Match Details: 20/03/2010
Yeovil Town 0-3 Bristol Rovers
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Alex McCarthy, 2. Craig Alcock, 5. Steven Caulker, 6. Terrell Forbes, 9. Sam Williams, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 14. Dean Bowditch, 21. Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala, 25. Shaun MacDonald, 27. Scott Davies, 28. Nathan Smith
Subs: 7. Arron Davies, 8. Keiran Murtagh, 11. Andy Welsh, 15. Richard Martin, 16. Scott Murray, 17. Aidan Downes, 23. Danny Hutchins,
Substitutes Used: Arron Davies for Sam Williams (24 mins), Andy Welsh for Scott Davies (63 mins)
Bookings: Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala (Foul, 56), Steven Caulker (Foul, 77)
Yeovil Town were comfortably beaten this afternoon by Bristol Rovers as the Pirates recorded their first ever victory at Huish Park in the Football League. Two goals for Jo Kuffour, including one with just four minutes on the clock, were added to by a Paul Heffernan finish in between. All three goals came before the break, leaving the second half as a non-event as Rovers snuffed out any Yeovil attempts to get back into the game with ease.
Manager Terry Skiverton made just one change to the side that travelled to Carlisle United, with Scott Murray making way for Jean-Paul Kalala, who had recovered from a hip injury. Bristol Rovers were unchanged for the fourth consecutive match despite only picking up one point from their last two games.
It was Rovers who grabbed the lead as early as the fourth minute, with a goalkeeping error to blame. Alex McCarthy dithered a little bit too much with a backpass and his clearance was charged down by Jo Kuffour and on the rebound the Rovers striker got himself a 4th minute lead.
Despite the goal, the Glovers were well on top during the early stages, with dangerous crosses from Scott Davies and Craig Alcock inches away from hitting either the goal direct or incoming players as their back post delivery was judged to perfection. But the problem was that there was no-one getting on the end of the balls, and despite the pressure, nothing to make Rovers keeper Mikkel Andersen actually work for his money.
Yeovil suffered a mid-half blow when Sam Williams pulled up twice with what appeared to be knee ligament problems after an attempt at a shot was blocked by two Rovers defenders and the target man appeared to jar his knee. He hobbled about after treatment but after pulling out a second time, he was withdrawn, replaced by Arron Davies.
Without their target man, Yeovil seemed to lose the ability to provide any attacking focus, even if a Terrell Forbes powerful header from a corner, blocked on the line by Steve Elliott, threatened to double his career tally against the opposition that had given him his first career goal.
Rovers had done little all half, but their first proper outfield move was to double their lead. Left-back Daniel Jones broke forward wide and his cross into the box found Paul Heffernan eight yards out who converted in far too much space, having been given the chance to take one touch inside the box before converting. Two shots, two goals, 2-0.
By this time Yeovil were starting to look a little ragged and sorry for themselves, and a third goal was soon forthcoming. Another cross into the box from Dominic Blizzard saw Jo Kuffour with his back to goal, but his swivel and turn was decisive and emphatic as he turned the scoreline into 3-0. Three shots, three goals, 3-0.
Rovers had further attempts to increase their lead, with Alex McCarthy partially redeeming himself for the opening goal and a series of nervy clearances on a greasy pitch that was a goalkeeper's nightmare. His saves from Daniel Jones and Jeff Hughes stopped the half time scoreline getting any more embarrassing than it already was.
The second half saw Rovers a lot less inclined to go forward, sticking their two banks of four in front of Yeovil and inviting the home side to try and break them down. Yeovil's answer was to huff'n'puff and not really do a lot to threaten an improbable comeback. In fact it took 21 minutes for either side to have any chance of any sort with an ambitious Craig Alcock run finishing with a shot wide of the target. Gavin Tomlin also shot wide minutes later.
Manager Terry Skiverton tried switching things but without effect. Arron Davies swapped with Gavin Tomlin to allow Davies to partner Dean Bowditch. Scott Davies swapped with Shaun MacDonald to give the Swansea player a chance to play a more central role. Then Davies made way for Andy Welsh for a more orthodox left winger. But all to no avail as the Glovers struggled to unlock a defence that had been quite open during the first half.
With 13 minutes remaining an unusual statistic was broken - Steven Caulker picked up his first booking of the season for a foul on Daniel Jones. The Tottenham Hotspur loan player has played over 30 games as a centre-back without landing in the book, but he will have had few complaints about his yellow card on that occasion.
Gavin Tomlin shot wide of the target as he attempted to surge forward. Then Nathan Smith shot high and wide and out of the away end and across to the top pitch area, but this was fairly typical of Yeovil's afternoon and in particular the second half, where Rovers found containment an easy job and Yeovil found it impossible to break through. Into injury time and a Craig Alcock attempt was blocked on the line, but the game was long since gone.
This was a game of two halves, but not in terms of the balance of the game, but more in terms of the style that Bristol Rovers adopted. In the first half they soaked up Yeovil's attempts to open the scoring, counter-attacking brilliantly and efficiently to convert their chances. Then in the second half, they provided two brick walls for Yeovil to get past, and thus it became a "play on until midnight" game, where it became increasingly obvious what the final score was going to be. Rovers had the game long since won, and they didn't need to attack any more, whilst Yeovil didn't have the invention or belief to open them up and get back into the game. In the end, only one team was ever going to win, and win comfortably.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Bristol Rovers 3.
Scorers: Jo Kuffour (0-1, 4 mins), Paul Heffernan (0-2, 37 mins), Jo Kuffour (0-3, 41 mins)
Yeovil Town (4-4-2):
1. Alex McCarthy
2. Craig Alcock 5. Steven Caulker 6. Terrell Forbes 28. Nathan Smith
10. Gavin Tomlin 21. JP Kalala 27. Scott Davies 25. Shaun MacDonald
9. Sam Williams 14. Dean Bowditch
15. Richard Martin (GK) 7. Arron Davies (24 mins for Sam Williams) 8. Keiran Murtagh 11. Andy Welsh (63 mins for Scott Davies) 16. Scott Murray 17. Aidan Downes 23. Danny Hutchins
Bristol Rovers (4-4-2):
27. Mikkel Andersen
15. Byron Anthony 5. Danny Coles 6. Steve Elliott 48. Daniel Jones
16. Dominic Blizzard 4. Chris Lines 7. Stuart Campbell 11. Jeff Hughes
9. Paul Heffernan 17. Jo Kuffour
51. Rhys Evans (GK) 2. Carl Regan 3. Mark Wright 8. Andrew Williams (82 mins for Paul Heffernan) 20. Charles Reece 23. Ben Swallow 28. Elliot Richard
Yeovil Bookings: Jean-Paul Kalala (56 mins, foul), Steven Caulker (77 mins, foul)
Rovers Bookings: Danny Coles (53 mins, foul), Steve Elliott (58 mins, foul)
Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire). Assistants: Ron Ganfield (Somerset) and Eric Mackrell (Hampshire). Fourth Official: Mark Pottage (Somerset).