Match Details: 23/08/2008
Yeovil Town 1-1 Leeds United
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Lloyd Owusu (62)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Asmir Begovic, 3. Nathan Jones, 4. Terry Skiverton, 6. Terrell Forbes, 8. Darren Way, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 11. Danny Schofield, 14. Paul Warne, 17. Aidan Downes, 18. Keiran Murtagh, 27. Lee Peltier
Subs: 9. Lloyd Owusu, 12. Craig Alcock, 13. Josh Wagenaar, 16. Gary Roberts, 19. Andre McCollin,
Substitutes Used: Lloyd Owusu for Danny Schofield (15 mins), Gary Roberts for Aidan Downes (52 mins), Craig Alcock for Darren Way (90 mins)
Bookings: Aidan Downes (Foul, 26), Lee Peltier (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 66), Paul Warne (Foul, 75), Terrell Forbes (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 83)
Yeovil Town maintained their unbeaten start to the 2008-09 season this afternoon at Huish Park, with a hard-working 1-1 draw against Leeds United. They had to fight back from a goal down when Luciano Becchio gave Leeds the lead after just 27 seconds, but when Yeovil won their first penalty for 17 months, Lloyd Owusu stabbed home on the second attempt after his spot-kick was parried by visiting keeper Casper Ankergren.
The Glovers suffered a late pre-match blow when Nathan Smith was withdrawn with a groin injury, whilst Aaron Brown's ankle injury sustained in midweek against Salisbury City had not allowed him a chance to go on the bench. However, midfielder Darren Way passed his fitness test, to at least bring some joy from the morning's set of physio assessments.
Yeovil got off to the worst possible start they could ever imagine, conceding after just 27 seconds. A through ball from Rui Marques was put through to Luciano Becchio, making his first start for Leeds. Captain Terry Skiverton looked favourite to get to the ball, but Becchio caught him off-guard. Becchio scuffed a left-footed shot towards the far post but the ball still crept home, with goalkeeper Asmir Begovic's positioning rather suspect as Leeds stunned the Glovers.
The goal left Yeovil looking rather shellshocked both on and off the field and Leeds gained more early chances through Jermaine Beckford and a free kick from Robert Snodgrass, and it took around 10 minutes for the Glovers to gain any sort of composure on the field. However, a further blow came though with the early substitution of Danny Schofield, after the winger came off second best in a 50:50 challenge, with Lloyd Owusu getting an unexpected early introduction onto the field of play. A goal down and with a key player off the field and matters were looking a little grim.
It was a physical and fiery start to the fixture, with referee Dean Whitestone not really getting a grip on the match and making some weak decisions. Aidan Downes landed in the book, but only after Whitestone buckled under pressure from four Leeds players surrounding him with Whitestone having initially let Downes go - so much for the 'respect' campaign working!
It took 28 minutes though for the Glovers to carve out their first chance, with a Darren Way corner being met by the head of Lee Peltier, but the attempt went straight at keeper Casper Ankergren. Robert Snodgrass was booked for a blatant dive when he really should have had the ability to run past Terry Skiverton. Luciano Becchio became the third player to land in the book as he committed a roughhouse challenge on Terry Skiverton that led to a scrap developing between both sides, with plenty of pushing and shoving going on from both sides as the match threatened to boil over, but Yeovil were probably glad to get in at the break only a goal down and having at least neutered the Leeds attacking prescence after a semi-nervy, semi-sleepy opening spell.
Another injury blow was suffered early in the second period when Aidan Downes became the second winger lost after he trapped his foot in the soft Huish Park turf, going down in agony. Thankfully he left the field under his own feet, but was immediately substituted with Gary Roberts making his debut for the Glovers. However, this was a much brighter opening from the home side and the Glovers were denied an early second half equaliser when Casper Ankergren produced a miraculous point blank save from Paul Warne after the ball dropped into the box, but somehow the ball was blocked out for a corner.
