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Season 2006-2007 : Yeovil Town vs Gillingham : Saturday 9th December 2006
Coca Cola League One : Yeovil Town vs Gillingham

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Venue: Huish Park
Saturday 9th December 2006, 3.00pm kick-off.

Conditions: Dry and cold
Pitch: Good but greasy

Scorers: Leon Best (17 mins, 1-0), Chris Cohen (59 mins, 2-0)

Attendance: 4,933 (including 281 Gillingham supporters)

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)
Assistants: Neil Radford (Worcester) and Malcolm West (Cornwall)
Fourth official: Andrew Rodda (Devon)

Bookings:
Yeovil: Chris Cohen (dissent, 43 mins)
Gillingham: Mark Bentley (foul, 29 mins)

Team Line-Ups

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Steve Mildenhall
28. Martin Cranie 4. Terry Skiverton 6. Terrell Forbes 3. Nathan Jones
12. Martin Brittain 11. Chris Cohen 14. Jean-Paul Kalala 9. Arron Davies
25. Lee Morris 30. Leon Best

Subs: 2. Anthony Tonkin 5. Scott Guyett 8. Anthony Barry 10. Wayne Gray (84 mins for Lee Morris) 27. Ishmael Welsh (80 mins for Martin Brittain)

Gillingham :
13. Dean Brill 5. Brent Sancho 6. Ian Cox 20. Ben Chorley 2. Duncan Jupp 4. Michael Flynn 7. Andrew Crofts 8. Mark Bentley 12. Clint Easton 9. Gary Mulligan 21. Matthew Jarvis

Subs: 3. Danny Jackman 14. Leon Johnson 22. Daniel Spiller (63 mins for Ben Chorley) 24. Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu (63 mins for Michael Flynn) 25. Alan Pouton (62 mins for Mark Bentley)

Match Report

Manager Russell Slade was forced into making two changes to regular positions following the long term injury to Paul Terry and the loss of Mark Lynch for six weeks. That meant that Jean-Paul Kalala was back in the side playing in central midfield, whilst Martin Cranie managed his third position in his first three games for the Glovers. Cranie's move to right-back meant that Chris Cohen moved into the centre, whilst Arron Davies was the second player to be recalled, coming in at a left-wing position. Otherwise the team was 'as you were' with new signing Marcus Stewart being paraded to the Huish Park crowd before the game to huge applause, but unable to play until January.

Early blocks from Terry Skiverton and Jean-Paul Kalala around the Glovers penalty box suggested that Yeovil were in a determined mood to avoid last weekend's early mistakes that put them in such a poor position against Rotherham. At the other end, Arron Davies was taking good advantage of his start in the side, weaving his way through and making room for himself only to find Gills emergency keeper signing Dean Brill getting down low to save his shot. Gillingham were opting to sit deep and play the defensive game to try and bolster up a side that has only won one game away from home all season. Playing five at the back and keeping the defence close to the back line, it was a crowded goalmouth at times with the Glovers definitely on top and the Gills giving away a few too many free kicks with some robust challenges. From one such move, Arron Davies shot well over the bar. On another occasion a 50 yard ball by Chris Cohen found Davies again, whose first time ball to Lee Morris was just about cut out by the stretched Gillingham defence.

The Glovers got the break they needed with just 17 minutes gone. Gills keeper Dean Brill's drop-kick only reached the halfway line, and Nathan Jones put in a powerful header that sent the ball into the opposition half. Lee Morris was running back from an offside position and so made it clear he was not going near the ball, but that appeared to be enough for the Gillingham defence to stand still and appeal for an offside flag that never came. Leon BEST appeared to be the only player on the entire field to react to the situation, and he ran into the open space, clean through on goal, and as Brill came off his line, Best's shot was perfect, coming off the inside of the left-hand post to give the Glovers the perfect start. 1-0 and the defensive tactics of the visitors were now going to have to change.

