Ben Barrett Sports Writing

Sports Writer and Yeovil Town Fan

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It's the Championship with Yeovil Town.
We'll bring you blogs and thoughts as the Glovers embark on their first ever season in the second teir.

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Barrett Sports Writing - Stat Pack 2011/12

Posted by Ben Barrett on May 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)



Now that the season is over, it's time to look at some of the facts and figures that helped make the season what it was.

The Players.

14 – Number of Yellow Cards picked up by Ed Upson in League matches, more than anyone else in the league.

21 – Number of different goalscorers for Yeovil this season.

17 – Number of goals from Andy Williams, the only player to make double figures.

66 – Total number of goals scored by Yeovil this season.


25 – 25.75% of all Yeovil Town goals were scored by Andy Williams


90 – Number of shots by Andy Williams – an 18% success rate. (Rhodes strike rate 29%)


6 – Andy Williams finished 6th on the League One top scorers list.


5 – Number of goalkeepers used; Steer, Stewart, Stech, Gilmartin, Walker.

2 – Number of contracted players who didn’t start a single league game; Rory Fallon and Kelly Youga.

16 – Number of times Kieran Agard was used from the bench, seven more than Curtis Haynes Brown.

15 – The number of players who failed to make 10 or more appearances for Yeovil this season (All comps)

40 – Number of players used by Yeovil Town this season, one more than last year.  (Preston used 47)

19 - Nathan Jones would have been 19 years and 6 months old on the day Lawson D’ath was born.

4152 – Number of minutes Luke Ayling played across 44 League games.

3153 – Number of minutes the following players notched up during league games; Gareth Stewart, Curtis Haynes-Brown, Kelly Youga, Anthony Edgar, Michael Woods, Josh Morris, Dean Parrett and Lawson D’ath. (999 less than Luke on his own).

 

The Managers (League Only)



The Team

12 – Yeovil would have finished 12th if the season was based on home games alone.

18 – Yeovil would have finished 18th if the season was based on away games alone.

3 – Yeovil Town only drew three games at home, fewer than any other side.

14 – Yeovil have failed to score in 14 games this season, (Charlton FTS 4 times, Exeter 22)

15 – Number of times Yeovil scored first in League matches.  (Won 8, Drawn 4, Lost 3)

27 – Number of times Yeovil conceded first in league games. (Won 6, Drawn 4, Lost 17)

490 – Number of shots taken by Yeovil Town. (257 On target,  218 Off target, 15 Woodwork Hit)

283 – The longest baron spell, in minutes, between Yeovil goals.
(84th min v Walsall 17/3 – 7th min v Rochdale 7/4)

3 – Games won when Yeovil had a player sent off. (Preston H, MK Dons A, Colchester H)

2 – Games lost when Yeovil had a player sent off. (Sheff Utd H, Stevenage H)

1 – Games drawn when Yeovil had a player sent off. (Stevenage A)

41 – No team conceded more goals on their home patch than Yeovil Town, the Glovers conceded 41 goals.

£7.96 – The amount of profit you would have made placing a £1 bet on Yeovil to win each league game.

14 – the number of goals conceded in both league and cups, between the 85th – 90th minute.

0 – number of goals scored between the 10-15th minute.

The Fans

259,892 – Number of football fans who attended Yeovil Town fixtures. (Home and Away, all League and Cups)

94,918 – Number of people through the Huish Park turnstiles.

9244 – Number of miles travelled by any fan who attended every way game (league and cup – too and from Huish Park to away ground using Google Maps top selection.)

£458.50 – The amount of money spent by fans on tickets alonefor the 23 League away games. (Cheapest Adult Match-Day Prices Available.)

£19.93 – average away ticket price for a Yeovil fan thisseason. Cheapest, £14 Sheff Utd – Dearest £25, Charlton / Hartlepool / Orient. (Cheapest Adult Match-Day Prices Available)

94,000 (Approx) – Number of people who watched the Yeovil vs Fleetwood replay on Tues 13th December (Source BARB - see pic below)

(Note: I am currently waiting on an email from ESPN to confirm a few other facts specifically about the two live TV games)

Sources

www.ciderspace.co.uk/ASP/statistics/statistics.asp

www.ytfc.net/page/Statistics/0,,10673,00.html


stats.football365.com/dom/ENG/teams/YeovilTwn.html

stats.touch-line.com/Welcome.asp?cust=9

www.365stats.com/football/team/yeovil-town


 

 

2012 Barrett Sports Writing End of Season Awards

Posted by Ben Barrett on May 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)



BARRETT SPORTS WRITING – END OF SEASON AWARDS




It’s that time of the year once again, the football has finished and the awards are to be handed out to those who have kept Yeovil Town in League One for yet another season.

