Match Details: 01/03/2008
Gillingham 0-0 Yeovil Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 2. Mark Lynch, 4. Terry Skiverton, 6. Terrell Forbes, 8. Anthony Barry, 10. Marcus Stewart, 15. Liam Bridcutt, 16. Jaime Peters, 24. Andy Kirk, 27. Lee Peltier, 31. Scott Flinders, 32. Marvin Williams
Subs: 5. Scott Guyett, 9. Lloyd Owusu, 14. Paul Warne, 17. Simon Church, 26. Stephen Maher,
Substitutes Used: Simon Church for Marvin Williams (54 mins), Lloyd Owusu for Liam Bridcutt (60 mins), Stephen Maher for Andy Kirk (74 mins)
Bookings: Marvin Williams (Foul, 28), Terrell Forbes (Foul, 29), Anthony Barry (Foul, 42), Lee Peltier (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 66),
Yeovil Town picked up a valuable away point against Gillingham today at Priestfield, despite having to play the closing stages of a 0-0 draw with 10 men, after referee Darren Deadman produced a red card for Stephen Maher, just four minutes after being introduced as a substitute.
The Glovers went into the match on the back of a series of injury and illness problems which meant that every available first team squad member travelled to Kent. They lined up with a 4-5-1 formation that mutated on attack into a 4-3-3 with both wingers pushing up to join Andy Kirk.
The first half saw Yeovil pass the ball around well, albeit without carving open too many chances. Playing on a hard pitch with uneven bounce, control of the ball from both sides was often questionable, and it was only once Yeovil got the ball onto the wings and away from the rutted centres that they were able to show more promise. Their best attempt of the first period came when Marvin Williams broke down the left flank but Liam Bridcutt's attempt flew over the bar.
At the other end, Gillingham were just as wasteful with the Gills failing to seriously test Glovers keeper Scott Flinders at any stage. In fact their best attempt came right on half time when set-piece expert Adam Miller swung the ball in and it was the boot of Terry Skiverton that almost contrived to drag the ball into the back of the net. Mercifully the ball flew the other side of the post and out for a corner.
The second period saw the Glovers maintain their strong position roughly up until the hour mark, when a series of slightly panicky passes from the Glovers midfield saw Gillingham regain possession cheaply and begin to put the pressure on. Home striker Leroy Griffiths squandered a one-on-one when Scott Flinders came out and blocked superbly, but with the ball flying loose, it was only after a second, and then a third Yeovil defensive block that allowed the ball to nicely lift up straight into the arms of a rather grateful Yeovil keeper.
Gillingham had huge appeals for a handball turned down when Leroy Griffiths and Terrell Forbes tangled in the box, and when the Yeovil defender tried to regain his balance after landing on the deck, presumably the ball had rolled onto Terrell's arm, resulting in a cry in unison from the fans at the home end of the ground. Referee Darren Deadman presumably decided "ball hit hand" rather than the other way round - from 80 yards away in the away stand it was impossible to make a judgement.
Talking of Mr Deadman, his officiating was becoming more and more ragged, frequently reacting to what the home crowd told him to do. His booking of Lee Peltier, after the right-back had pushed the ball down the channel following an earlier foul, would not have happened were it not for the Gillingham main stand telling him he had overlooked something. Peltier will now miss the next two matches for his 10th booking of the season.
Equally, after manager Russell Slade had introduced Stephen Maher into the centre of midfield, his thunderous tackle on Simon King seemed to be a ball-winning one, but as the centre-back flipped up on the follow-through, a Gillingham melee was provoked and Mr Deadman got his red card out two nano-seconds later, leaving Yeovil down to 10 men with just under 15 minutes left.
Gillingham poured forward, even using King's substitution to instigate a more attacking formation. For the second time in the match, Terry Skiverton inadvertantly almost became Gillingham's match winner as his header from an Adam Miller free kick skidded off the foot of the post. Then as time ran out, another Gillingham appeal for a penalty went ignored by Mr Deadman, and on this occasion you had to wonder if he was regretting his impetuous behaviour over the Maher red card. Looking down the channel, the tugback looked fairly conclusive, but all too often - and thankfully on this occasion - officials tend to decide that two wrongs make a right.
Marcus Stewart could even have won the game for the Glovers when his shot from the edge of the box was turned around for a corner, but Yeovil hung on through a succession of late corners during four minutes of second half injury time, and there was mass relief from the away terrace when the final whistle blew.
The result keeps Yeovil in 16th position in the league table, and with 4th from bottom side Crewe Alexandra also drawing, things are very much 'as you were' although all sides have now played an extra game. With Hartlepool, Millwall, Port Vale and Luton all losing, Bournemouth were the only side in the bottom eight to pick up three points and so if anything matters are slightly improved against the morning's table.
This was not the prettiest of matches by a long chalk, and much of the blood and thunder was in the middle third of the field. Creatively, the Glovers were not really at the races, but in terms of their grit and determination they deserve a big thumbs up, particularly for the "backs against the wall" attitude of the final 15 minutes after Maher was given his marching orders. This wasn't the sort of performance to make you think that the corner has been turned on the recent poor form, but it was the sort of performance to give those watching the faith that there is still plenty of fight within the Glovers ranks.
Final Score: Gillingham 0 Yeovil Town 0.
12. Simon Royce
37. Garry Richards 4. Danny Cullip 5. Simon King 35. John Nutter
19. Sean Clohessy 39. Stuart Lewis 7. Andrew Crofts 36. Adam Miller
10. Delroy Facey 30. Leroy Griffiths
Subs: 20. Simeon Jackson (90 mins for Delroy Facey) 22. Derek Stillie (GK) 28. Dennis Oli (79 mins for Simon King) 38. Barry Fuller 9. Gary Mulligan (76 mins for Leroy Griffiths)
Yeovil Town: 4-5-1
31. Scott Flinders
27. Lee Peltier 6. Terrell Forbes 4. Terry Skiverton 2. Mark Lynch
32. Marvin Williams 8. Anthony Barry 10. Marcus Stewart 15. Liam Bridcutt 16. Jaime Peters
24. Andy Kirk
Subs: 5. Scott Guyett 9. Lloyd Owusu (60 mins for Liam Bridcutt) 17. Simon Church (54 mins for Marvin Williams) 14. Paul Warne 26. Stephen Maher (74 mins for Andy Kirk)
Gillingham Bookings: Danny Cullip (68 mins, foul)
Yeovil Bookings: Marvin Williams (28 mins, foul), Terrell Forbes (29 mins, foul), Anthony Barry (42 mins, foul), Lee Peltier (66 mins, kicking ball away). Red Card: Stephen Maher (78 mins, serious foul play).
Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire). Assistants: David Bushell (London) and Rob Whitton (Essex). Fourth Official: John Hopkins (Essex).