Match Details: 26/12/2008
Yeovil Town 1-1 Cheltenham Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Luke Rodgers (75)
Yeovil Line-Up: 4. Terry Skiverton, 6. Terrell Forbes, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 11. Danny Schofield, 12. Craig Alcock, 13. Josh Wagenaar, 14. Paul Warne, 15. Luke Rodgers, 16. Gary Roberts, 27. Lee Peltier, 28. Nathan Smith
Subs: 3. Nathan Jones, 9. Andy Welsh, 17. Aidan Downes, 18. Keiran Murtagh, 23. Aaron Brown,
Substitutes Used: Andy Welsh for Paul Warne (50 mins), Aaron Brown for Gavin Tomlin (65 mins), Aidan Downes for Gary Roberts (85 mins)
Bookings: Lee Peltier (Foul, 44), Luke Rodgers (Foul, 80)
Yeovil Town had to settle for a home draw this afternoon against Cheltenham Town despite enjoying the lion's share of the possession. The Robins scored with their only shot on target in the first half as Ashley Vincent caught them on the break. But a Luke Rodgers near post header just 16 minutes from time gave them just reward for their efforts, even if for all their possession, chances in the second period were at a premium.
The Glovers went into the match without striker Gifton Noel-Williams, who has been suffering with some kind of tonsil-related ailment over the past fortnight, meaning that he missed the final loan match of his loan spell before returning to Millwall. Yeovil are not expected to continue their interest in the player. Added to that, long term injury victims Marc Bircham and Darren Way continued to be unavailable.
An early flurry from Cheltenham that saw them create a couple of half chances in the opening five minutes of the match didn't really establish what was to be the main pattern of the first period. That was for Yeovil to dominate possession to an extreme, passing the ball around well, and stretching the Robins on a pitch that was certainly playable but was cutting up badly as the half wore on.
The amount of possession though deserved more chances. Without a target man in their side, Gavin Tomlin was asked to perform the 'collect and hold' role and he never looked wholly comfortable with the task. Better outlets came from the wing play, with Danny Schofield producing one shot that Scott Brown did well to save, whilst a volley just over the bar from Luke Rodgers after Schofield fed him deserved an opening for the Glovers. Another chance for Rodgers was semi-blocked by a Cheltenham defender, spinning just wide of the post for a corner.
Apart from that opening two or three minutes, Cheltenham had barely seen Yeovil's goal mouth all half. It was therefore very frustrating when after a Glovers attack the Robins cleared with a 60 yard punt up field. Barry Hayles flicked it into the path of the pacey Ashley Vincent, and the Glovers back line backed off far too much, as Vincent was allowed to move into a more square position and plant the ball across the face of Josh Wagenaar. After so much possession - the BBC statistics for half time gave the Glovers a staggering 76 percent of the ball - Huish Park was stunned and you could hear a pin drop as the teams headed off for half time.
The second period appeared to extend that stunned feeling a bit further. With Cheltenham no doubt having used the break to see how they could come back home with a 1-0 win, they restricted themselves entirely to trying to play on the break. The concerning thing was how easily they succeeded in turning a semi-firing Yeovil attack into one that didn't seem to be firing at all. The Glovers did manage to get the ball in the back of the net as Luke Rodgers fired home from a narrow angle as Gavin Tomlin headed into his path, but Rodgers was getting rank luck from the two linesmen and his 'goal' was ruled offside.
Russell Slade pressed the gamble button by introducing Aaron Brown as a make-shift centre forward for the second week running, whilst Andy Welsh also proved to be a good influence on Yeovil's second half play as he replaced Paul Warne. But despite that it was a game with 0-1 written all over it. That was until 15 minutes from time, when Welsh's left wing cross was met like a bolt out of the blue by Luke Rodgers, who raced to the near post and got in front of his marker to plant a header past Scott Brown.
Yeovil turned up the noise off the field, and the attacks on the field, but couldn't force a winner, although Danny Schofield clipped the crossbar with a cross-cum-shot. In fact the game could have got ugly, with Lee Ridley's kick on Luke Rodgers' calf being met by a less than subtle retaliation by Rodgers around 10 seconds later. Other niggles and skirmishes occupied a feisty final 15 minutes. Whilst referee Steven Cook didn't have the best of games (although he was surpassed by a country mile by the Main Stand linesman) he thankfully kept a lid on things and all 22 players stayed on the field.
Not a bad point for the Glovers, particularly when taken in context with last week's win at Swindon. Four points out of six against relegation rivals is a good haul, and that's why the Glovers now lie three points clear of the drop zone. However, the weakness in the side is painfully obvious to see. For all of the possession in the world, Yeovil looked lost without a Rendell or a Noel-Williams to hold the ball up for them in the final third. The likes of Tomlin and Rodgers aren't built for that kind of play, and whilst Rendell and Noel-Williams have not set Huish Park alight during their loan spells, they did provide a benefit to the team as a whole, and it is when that asset is taken away that it becomes that little bit more obvious.
Final Score : Yeovil Town 1 Cheltenham Town 1.
Scorers: Ashley Vincent (0-1, 42 mins), Luke Rodgers (1-1, 75 mins).
Yeovil Town (4-4-2):
13. Josh Wagenaar
12. Craig Alcock 4. Terry Skiverton 6. Terrell Forbes 28. Nathan Smith
11. Danny Schofield 16. Gary Roberts (85) 27. Lee Peltier 14. Paul Warne (50)
10. Gavin Tomlin (65) 15. Luke Rodgers
3. Nathan Jones 9. Andy Welsh (50 mins for Paul Warne) 17. Aidan Downes (85 mins for Gary Roberts) 18. Keiran Murtagh 23. Aaron Brown (65 mins for Gavin Tomlin)
12. Scott P Brown
17. Andy Lindegaard 35. Darren Kenton 20. Andy Gallinagh 19. Lee Ridley
8. John Finnigan 16. Alex Russell 38. Ian Westlake 18. Ashley Vincent
24. Barry Hayles 39. Elvis Hammond
3. Alan Wright (46 mins for John Finnigan) 5. Gavin Caines 21. Will Puddy (GK) 23. Jonathan Hayes (73 mins for Darren Kenton) 27. Lloyd Owusu (59 mins for Barry Hayles)
Yeovil Bookings: Lee Peltier (44 mins, foul), Luke Rodgers (80 mins, foul)
Cheltenham Bookings: Andy Lindegaard (85 mins, foul)
Referee: Steven Cook (Surrey). Assistants: Ron Ganfield (Somerset) and Brendan Malone (Wiltshire). Fourth Official: Andrew Sainsbury (Wiltshire).
Attendance: 4,989 (including 368 Cheltenham fans).