All the talk might be about who will stay and who will leave the club for pastures new, but at BSW HQ, the assembled panel has been putting together the second annual Barrett Sports Writing End of Season Awards.

As well as awarding some of the players who have played a major role in another successful fight against relegation, we’ll take the time to consider some more light-hearted gongs.

It is with one of those we start, so without further ado, top up your glasses, practice your ‘well done’ face, and prepare to clap ... alot.

***

The “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”award for returning hero.


The most successful return of a former player/staff member.

Nominations:  Jon Obika, Max Ehmer, Oli Johnson, Dean Bowditch (For missing the pen for MK Dons).

 

Runner Up: Gavin Williams

 

Winner :  Sir Gary Johnson


The return of the Messiah was something of a huge surprise, Terry Skiverton and his team were fighting against a heavy tide to keep the Glovers in League One, but the return of Uncle Gary was probably just what the doctor ordered, the ability to make some big calls and bring in some fresh faces could well have been the difference between Coventry in the league and Fleetwood.

Congratulations to Gary, I’m sure the award ranks alongside his two promotions and FA Trophy medals.

***

Quite where Yeovil would be without another season of incredible support is anyone’s guess. So, in homage to them, we take a look at the best chants the Thatchers Gold stand have come up and taken with them across the country.


Chant of the Season


Nominations:

“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to see theYeovil win away” (For the 55 of us up at Hartlepool),

“We’re winning away, we’re winning away, how $*** must you be, we’re winningaway.”

“12 Days of Skiverton” away at Fleetwood.

Runner Up: “Gary Johnson’s Green and White Army" - For old time's sake.

Winner: He Scores when he wants, he scores when he wants, Andy Williams, He scores when he wants.
 

Andy Williams’ goals have worked wonders for the side in the second half of the season and probably fired us to even dream of the top half of the table. He’s been offered the ‘biggest contract Yeovil have ever offered’ showing that he really was that important.

***

The Lifetime 45-Minute Achievement award.

As ever, Yeovil have had their fair share of players this season, many have been and gone, but some have been a case of ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-them’. This award is for those players, some of them are quite difficult to even remember.

Nominations: Kerrea Gilbert, Rory Fallon, Oli Johnson, Darren Purse, Abdoulai Bell Baggie.

 

Runner Up: Kelly Youga

 

Winner:  Flavien Belson.

The Former MK Dons and French Fifth Division midfielder joined Yeovil, played 45 minutes, got sent off and disappeared off the face off the planet after his release. Quite how we’re supposed to post him his award is anyone’s guess. Well done though.

***


Match of the Season


Last season, this award was won by a match that Yeovil Town didn’t even win (Sheff Weds away 2-2), but the nominations that have come through have had far more positive outcomes.

Nominations:

Hartlepool Away (1-0 win, first away win of the season),

Hereford in the Cup (always nice to beat the Bull****ers),

Rochdale Home (3-1 win).

 

Runner Up:  MK Dons Away (1-0 win with 10 men).


Winner:  Tranmere 2-1 Home Win.

 

Gary was back! The axe had been swung within a few days of his arrival and beating a fellow relegation scrapper was worth its weight in gold. The run that followed secured our place in the league.


***


TWEET TWEET… It’s half time in the awards ceremony, time forsome more light hearted fun.


“Twansfer” award for Tweeter of the season.


Twitter is now a part of football, we have to embrace itlike everything else. This award is to recognise the players that take theirtime to tell us they’re off to Nandos and that we need to be ‘Dench’. 


