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Venue: Haig Avenue
Sat 23rd November 2002, 3pm kick-off.
Conditions: Cold but sunny for much of first half; cold but overcast thereafter
Pitch: Grassy, but soft and slippery after several days of rain
Nationwide Conference :
Southport 0 - 1 Yeovil Town
Referee: Mr G Simpson (Leeds)
Assistants: Mr D Stewart, Mr B Simms
Fourth Official: Mr P Fearon
Yeovil: Skiverton (44, foul), Crittenden (75, dissent), Pluck (83, dissent)
Southport: Thomson (28,foul), Clark (64, foul)
Line up : (3-4-1-2)
1. Chris Weale
2. Adam Lockwood
4. Terry Skiverton
10. Nick Crittenden
6. Darren Way
11. Michael McIndoe
20. Gavin Williams
19. Abdoulai Demba
24. Abdelhalim El Kholti
Substitutes: 9. Carl Alford (74, for Giles), 12. Chris Giles (21, for Demba), 15. Steven Reed, 18. Kim Grant (90, for El Kholti), 22. Steve Collis
17. Kevin Welsby, 14. Andrew Scott, 6. Martin Clark, 4. Mark Winstanley, 2. Chris Lane, 7. Steve Pickford, 10. Steve Soley, 20. Neil Gibson, 3. Dean Howell, 9. Peter Thomson, 12. Steve Whitehall
Subs : 1. Steven Dickinson, 8. Mark Lloyd-Williams (71, for Whitehall), 11. Steve Jones (59, for Gibson), 18. James Connolly, 19. Tony Sullivan (78, for Scott)
Scorers: Michael MCINDOE (45, 0-1)
This report courtesy of Robin Evans:
After a very one sided meeting at Huish Park at the start of October it
looked as if Southport may slip away from the leading group in the Conference.
However, since that day the Sandgrounders have picked up 10 points from
a possible 15 (to the Glovers 7), and began the day knowing that a home
win would bring them within one point of Yeovil. With this in mind, the
phrases "must win" and the proverbial "six pointer" will have been banded
around by both sets of fans during the build up to this match.
Yeovil made a positive start with Abdelhalim El Kholti, partnering Demba
up front, missing a shooting chance in the first couple of minutes after
good work from Gavin Williams.
The visitors continued to press, and for the first ten minutes looked comfortable,
having had a number of excursions into the Southport penalty area. The home
side made their first real chance after 8 minutes, and this petered out
to a goal kick for Yeovil. A McIndoe corner led to an El Kholti shot which
was blocked. The loose ball came to Lee Johnson, and his low shot headed
toward the corner of the goal but was stopped by keeper Welsby diving to
Southport gradually eased their way back into the game, and about a quarter
of an hour in had a shot from Pickford and a header from Thomson to boost
their confidence. Although seeming to play a 4 - 4 - 2 formation, wing backs
Lane and Howell were always keen to move forward, and Winstanley often dropped
back to cover, or to make a line of five across the defence. Most of the
best moves made by the home side involved wing back Dean Howell and striker
Peter Thomson, and these seemed to be the players who may give Yeovil problems.
Just before the twenty minute mark Whitehall made good progress into the
Yeovil area, but a timely tackle from the reliable Skiverton halted the
Abdoulai Demba made one on two runs playing wide on the right, but he always
seemed to be outnumbered by Southport defenders. On one occasion he cut
back inside and was fouled, but Michael McIndoe's free kick sailed over
the crossbar. Midway through the first half Demba was replaced by Chris
Pickford fired another shot over the bar, but although Yeovil had more possession
and the best of the early chances Southport had probably done enough to
balance the game. A Darren Way throw in to Nick Crittenden earned a corner,
which Lee Johnson took, but Chris Giles header went over the bar.
McIndoe and Giles seemed to combine well, and El Kholti - whether on the
ball or not - was constantly weaving between the home defenders. When he
received the ball, however, he was often dispossessed by the larger Southport
players using their strength (not necessarily unfairly) to push him aside.
Perhaps ironically, it was actually Southport striker Peter Thomson who
received a yellow card for pushing at the other end of the field following
what looked to be a fairly tame exchange.
For the last fifteen minutes of the first half both sides tried to push
forward and had some chances, but neither really looked like making the
breakthrough. A McIndoe corner was well taken by Welsby; a run from Thomson
was halted by a good Lockwood clearance; a promising Southport attack was
ended by Gavin Williams kicking the ball high over the Yeovil bar for a
corner; Giles played in Williams at the other end, and he beat one man and
shot low just past the post; after a low cross from Howell, Thomson flicked
the ball over the goal; a Giles header went wide of the Southport net; a
Gibson free kick failed to find a decisive touch from the Southport forwards.
Reading these notes back it sounds like real end-to-end stuff, but the truth
is that after Yeovil's good start the game had settled down and, rather
than going all out for that killer strike, it looked more as if neither
side wanted to lose.
In the 45th minute skipper Terry Skiverton was booked for a foul, which
looked from where I sat as just a fair challenge, but now each side had
one booking in what had not been a dirty game, and I do not feel either
was deserved. The fourth official showed one added minute, and the free
kick was taken by Gibson and held comfortably by Chris Weale. The Yeovil
(and England!) keeper had done all that was required of him in the first
period, although it was perhaps rather less than he had expected.
With the seconds ticking away, the players readied themselves to come off
of the field after a reasonably even, but inevitably scoreless first half.
