the ball came off the unfortunate Terry SKIVERTON and into the Yeovil net, very much against the run of play. 0 – 1.
The Glovers’ afternoon became even more miserable a couple of minutes later when Paul Terry was given a yellow card for a foul midway in the Yeovil half, although the resulting free kick went straight to Weale. Soon after the otherwise reliable Terry played a good ball to Stolcers, who in turn found Jevons but his shot was comfortably taken by Fettis.
Half an hour into the match a Matthew Tipton free kick was blocked by a Yeovil wall, and soon after the same player shot over from the edge of the area on the right. For Yeovil Stolcers broke through and seemed to have an excellent opportunity, but after delaying his shot he was beaten by an excellent tackle in the penalty area. Williams then tried from 25 yards out, but shot to the right of goal. Another good Glovers move ended with a low shot from Stolcers, but Fettis saved well, and yet another Stolcers effort drifted past the post.
In the 37th minute after a fortunate ricochet the ball fell to Jevons with only Fettis to beat, but his low shot was very well stopped by the diving keeper. A long shot at the other end forced Weale to make a good save, tipping the ball around the post for a corner at full stretch. More poor defending by the home side let a Macclesfield player have a free header, but this went over the bar.
With five minutes remaining to the break a free kick was given against Terry 35 yards out, and this was defended at the cost of another Harsley corner. Macclesfield followed this with a good spell with a succession of throw-ins in the Yeovil half, ultimately earning another corner taken by Widdrington.
In the two minutes of added time Johnson flicked the ball to Way, and his headed was deflected for a corner. Johnson took the corner, which was met by a thundering Skiverton header blocked by a defender. The rebound was headed back in by Fontaine, and cleared as far as Skiverton, but his overhead kick went straight to Fettis.