Nominations:

Ed Upson (@EdUpson for #HuishFortress hashtag),

Luke Ayling,

Nathan Jones (@cocowasp for his honesty at the time of GJ’s return),

Sam Walker,

Marek Stech (@Stechy100 for this picture of his glovers socks)


Runner Up: Terry Skiverton (@terryskiverton for the “Twansfer” )


Winner: Paul Huntington (@PaulHunts)


Taking the time to reply to fans as well has having a bit of a laugh is commendable, he talks to supporters on an even level, you can’t ask any more from your captain.

A special mention at this time to the fans who are currently doing their best on Twitter to add the #fanpowerstadium tag to their tweetsabout Yeovil Town. At the time of writing, we’re still top and still on course to win £20,000 for the club.



***

With so many players coming and going it can be hard tojudge just who has been a success, one way is to look at those who have gone onto bigger and better things.

The ‘Where are they now?’ award for post-Yeovil brilliance.

Nominations:

Nathan Smith -  relegated with Chesterfield, but a Man of the Match performance at Wembley in the JPT final.

Lee Johnson – helped Kilmarknock sink Celtic in the League Cup final.

Stephen Henderson – manning the ticket offices at Portsmouth after their administration was announced.

Brian McDermott – taking Reading back to the Premier League.

Alan Pardew -  Newcastle are on the brink of Champions League football – quite how much credit the Glovers can take for that is debateable!

Runner Up: Craig Alcock. Some doubted his ability to play in the Championship, but his end of season awards from the Posh Community Scheme shows that he really has stepped up.

Winner: Steven Caulker – Premier League Star.

Not content with scoring his first goal for the England Under 21s, Steven has finally shown the Premier League class we all knew he had. His performances at the heart of Swansea’s defence have earned plaudits all over the country. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see him at the Olympics this summer.

***

Time for the big three awards.

Loan signing of the season

We’ve had our fair share of loans this season, including four borrowed goalkeepers, but here are the cream of the crop.

Nominations: Sam Walker, Jon Obika, Marek Stech, Dean Parrett,

Runner Up: Jon Grounds. – Hopefully a long term result to our left back questions.

Winner: Jon Franks


Just about everyone on the BSW panel said it was hard to pick between the two Middlesbrough loans but Franks nicks the title over his northern colleague by a single vote. They have both proved themselves to be fantastic players at this level; skill, power, pace and have already secured their place as fan-favourites at Yeovil Town.

***

Permanent signing of the season

Considering that the main plaudits have been going to the so called ‘Big Four’ of Willo, Ayling, Upson and Hunts, finding a player for this award might be one that throws up an interesting alternative as it was only open to new players for the 2011/12 season.

Nominations: Michael Woods, Gavin Williams (Technically new), Kieran Agard.

Runner Up: Dom Blizzard – some cracking performances in the middle of the park, took on the Paul Wotton position with consummate ease.

Winner: Richard Hinds

This one would have been Blizzard’s award all season long until Hinds moved from non-league to form a brilliant partnership with Paul Huntington, his performances – topped off with a goal against Rochdale – have helped secure the club’s status in the League. Cries of ‘Sign Him Up’ are sure to follow.

***

We have made it, the time has come for the Barrett Sports Writing player of the season award. As voted for by the BSW Panel.


The panel this season is made up of the following people;

Ben Barrett, Andy Easton, Ian Perkins, Alex O’Loughlin,Chris Fox, David Coates Simon Woodsell, Vicki Langsdale, Elliot Watts, Ryan Peasland , Ben Tupman and his son, William.

Between us, some have seen nearly all of the games and some have seen fairly few, some of us blog, some of us tweet – but we all love Yeovil Town.

Each panel member nominated a top three for the Player of the Season award. The player in 3rd got one point, the player in second got three, and the winner got five points.

In the event of any ties, the number of first place votes would decide the rankings.

How they all voted is listed below.

In third place: Ed Upson (16 Points)

Runner Up: Andrew Williams (33)

Winner: Paul Huntington (42)




You may have noticed the inclusion of Ben Tupman at the end, his son, William has been something of a Twitter sensation with regards topredicting the fortunes of Yeovil Town games this season.

Barrett Sports Writing felt it was only right to pick his top three as well just to see how good he is at picking the winners.

***

So there we have it, another season has come and gone.

