The last thing Gary Johnson needed on a day when he travelled up to Lancashire was another defensive injury. Hugo Rodrigues was serving his single match suspension, whilst Roy O'Brien and Ronnie Bull were still recovering from their knee injuries. So when club captain Terry Skiverton got a dead leg in training on Thursday, that just compounded Johnson's problems, and he was forced to select a very different looking defensive line-up for the trip to Bury. Stephen Reed came in to make his Football League debut at left-back whilst Paul Terry started at right-back. Adam Lockwood and Colin Pluck, as Yeovil's last two experienced first team defenders, occupied the two central slots.
With such a makeshift back-line, the last thing Gary Johnson needed was another injury. Five minutes into the match, he got that, when Adam Lockwood fouled Harpal Singh. The tricky Bury midfielder was sent tumbling and crashed into the on-coming Gavin Williams, leaving both players on the deck. Williams, after lengthy off-the-field treatment, came back on to spend another five minutes limping about the pitch, but unsurprisingly was withdrawn soon afterwards to allow loan-signing Lee Elam to make his Football League debut.
Between the injury and the substitution, Lee Johnson had set up Yeovil's first chance of the afternoon; a neat through-ball got Kevin Gall behind the Bury defence, but the striker shot perhaps a touch early and home keeper Glyn Garner was able to save relatively comfortably.
The first half was an open one, with attackers very much on top for both sides. Glenn Whelan curled a free kick just wide of Glovers keeper Chris Weale's right hand post, whilst a poor defensive clearance let Darren Way in at the other end, but his 20 yard shot went wide of the right-hand post.
Chris Weale was seeing plenty of the ball early on, but the communication with his new back line was not always there, and there were several occasions during the first 45 minutes when either he or his team-mates seemed to get in each others way. One such occasion saw a Danny Swailes cross punched out by Weale, but in doing so he collided with one of his own players and was left on the floor. Fortunately, an attempted lob by Glenn Whelan was blocked on the line by Paul Terry. The Yeovil right-back managed two goal-line clearances in quick succession, as he also denied a Gareth Seddon header, with the home side very much on top during the middle section of the first half.
Referee Michael Jones was one of those match officials that wanted to be noticed. Glenn Whelan's booking
for crashing into Abdelhalim El Kholti, and Stephen Reed's shirt-pulling produced fairly academic bookings,
but it was becoming pretty apparent what sort of match official we had out there when home keeper Glyn Garner
was carded for taking a goal kick a foot outside the six yard box. Pulling up the keeper for the offence was
correct, but Garner was understandably surprised to find Mr Jones sprinting across the field, clutching a
yellow card all the way as if he fancied a run as the next Olympic torch carrier.
Bury continued to edge proceedings though and Philip Gulliver was the next home player to try his luck as he flashed a header across the face of goal as he flicked on a corner. It was therefore somewhat of a surprise when the visitors took the lead on 31 minutes. Lee Johnson, who was almost the sole form of creativity for Yeovil during the afternoon, crossed the ball into the box, Adam Lockwood headed the ball down, and Jake EDWARDS drove the ball home through a crowd of players, despite the attempts of a Bury defender to stop the ball going in via his hands.
Only four minutes later though, the home side drew level, with a chaotic equaliser. Bury broke up field, and as they rained in shots on Yeovil's goal, a succession of blocks by Chris Weale and several Yeovil defence just seemed to continually fall back to other Bury players, who teed up more shots. At about the fourth attempt, Paul O'SHAUGHNESSY landed the ball in the back of the net to level the scores.
Lee Elam, who was having an impressive start to his Yeovil career, almost got on the scoresheet when he stabbed the ball under Glyn Garner almost straight from the kick-off, but Glenn Whelan hacked the ball off the line, just when it seemed Yeovil had gone 2-1 up. A very strange and open first half was ended, and the only surprise was that both sides had only managed to score one each.