Match Details: 17/08/2002
Yeovil Town 2-2 Gravesend and Northfleet
Yeovil Goals: Nick Crittenden (67), Terry Skiverton (90)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Chris Weale, 2. Adam Lockwood, 3. Anthony Tonkin, 4. Terry Skiverton, 6. Darren Way, 7. Adam Stansfield, 8. Lee Johnson, 10. Nick Crittenden, 11. Michael McIndoe, 17. Tom White, 20. Gavin Williams
Subs: 9. Carl Alford, 13. Jon Sheffield, 14. Roy O'Brien, 16. Andy Lindegaard, 19. Abdoulai Demba,
Substitutes Used: Abdoulai Demba for Adam Stansfield (20 mins), Carl Alford for Adam Lockwood (59 mins)
Bookings: Adam Lockwood (Foul, 7)
Adam Stansfield will remember his two games against Paul Wilkerson, but for different reasons. The first ended in FA Trophy glory, today's ended in hospital with a double leg fracture. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
That was just one aspect of a nightmare first half that Gary Johnson had to endure. That was compounded by defensive lapses that allowed Gravesend to take a two-goal lead in at the interval. For Gravesend's part, they deserved their lead: their defence was big, strong and resolute; their midfield and strikers chased throughout to unsettle a more skilful Yeovil side. If Yeovil's promotion ambitions are to be realised, they will need to deal more effectively with the many other strong sides in the Conference this season.
Both managers had injury problems to overcome, but that to Colin Pluck sitting in the stand may have been the most significant. The first real attack on four minutes produced the Gravesend opener: the Yeovil defence dithered and failed to clear a right wing attack, Mark BENTLEY seemingly taking an age turn on the penalty spot and rifle his shot past the Yeovil keeper. Yeovil 0 Gravesend 1.
Although this spurred Yeovil forward, Gravesend were threatening on the break, resulting in some desperate measures by Lockwood, winning himself a caution for a foul on Jackson chasing a good through ball.
At the other end Skiverton attempted add emphasis to his attack and was unfortunate to see his shot rebound off the underside of the Gravesend bar, but again he was given far too much time to turn in the box.
Then that horrendous injury to Stansfield, racing onto a through ball got there the same time as Wilkerson, the two collided and the ball squirmed away to Williams, his left foot shot curled wide of the far post. It was six minutes before Stansfield was stretchered off the pitch with right leg in splints. Demba replaced Stansfield and was soon in action, his first header was well taken by Wilkerson.
Gravesend defended stoutly: they were well organised when breaking forward, and played simple and effective football. With Skiverton pushing forward, Yeovil often looked susceptible when Gravesend counter-attacked. Yeovil were at full strength when Gravesend added their second: a carbon copy of the first: Jimmy JACKSON this time, had far too much time to turn in the Yeovil box and fire past Weale. Yeovil 0 Gravesend 2.
This set back only spurred Yeovil on to greater effort. If Yeovil were guilty of poor football, and Lee Johnson was having a similar nightmare to his father, no one could fault the Yeovil spirit. McIndoe played in Demba, but his final shot was well taken by Wilkerson. Yeovil put together a fine string of passes around the Gravesend box, Williams was unlucky to see his chip float past the far post. But as the game moved into eight minutes of injury time it was again Gravesend who might have added a third goal, Stadhart's header just outside the right hand post.
Half Time: Yeovil Town 0 Gravesend and Northfleet 2.
In contrast the second half was Yeovil's, Gravesend had rode their luck but Yeovil produced a near relentless onslaught. Williams was often the perpetrator as he was in the opening minutes when his cross from the right flew across the Gravesend goal, McIndoe just failing to make contact at the far post. Demba chased long through balls, Wilkerson called upon to race outside of his box to clear on more than one occasion.
As the game wore on Gravesend became more and more desperate: long clearances downfield or over the terrace roof. Resorting to more illegal tactics, first Matt Lee was booked and then Paul Sturgess was dismissed for a foul on Demba when the Yeovil man appeared to be clear on goal. With Gravesend down to ten men Johnson replaced Adam Lockwood with Carl Alford, Yeovil switching to a 3-4-3.
In a game that was short of skill, a bit of Nick CRITTENDEN magic eventually gave Yeovil a lifeline. Dribbling into the Gravesend penalty box past three or maybe four defenders he riffled a low right foot shot past Wilkerson's right hand. Yeovil 1 Gravesend 2.
Gravesend were on the ropes, and Yeovil were flying: Wilkerson's legs blocked another Demba effort, McIndoe shot over, McIndoe's post header won a corner, Demba headed Way's cross over, and Demba then headed McIndoe's corner into Wilkerson's hands. But, at times Yeovil were living dangerously, playing a 3-2-5 formation in search of an equaliser.
In response Gravesend had a number of chances on the break, most notably Bentley's run from the centre circle, but he failed to apply any power to his shot from the edge of the box.
As time run onto ninety minutes Yeovil grabbed an equaliser. Excellent work by Demba won Yeovil a corner on the right. McIndoe's in-swinger was deep to Terry SKIVERTON who eluded his marker at the back post with a delicate chip, waiting what seemed an eternity, he eventually volleyed the dropping ball into the back of the Gravesend goal, sending the Yeovil contingent of today's 2948 crowd into rapturous applause. Yeovil 2 Gravesend 2.
Five minutes of injury time might have been enough time for either side to grab a winner: Gravesend came closest. Two headers by Gravesend substitute Booth could have made it a perfect start for the newcomer's Conference season. But, in the end, one point apiece was probably just about fair.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 2 Gravesend and Northfleet 2
Sat 17th August 2002
Match Report: Noddy Elms
Venue: The Avenue Stadium, Dorchester
Pitch: Firm with lush grass.
Att : 2,948
Scorers: Mark Bentley (0-1, 4 mins), Jimmy Jackson (0-2, 32 mins), Nick Crittenden (1-2, 67 mins), Terry Skiverton (2-2, 90 mins).
Referee : A.Woolmer (Northampton)
Assistants : A.Woolf, T.Case
Yeovil Town Line-Up : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale,
2. Adam Lockwood, 4. Terry Skiverton, 17. Tom White, 3. Anthony Tonkin,
10. Nick Crittenden, 6. Darren Way, 8. Lee Johnson, 11. Michael McIndoe,
20. Gavin Williams, 7. Adam Stansfield.
Substitutes : 9. Carl Alford (59 mins for Lockwood), 13. Jon Sheffield, 14. Roy O'Brien, 16. Andy Lindegaard, 19. Abdoulai Demba (20 mins for Stansfield).
Bookings: Lockwood (foul, 7 mins)
Gravesend : (4-4-2)
12. Paul Wilkerson,
2. Matt Lee, 4. Nick Burton, 5. Aaron Barnett, 23. Paul Sturgess,
19. Mark Bentley, 14. Steve McKimm, 17. Jimmy Strouts, 11. Jimmy Jackson,
10. Che Stadhart, 18. Liam Hatch.
Substitutes : 1. Jamie Turner, 21. Jamie Coyle, 24. Tostao Kwashi (86 mins for Hatch), 8. Robert Owen (45 mins for McKimm), 22. Paul Booth (64 mins for Stadhart).
Bookings: Lee (foul, 47 mins)
Sending Off: Sturgess (professional foul, 57 mins)