To those of you joining us Northern Glovers away at Huddersfield enjoy the chance to say ‘thank you’ and possibly, ‘good bye’ tosome players who have given us the gift of League One football again for next season.

Stay tuned to Barrett Sports Writing as I shall once again be providing a complete stat-pack for all of you to enjoy the numbers behind the football.

For anyone who might want to book it off work, May 19th 2013 is the date for the League One play-off final.



 


End of Season Awards Teaser

Posted by Ben Barrett on May 2, 2012 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

End of Season Awards - Teaser

In anticipation of an exciting Barrett Sports Writing End of Season Awards post on Friday, I thought that I would share a bit of a teaser as to what is to come…

I asked a panel of 12 Yeovil Town supporters, some who have missed very few games and some who have been to very few to make some suggestions for some awards based on the 2011/12 season.

The suggestions were piled together, then once a shortlist of nominees were drawn up, a runner up and winner for each category soon sorted themselves out.

There are eight awards in total and two of the closest battles ever for the minor trophies.

Both “Loan of the Season” and “Match of the season” both had to be separated as the results were nigh on equal.

There are, much like last year, some more light hearted awards and at least one winner who will probably never know of their success.

Finally, each panel member was asked to provide their top three for a BSW Player of the Season vote.

Each person’s winner received five points, 2nd place received three points the player selected in third got one point.

Last season, with a slightly smaller panel, Paul Huntington won the main prize by a clear 11 points from Stephen Henderson with Andy Welsh in third place.

This season was far tighter, only seven players shared the votes, only four made it into double figures and the difference between the winner and the runner up was just a single point.

The final results will be on BarrettSportsWriting this Friday, and I’ll be tweeting about the awards throughout the weekend.

Following that, I will once again sit down at fire out a whole range of stats and facts once the Huddersfield game has been and gone…

Tuxedos at the ready, the big “Barrett Sports Writing End of Season Awards” are just a few days away…

(I’ve built this up far too much!)



(Note: No-one will be getting an actual trophy!)

 

 


Looking up instead of down, forward instead of back.

Posted by Ben Barrett on April 7, 2012 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (2)

Sign Him Up or Ship Him Out

So there we go, 50 points notched up for Yeovil Town, whilst the mathematicians might not be happy to confirm Yeovil’s League One status just yet, it would take an almighty swing for seven teams to get ahead of us.

As promised, with League One football secured for another year comes the all-important conversations with the out of contract players and the planning for 2012/13 season.

As Glovers fans you all know who are going to be in the plans for Sir Gary and who probably aren’t but it’s time to get everything down on paper and discuss just who is in, who is out and who we might not have much choice about.

Here is a current squad list, with my opinions on each member and their future at Huish Park.

In true Simon Cowell style, I shall end each one with a “Sign Him Up” or “Ship Him Out”.

1 Sam Walker (Loan)

I’m going to start with some controversy, I’ve never minded the use of a loan goalkeeper and Sam is quite clearly someone Gary likes following their time together at Northampton. Walker may have had a few ‘moments’ in goal, but what we need in that position is consistency, if that’s Walker then so be it, get behind him, give him a whole season and we could well reap the benefits.

Verdict: Sign Him Up

2 Luke Ayling (Contract expiring)

Perhaps not up to the high standards he set last season (that could be harsh) but he is still one of the most valuable and most consistent players we have. Game after game, you know what you are going to get, and that is passion and quality.
WIth a step up to leader as well, Yeovil Town could be the best place for Luke and his immediate career.

Luke is someone who could well be influenced to stay and to be honest, I’d love that. Loyalty is hard to come by in football, Luke might be our next long term star, a la Craig Alcock.

Sign Him Up.

3 Nathan Jones

I like Nathan Jones as a player. There, I’ve said it. But with Curtis Haynes-Brown desperate for his chance and with potential moves over a Jon Grounds deal, it might be time he was a coach full time.

His contribution off the pitch is often complimented, especially on fitness andso, with a heavy heart he gets the “Ship him out” verdict, but in truth it’s an invite to make the step to the side lines. Somewhere he can help mould the future of Yeovil Town.

Ship him out. (But not out of the club)

4 Bondz N’gala (Under contract for next season)

One of three we are guaranteed to have next term, Bondz has had a very ‘hit and miss’ season, some brilliant performances and some horrific ones. The latter will get more exposure from fans and pundits, but there have been some good ones in there.