At the other end, a rare Leeds shot from Robert Snodgrass almost deceived Asmir Begovic as the shot went through his hands with the ball mercifully going wide of the goalposts. A few feet on the other side and Asmir would have been appearing on the Christmas comedy goals DVDs for sure.
An hour into the match, with Yeovil by now well on top, the Glovers got a deserved equaliser in undeserved circumstances when Paul Huntington was judged to have fouled Paul Warne in the area and much to the surprise of nearly everyone inside the ground, the Glovers had their first penalty for 17 months - ironic that it should be given for such a soft decision, but this summed up Whitestone's performance all afternoon. Up stepped Lloyd Owusu, and it almost looked as though he had fluffed the attempt when Ankergren blocked the attempt, but Owusu was the first to react and the substitute stabbed home the equalising goal.
In the closing stages of the game, the Glovers increased the pressure, with Owusu and Gavin Tomlin both having chances to produce the winner. In the final 10 minutes Paul Warne almost sealed matters when he dispossessed Frazer Richardson, driving towards goal and only a header off the line from Alan Sheehan denied Warne a winner. Then Sheehan was to the rescue again as Gavin Tomlin broke through the Leeds back line, rounding Ankergren, only to find a brilliant block tackle deny him as he looked to put the ball home. But the winner wouldn't come.
It was a pulsating game, full of incident, perhaps caused by referee Whitestone not getting a tighter grip on the game early on. In the end eight players landed in the book, and really Leeds scorer Luciano Becchio and midfielder Robert Snodgrass were lucky to see the end of the game with Whitestone bottling yellow card decisions against both players after they'd been booked, and also tolerating several instances of Leeds players surrounding him as they argued against his decisions (albeit on occasions with some justification, but this is of course meant to be the season of 'respect' towards officials). However, for sheer entertainment, this was an excellent football match - a pity there were only around 4,500 Glovers fans there to see it happen.
On the down side, Tuesday's match at Middlesbrough could present some complications regarding team selection. Marc Bircham, Jordan Street, Rob Fitzgerald, Nathan Smith and Aaron Brown all missed the match through injury, whilst the injuries to Danny Schofield and Aidan Downes will make that small squad even smaller. As the transfer window deadline looms, action to boost the size of the squad is still definitely needed.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Leeds United 1.
Scorers: Luciano Becchio (0-1, 1 min), Lloyd Owusu (1-1, 62 mins)
Yeovil Town (4-4-1-1):
1. Asmir Begovic
27. Lee Peltier 4. Terry Skiverton 6. Terrell Forbes 3. Nathan Jones
17. Aidan Downes 8. Darren Way 18. Kieran Murtagh 11. Danny Schofield
10. Gavin Tomlin
14. Paul Warne
13. Josh Wagenaar (GK) 9. Lloyd Owusu (15 mins for Danny Schofield) 12. Craig Alcock (90 mins for Darren Way) 16. Gary Roberts (52 mins for Aidan Downes) 19. Andre McCollin
1. Casper Ankergren 2. Frazer Richardson 3. Paul Huntington 5. Rui Marques 11. Alan Sheehan 23. Robert Snodgrass 14. Jonathan Howson 7. David Prutton 18. Andy Robinson 9. Jermaine Beckford 10. Luciano Becchio
12. David Lucas (GK) 4. Jonathan Douglas (73 mins for Robert Snodgrass) 15. Fabian Delph (86 mins for Jonathan Howson) 21. Enoch Showunmi (for Andy Robinson) 26. Paul Telfer
Yeovil Bookings: Aidan Downes (foul, 26 mins), Lee Peltier (off the ball incident, 66 mins), Paul Warne (foul, 75 mins), Terrell Forbes (kicking ball away, 83 mins)
Leeds Bookings: Robert Snodgrass (diving, 32 mins), Luciano Becchio (foul, 41 mins), Paul Huntington (foul, 61 mins), Jermaine Beckford (dissent, 63 mins)
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire). Assistants: William Bull (Hampshire) and Malcolm West (Cornwall). Fourth Official: Mark Philpott (Cornwall).
Attendance: 6,580 (including 1,858 Leeds fans).