Yeovil continued their relative dominance although Gillingham made no staggering attempt to change the way they were playing. Mark Bentley was lucky to stay on the pitch when he hacked down Nathan Jones right in front of the dugouts long after the ball had gone. Referee Anthony Taylor had his yellow card out of his pocket in probably sharper time than Bentley had managed on his tackle. Overall Mr Taylor wasn't having a particularly impressive match. Little niggles were being blown for, whilst far more blatant shoves and trips were being let go. That certainly frustrated Lee Morris who was shoved off the ball without a whistle being blown, and then lost his head slightly, sliding in on his assailent, mercifully winning the ball but unwittingly sliding it straight into the path of Gillingham's Gary Mulligan who fired in goal, but Steve Mildenhall brilliantly parried leaving Terry Skiverton to hack the loose ball away. Gillingham's first real chance of the game, and even then it had been partially created by Yeovil. A minute later a Michael Flynn cross had to be punched over his own crossbar by Mildenhall, and for the first time in the match Gillingham were looking a bit more lively up front. The half ended with Chris Cohen being booked for declaring his displeasure at Terry Skiverton being penalised by the overfussy Mr Taylor. But all things considered this was a promising 45 minutes if only Yeovil could grab the second goal they needed.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 1 - 0 Gillingham

Yeovil got off to an extremely forceful start with a Chris Cohen crossfield ball picking out Martin Brittain beautifully. The on-loan Ipswich winger, who had an unusually quiet first half, got off to a flyer with his first touch of the second period, forcing Gillingham defender Ben Chorley to head out Brittain's cross-cum-shot from under his own crossbar with keeper Brill stranded. From the loose ball, Arron Davies picked out another shot on goal but this time Brill's positioning allowed him to get down low and smother the shot.

Five minutes into the half and a wonderful piece of ball control by Nathan Jones completely lost a pair of Gillingham players who were supposedly marking him, sliding the ball past one then performing one of his trademark step-overs to completely wrong-foot the other, to leave the Yeovil left-back in acres of space down the left flank. Arron Davies applied a delicate near post flick-on to the dangerous looking cross, but a Gills defender blocked the ball out for a corner.

Just 14 minutes into the second period though, Yeovil doubled their lead after some sloppy Gillingham defending. A Martin Brittain corner landed at the back post, and a Gills defender half-cleared the attempt but into the path of Lee Morris who had his back to goal. He pushed the ball back a couple of yards to Chris COHEN who was on a narrow angle, but still managed to smash the ball into the roof of the net. 2-0 and unless Yeovil did something stupid this was game over. The celebrations involved some slightly bizarre karate-style moves, and its probably just as well that no-one got in the way of Skivo as he came running in for his own high-kick celebration!

Yeovil's confidence grew with the second goal, and Leon Best twisted and turned inside the box to fire in a shot that Brill had to palm out for a corner. Arron Davies also cut inside the visiting defence, getting into a nice position but with his final shot lacking a bit of pace to go with it. Gillingham manager Ronnie Jepson decided he needed to gamble badly and threw on three substitutes with just under 30 minutes left in an attempt to salvage something.

The effect of the change in personnel from the visitors was to leave them acutely stretched at the back as they pushed men up field. On one occasion, Nathan Jones almost inadvertantly set Yeovil up from long distance - his 40 yard cross was hopelessly misjudged by keeper Brill, who came off his line too fast, and in the end could only get a single flapping palm on the ball before grabbing it on the bounce, with Lee Morris patrolling behind him hoping for some scraps.

With 10 minutes left, Arron Davies showed astonishing athleticism for a match that was almost over, by capitalising on Gillingham losing possession in the Yeovil half, with the Welshman running 70 yards up the field, completely leaving the paper-thin Gills defence for dead and firing in a shot that deserved a goal but was turned around the post for a corner. From that set-piece, Terry Skiverton was denied firstly by a brilliant save by Brill as he put in a bullet header, and then by a block from Brent Sancho as he tried to follow-up with a second header. Three chances inside 60 seconds and Yeovil had Gillingham rocking.

Despite the extra men up front, Gillingham's shooting was woeful with the majority of their second half chances landing in the Copse end of the ground. The nearest they got to getting a goal came almost with the last kick of the game when a Clint Easton free kick struck the post, rolled behind the prone Steve Mildenhall, then trickled along the goalmouth and out for a goal kick on the opposite side of the goal. When it's not your day, it's not your day!

An excellent performance though by the Glovers and their best for probably around a month, giving hope that they have reignited the spark they needed to get themselves back into challenging for the playoffs. The team was as fluent as it has been all season, and the new formation suited them. Perhaps in Leon Best they have a striker who may make the loss of Marcus Stewart not hurt quite as much as they might have thought it would.

MOTM Vote Result:

Pos Player
1 Nathan Jones
2 Leon Best
3 Chris Cohen

Overall match rating: 7.5 / 10
Performance: 7.5
Entertainment: 7.5

52 votes received.

Any comments/questions please email ytfc.motm@tiscali.co.uk

Full-time: Yeovil Town 2 - 0 Gillingham
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