Being under contract and possibly not on the highest wages means he could well be one to keep, albeit in a ‘squad player’ capacity. He’s not my first choice, at times he might not be second choice but he might just play the rock when we need it.

Sign him up. (Well, “keep him” )

5 Paul Huntington (Contract expiring)

The second member of the ‘big four’ and this blurb is pretty easy to write, he has been a rock at the back all season. Goalkeepers have changed, defenders around him haven’t always been up to his standards but he always steps up and is counted.

The only thing to say is that we might not get much choice in the matter. He’s a northern lad, with northern routes; could he turn down say, Huddersfield, to play as captain at Yeovil Town? I’m not sure. From the viewpoint of a fan it’s a big “Sign Him Up” but I’m honest enough to say, I live in hope rather than expectation.

Sign Him Up

6 Dom Blizzard (Contract expiring)

Signed at the start of the season as a bit of a panic buy when we seemed to be making little movements in the market, but has become a vital cog in the Glovers midfield.

His chances were restricted due to injuries and Paul Wotton’s presence but his Ed Upson partnership has blossomed quite nicely. He has proven tha tbesides a bump on the head he can stay relatively injury-free and he has even popped a goal or two in.

As the season has developed he has cemented his place in the “Sign Him Up” category.

So much so in fact, I was tempted to make the Big Four a Big Five.

Sign Him Up.

7 Andy Williams (Contract expiring)

How are we ever going to replace Dean Bowditch?” Who would have thought the man we were looking for was stuck out on the wing the whole time?

This one is easy, we have found a front man we can get consistent goals out of, he’s not a loan, he’s not playing for his place at another club, and he’s ours.

But he’s a wanted man, Swindon were interested in January, there may even have been a bid, others will be interested. This is another one that falls into the Sign Him Up pile, with a post-it note attached with a scribbled “Do your best”.

Sign Him Up.

8 Ed Upson (Contract expiring)

The final one of the ‘Big Four’ and probably the most likely of them all to commit to the club, Ed has really taken the midfield by the scruff of the neck, especially when playing alongside Wotton and deserves a lot of credit.

Upson is more used to country life, so Somerset might not be the biggest culture change to him, he might just sign the dotted line, and I for one would love it if he did.

Sign Him Up.

9 Steve MacLean (Contract expiring)

I was hoping for more, he’ll be on a few quid each week and hasn’t really produced the goods.

Seeing him leave was a surprise however, it left us light up front but this is one I’ll trust Gary on. There will be others available in the summer, shifting him off the wage bill is probably best for all parties.

Ship Him Out

10 Super Gav (Contract expiring)

Not quite one of the ‘Big four or five’ we’ve got, but the football club suits Gav as he does to the club. His knees aren’t what they used to be but one thing I have been asking for is a new ‘Marcus Stewart’. Here we have that man, a player who can use his brain to dictate games or make an impact from the bench.

We know he is good off the field too, that’s why I’d get himsorted first, then use him as the example to the others. If Gav believes in the club, then Ed/Luke/Hunts/Andy/Dom can do too.

Sign Him Up.

11 Anthony Edgar (Under contract)

This is an odd one, clearly out of favour with GJ and we may never know why. As a footballer I’d keep him, he was the puppeteer up at Preston.

He has talent, but if there is something off the field holding him back, then he has to go.

Could we get a couple of quid for him? Maybe, but nothing substantial, if he’s not a team player I don’t want him at the club, however good his snippet performances have been.

Ship Him Out.

12 Michael Woods (Non Contract)

I feel like I should provide a balanced opinion and end up sitting on the fence, but all I can do is praise him.

We actually know very little about him, Gary tells us his attitude is right, his work ethic is right and from his cameos his football is certainly there. If his fitness is back and he doesn’t go all “Kelly Youga” on us, then he has to be snapped up and snapped up long term. He could be the one that makes us 250k in two or three years.

Sign Him Up.

14 Lawson D’ath (Loan)

This is a tough one, but I don’t think Lawson is a long term option for Yeovil, which is a shame because there is quite clearly talent and a future there, but it might just need a bit of a time before he’s ready.

