Yeovil Town Story Part 23
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THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 23

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SEASON 1958-59 : THE SOUTHERN LEAGUE EXPANDS

The 1958/59 season saw a major change to the Southern League. Thirteen clubs had applied to join and it was therefore decided to create two zonal leagues of equal status - the Southern Eastern Zone and the North Western Zone. At the end of the season, the top eleven clubs in each of the two zonal leagues would form a Premier Division for the 1959/60 season with the remaining teams (plus new applicants) forming Division One.

The thirteen new clubs were King's Lynn, Cambridge City, Cambridge United, Trowbridge Town and Yiewsey in the South East Zone and Boston United, Wellington Town (now Telford United), Nuneaton Borough, Wisbech Town, Corby Town, Rugby Town and Burton Albion in the North Western Zone.

Yeovil Town competed in the South Eastern Zone, finishing in fourth place to qualify comfortably for a place in the new Premier Division the following season. During the season, they lost only two matches at Huish. Yeovil started the season in fine form and it was not until 4th October that they suffered their first defeat, at which time they were top of the table.

The play-off for the Southern League Championship was won by Bedford Town who beat North Western Zone winners Hereford United 2-1 at Edgar Street. As the smaller leagues meant fewer matches, an inter-zone competition was introduced to fill the fixture gap. Yeovil Town won their section losing only to Exeter City Reserves. The other clubs in the Zone being Poole, Trowbridge and Weymouth.

In the FA Cup, Bideford were easily brushed aside in the Fourth Qualifying round in Devon 4-1. This bought a trip to Southend United in the First Round. Player manager Jimmy Baldwin was injured during this game and, as there were no substitutes in those days, played on standing on one leg in the middle of the pitch. Yeovil held on in a goalless match watched by a crowd of 15,276 to earn a replay at Huish the following Thursday afternoon, with the winners drawn away to Colchester United in the Second Round of the competition. A Johnny Dennis goal put Yeovil Town through and plans were made for another outing to Essex.

Special trains were organised at a fare of 24/-, Yeovil's many travelling fans seeing a Stan Earl penalty earning the side a 1-1 draw at Layer Road. The following Thursday afternoon in Yeovil was wet even by English standards - rain had been falling all night and continued throughout the day. Yeovil were no match for Colchester in the replay, a crowd of 7,300 seeing centre-forward Langman score five in his side's 7-1 triumph.

Yeovil progressed to the Fourth Round of the Southern League Cup, defeating Merthyr Tydfil in the two-legged qualifying round, Poole Town after a replay and Weymouth after a second replay before losing 0-2 to Bath City at Twerton Park.

In the new year, Dave Topping and Brian Edwards held their testimonial game against Bournemouth. The fog came down during the match, the referee calling a halt eight minutes from time. The season ended on a disappointing note, Yeovil losing to Bridgwater Town in the final of the Somerset Professional Cup 1-2 in the replay at Huish.

The Reserves, however, had a great season. Top of the table at Christmas ahead of Dorchester, Salisbury and Bridgwater they finished the campaign as champions and also won the Western League Cup.

Appearing in the first team during the season were: Goalkeepers: Jones (from Swansea Town), Evans (Walsall). Full-backs: Robshaw, Earl, Fisher. Halfbacks: Baldwin, Elliott, Topping, Lambden, Harris (Crystal Palace), Blackburn (Swansea Town), O'Donnell (Stockport County). Forwards: McKay, Travis, Gaynor, Edwards, Riseborough, Dennis (Crystal Palace), Phillips (Swansea Town), McConnon (Burnley), Edmonds (Mansfield Town), Warren (Bournemouth) and Oosthuizen (Poole Town).

McConnon finished as the Club's leading goalscorer with 37, whilst Don Travis scored 36 for the Reserves. At the end of the season, Elliott moved to Ayr United and Oosthuizen to Carlisle United.

Link: 1958-59 First Team Fixtures And Results.

Link: 1958-59 First Team Scorers.

Yeovil Town beat Southend United in an FA Cup replay in 1958-59
Yeovil Town beat Southend United in an FA Cup replay in 1958-59.