Fortunately, no-one thought to tell the script to Michael McINDOE, and when
he unleashed a twenty five yard shot into the top corner of the Southport
goal the away fans were elated and the home fans simply stunned. I hope
that not too many Yeovil supporters missed this moment, as many people had
already began to join the queues for refreshments or toilets! Perhaps the
best compliment came from a couple of Southport fans who, when leaving the
ground after the final whistle, told me that they could have no complaints
at being beaten by "such a superb goal".
Half time: Southport 0 Yeovil Town 1
The second half started much as the first, with Yeovil making the best of
the opening exchanges. Skiverton pushed forward for a Johnson free kick,
but his headed flick on was taken by Welsby. At the other end, a Gibson
free kick went straight to Chris Weale.
In the 52nd minute Adam Lockwood was spoken to after giving away a free
kick just outside the penalty area, but the referee did not produce a card.
The resulting free kick was dealt with comfortably by a Yeovil defence,
who had looked solid and reliable throughout the match.
A promising move saw Nick Crittenden get a shot in, but the ball again sailed
over the bar. With the exception of McIndoe's goal, both sides had suffered
in this respect, and had this been a rugby match it would have been fairly
A Southport throw-in was hooked across the area, but Steve Pickford failed
to connect well and headed well wide. A McIndoe pass through the home defence
was chased by El Kholti, but keeper Welsby narrowly beat him to the ball
diving well at his feet. El Kholti returned the compliment moments later
by feeding the ball to McIndoe, but it was his turn to go for the rugby
conversion by putting the ball onto the terrace.
Southport replaced Neil Gibson with Steve Jones, and his first duties were
to help defend a Yeovil free kick. Lee Johnson played the ball in to El
Kholti, but his shot, almost inevitably, cleared the crossbar.
Chris Giles was brought down on the edge of the area in the 63rd minute,
and the challenge saw Martin Clark receive a booking. Lee Johnson took the
kick, but the ball was collected by keeper Welsby.
As the match reached the last twenty five minutes, it was clear that both
sides were suffering from the heavy pitch. The home crowd were criticising
Southport for failing to clear from their defence, and although Yeovil were
the side pressing forward they were not finding it too much easier, with
Giles, like Demba before him and Alford after him, losing his footing on
the slippery surface more than once. It was clear that the pitch, which
looked good from the comfort of the stands, had suffered from several days
of fairly heavy rain, and although the weather was dry for the match conditions
were not good underfoot.
A loud penalty appeal from Yeovil was ignored by the referee when McIndoe
seemed to be unfairly obstructed by a defender. A certain amount of physical
contact is to be expected, but McIndoe was manoeuvred well away from the
ball by the Southport man who did not seem to want him to get within two
yards of the ball. I have seen several penalties awarded this season alone
for far less - including one against McIndoe himself!
Yeovil continued to press, and Lee Johnson fired a pass across the Southport
box which needed just a touch from Chris Giles to give the Glovers a two
goal lead, but he failed to make contact in front of a seemingly open goal.
If the club obtain a match video I suspect Chris will be forced to sit through
that moment many more times!
With twenty minutes remaining Southport replaced Whitehall with Marc Lloyd-Williams,
who was the top scorer in Europe last season. A few minutes later Yeovil
took off first half substitute Chris Giles with Carl Alford taking his place.
Just inside the last fifteen minutes Southport had what had probably been
their best chance of the game, with a penalty area scramble seeing several
last gasp blocks and finally ending with a clearance a and few sighs of
relief. With twelve minutes remaining Southport declared their intentions
by bringing on additional forward Tony Sullivan for Andy Scott, in an effort
to use the extra front man to get back into the game.
After Yeovil had been awarded an 82nd minute free kick Colin Pluck received
an unnecessary yellow card, which was presumably for something he said,
although his apparent "time wasting" a couple of minutes earlier may not
have helped his cause.
Southport pressed hard in the final five minutes or so, with a Sullivan
free kick being crossed by Lane, but Weale comfortably collected the looping
header from Lloyd-Williams. Lloyd-Williams then had an on-target free kick
comfortably saved by Chris Weale. The same Southport sub probably came closest
to scoring for the home side with three minutes left when his low shot was
well stopped by Weale, but the ball spilled loose and as the Yeovil keeper
regathered two forwards charged in to challenge for the ball. Weale received
treatment, and the first hint of trouble in an otherwise well conducted
match occurred as several of the Yeovil players took exception to the challenges,
but all was quickly calmed down and Weale was soon able to continue.
Three minutes of extra time saw another good cross from Lane, but his forwards
failed to connect. A few precious seconds were taken up when Kim Grant was
brought on instead of El Kholti, but fine defending by Yeovil throughout
the game had ensured a clean sheet was kept.
Final score: Southport 0 Yeovil Town 1
Not the greatest or most exciting game to feature Yeovil this season, but
possibly one of the most important and with the right result against a good
Southport side. An excellent, hard-working team performance by Yeovil, with
particular mentions for El Kholti, scorer McIndoe and the defence as a whole,
saw the Glovers retain their three point advantage at the top of the Conference.
There may not have been six goals today, but this was a BIG win! Do not
lose sight of the facts that (a) Southport were, until today, unbeaten at
home in the Conference; and, (b) just seven days ago Southport defeated
second division Notts County 4 - 2 in an FA Cup tie. I still believe that
when the play-off positions are decided at the end of the season Southport
will be there or thereabouts, and that the Glovers have "done the double"
over them with an aggregate score of 7 - 0 is a testament to the quality
of Gary Johnson's squad.
Internet Man of the Match Voting Result:
|Abdehalim El Kholti
Overall match rating: 6.7 / 10
15 votes received.
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