He strikes me as a Zoltan Steiber type player, with a bit of bulking up and a club who can let him run free he might do well. That, sadly, isn’t Yeovil.

Ship Him Out.

15 Josh Morris (Loan)

I haven’t seen anything of him yet, which makes this a hard one, but he’s started three games in three positions so he must have a versatile side to his game, which can’t be bad.

Neither can Premier League experience, which he also has. His arrival at an odd time suggests to me at least that Gary is thinking beyond this season for him, either as a loan or something more concrete if he’s released from Blackburn.

So, on a bit of a guess, I’d give him a go long term.

Sign Him Up.

16 Jon Franks (Loan)

After the first few minutes of seeing him play up at Carlisle I had to admit that I was excited. He gets at players, makes things happen and is an utter nuisance to those who are trying to mark him.

Gary Johnson has made no secret of his long term preference for both Franks and Grounds and I’m happy to jump on that bandwagon.

Sign Him Up

17 Jon Grounds (Loan)

Pretty much the same here for Grounds as there is for Franks. The two come as a pair and will probably stay or go as a pair. Which is why, it’s a no brainer to put them in the same pile.

Grounds’ new family might have something to say about it, this is a young Dad with a new son; he’ll have a very big decision to make. It’ll be down the management team to convince a whole family to move south, but he could make a name for himself at this level.

Sign Him Up.

18 Kieran Agard (Contract expiring)


The first, and probably last, Twansfer started his career with a bang. He earned something like four penalties, scored a few goals and was a bugger for defences to get to.

But once the initial dust had settled and the need for calm heads replaced the freedom of expression in a desperate need for points, he soon faded out.

For me, and this might surprise some, he could be worth another year, he’ll more often than not miss out next season, but there is some raw ability to work with and he could well become a useful squad player during the campaign.

So, this might be a surprise, and it only applies if the deal is right financially for the club, but…

Sign Him Up.

19 Curtis Haynes-Brown (Under Contract)

“He will be a football league player” Said Gary. I’d suggest that of all the fringe players we’ve plucked out of nowhere, we have one who can go and make a name for himself at a League level.

Next season is hopefully, his year. That might include a loan spell out somewhere or it might be as an apprentice to a more experienced player, but we should give him a chance.

Sign Him Up

23 Billy Gibson (Contract expiring)

Time for another odd one, Billy has actually impressed me in his cameos on the pitch, I remember Scunthorpe away where I spent 85 minutes giving Alan O’Brien a hard time and yet Gibson’s spell at the end was a breath of fresh air. But there must be more to it than what we as fans see, much like Edgar. But, Gibson has at least gone out on loan and got himself some football, maybe to put himself in the shop window rather than play for a new contract but two goals in three games at a professional level shouldn’t be sniffed at.

He’ll be in the football league before long, but how long can Yeovil wait for that to happen? I’d suggest his time as probably come to find somewhere new.

Ship Him Out

24 Gareth Stewart

I’m happy for Gareth to keep his playing registration for next season, but I’d rather he was third choice rather than a number 2. If we had a loan and a young ‘keeper on a free as well as Stewart we’d have a GK group that could work nicely.

Sign Him Up

26 Kelly Youga (contract expiring)

It could have worked, it really could. But with just 49minutes (I’ll give him the four added minutes at Bury) under his belt and the fact that he doesn’t even get mentioned in press conferences for the question “any injury worries, Gary?” suggests the decision has been made, heck he migh already have torn his contract up.

Ship Him Out.

28 Richard Hinds (contract expiring)

The old man of the pack, Hinds is certainly no spring chicken, but he could prove to be a rather shrewd acquisition. His partnership with Hunts is certainly growing and some extra experience is always welcome ina very young squad.

Another year would be welcome for me, especially if it can be paired with Hunts.

Sign Him Up

29 Jon Obika (loan)

This is his fourth spell at Yeovil, dare I say it might be his last.

He has suffered as being the unfortunate ‘sixth loan’ twice already under Gary Johnson and you have to wonder if he would actually be playing if we had another out and out striker at the club. Regularly the one singled out for not putting his shift in which is something Glovers fans just don’t stand for.