Back row (L-R): Stan Earl, Len Harris, Dave Jones, Billy Elliott Harry Robshaw, Terry McConnon. Front row (L-R): John Dennis, Don Travis, Doug Hunt, Jimmy Baldwin, Ernie Emmonds, Johnny McKay.

With the advent of the new Premier Division of the Southern League in the 1959/60 season, hopes were high at Huish at the start of the campaign. These were not to be realised, however, Yeovil finishing in eleventh place in the League and they were knocked out of the FA Cup, Southern League Cup and Somerset Premier Cup at the qualifying stage and the Southern League Championship was won by Bath City, a 3-0 win over runners up Headington (now Oxford United).in front of 6,221 at Twerton Park early in April set them up for the Championship which was clinched with a 2-1 win over Yeovil on 18th April.

Yeovil's interest in the Southern League Cup lasted only to 8th September having lost 1-5 on aggregate to Trowbridge Town. A month later a visit to Twerton Park saw Yeovil go out of the County Cup 0-2. The Fourth Qualifying round of the FA Cup brought a visit from Bath City and attracted a 'gate' of 9,496. Yeovil went down 2-0. Playing in the Bath side at right-back was Tony Book, a bricklayer previously with Frome Town. He later moved into League football at the age of 28 to eventually become a "Footballer of the Year" and Manager of Manchester City. His full-back partner at Huish that day was Ian McFarlane (remember his brief disastrous stay at Huish for a few weeks in 1984).

Danny Paton, who was on the books of Hearts, was doing his National Service at Houndstone Camp in 1959 and came for a pre-season trial. During his stay, Danny proved to be one of the most exciting players ever to don the green and white. Another player recruited from Houndstone Camp was Dennis Coughlin. He scored a hat-trick in his first game at centre-forward against Weymouth Reserves.

Yeovil Town's first home match of the season was against Wellington Town (now Telford United), Yeovil running out 7-0 winners before 5,430 spectators. This good attendance had slumped to a mere 1,802 for the last game of the season against Kettering Town. There was an outcry at the Wellington game as the Supporters Club had increased the cost of the matchday programme.... to fourpence!

Meanwhile, club secretary Ivan Rendall became a father for the first time and local boy Ron Fowler was selcted to keep goal for Somerset against Gloucestershire.

The Club's finances were again worrying the directors. The average income from the 'gates' amounted to £270, whilst the Green and White supporters Club was handing over £150 per week, but the weekly expenditure was running at almost £450 made up as follows:

Wages £283
Bonus £24
Property repairs £5
Rates £12
Rent £5
Gas, Electricity, Water £5
Referees, Linesmen, Gatemen £14
Police fees £3
Postage & Telephone £6
Bank charges £3
Audit & Sundry expenses £5
Laundry £4
League fees and Forms £1
Insurance £7
Printing & Stationery £6
Travelling expenses £55
Kit £7
Medical £3

On their way to play at Bedford on 5th January, 1960, all the team's kit was lost at St Pancras Railway Station, a guard had removed the skip from the guards van and the team had to play in borrowed kit and boots, losing 5-3. Results did not improve in the New Year and at the end of March the Directors decided not to renew Jimmy Baldwin's contract, Baldwin leaving the Club at once.

His successor, Basil Hayward, was appointed on 13th April and immediately took up his duties as Player/Manager.

The season's playing staff was as follows: Goalkeepers: Evans, Jones; Full-backs: Robshaw, Earl, Lyske (from Darlington), Wilson (Barrow); Half-backs: Baldwin, Harris, O'Donnell, Topping, Blackburn, Gaynor, Lambden, McLaughlin (Headington United); Forward: Dennis, Phillips, McConnon, McKay, Warren, Emmonds, Mcllvenny (Barrow), Paton (Herts), Roost (Swindon Town), Pounder (Crewe Alex.), Pacey (Aldershot) and Coughlin (Barnsley).

John Dennis made 46 appearences for the first team and the legendary Danny Paton was leading scorer with 18 goals to his credit.

Link: 1959-60 First Team Fixtures And Results.

Link: 1959-60 First Team Scorers.

The Yeovil Town Story : Other Pages

THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 23

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