He can’t argue he hasn’t had his chances either, he’s played at League One level a lot, and with his many spells at Huish Park not proving to set the world alight, I think there may be better loan options and better attackers out there.

Ship Him Out

The others.

Slowe – Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Clarke/Clowes/BaggridgeSign Them Up but test them on loan at a ‘proper level’, Bath City maybe or something in the Blue Square South. Then, and probably only then, will we know if they’ve got a chance to make it.

So that would leave the club with 17 in the squad, with a few of them being on the fringes or playing a bit-part role alongside coaching, it leaves enough room for Gary to add his own players, his own ideas and provide enough competition for the lads that are already here.

The looking forward has to begin now, some tough decisions are going to be made and they won’t all go the way we want them to but as we’ve proved this season, replacements are there if we have to bring more in.

It feels great to be thinking about more League One football, more local derbies too with Swindon, Torquay and possibly Bristol City all joining us, it could be a really exciting season.

There are still five games left in this season, five games for people to earn their new deals or to find the nearest dole office.

Twelve months ago I said the same, I stood up and proclaimed that Deano, Smithy, Virgo and Welsh would all be Yeovil players and take us tothe play-offs.

I won’t make such bold claims this year, but I’m not sure my emotions could take another season of two halves, I don’t want to spend another pre-season putting names of trialists into Wikipedia, or asking the bloke next to me “Who is that again?”

The word on Skiverton’s lips at the start of the season was ‘progression’– that probably hasn’t been achieved, which is tough to write, but we can class the season a real success if the arrival of Gary Johnson leads to some long term consistency.

We’re a club punching above our weight, but one who can dream and maybe even expect to make a real impact on this league again.

Are the play-offs too ambitious? If Hunts et al stay… no, no they’re not.

Roll on Notts County… but most importantly, roll on the contract discussions.

 

View from the terrace - Oldham

Posted by Ben Barrett on March 10, 2012 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

View from the Terrace - Oldham

Wind in the Willos



Let me start with a question.


Going into March, how many people would have guessed we would have taken six points from MK Dons and Oldham away? No one raised their hands.


How many would have taken four points? Three? Two points? How many would have been happy with a point from the pair and got back to concentrating on home games?


Well, if I’m being honest, I would have snapped your hand off for a point per game. Yet, here I am writing about a second away victory on the bounce, having conceded just the one goal in 180 minutes.


If Tuesday night’s win at MK Dons had done one thing it was to take the pressure off today’s game, I wouldn’t have scoffed if we stuck to 4-5-1, nor would I have grumbled if Andy Williams was given an hour and brought off, or even if he started on the bench.


But with momentum on our side, we went 4-4-2 and decided that we were going for the points, it’s this change in attitude that has pleased me the most.


Another win then and in some fashion too, Yeovil’s defending from Tuesday night and attacking from all of GJ’s other games in charge were married together and whilst it wasn’t always neat or pretty  is was affective.


I’m going to start with the grumbles, get them out of the way and start bigging the side up during this incredible run.


Grumble one; Set piece defending was poor again, it was the reason we conceded the goal and could well have been the reason we might not have got all three points.


Grumble two; Jon Obika. I feel like I’m looking for a scapegoat a bit, first Paul Wotton, then Bondz N’gala but today I felt like the only one not putting absolutely everything in was Obika. He was probably the fittest one of the lot after not playing on Tuesday but I felt myself wanting an extra ‘oomph’ out of him. But, his movement and run for the winning goal was exactly what we want from him on a regular basis.


Anyway, grumbles over.


Onto some good stuff, we like good stuff.


The referee in the Carlisle and MK Dons games have received a fair amount of stick, today I thought the man in the middle did pretty well, the game flowed and there wasn’t too many moments where I found myself questioning his decisions.


Grumbles and Referee dealt with it’s time to find some more superlatives for the Williams lads.


Gavin, quite clearly struggling with heavy legs after Tuesday and with a boggy pitch was still able to spray passes around, get forward and score a fantastic goal as well as help out defensively during the time Blizzard was off or we were under the cosh.


Andy, again with heavy legs, showed some incredible composure to slot home the winner; a lesser striker in poorer form would have stabbed the chance earlier, not our Willo.



Namesakes win it for Yeo


Jon Franks was again busy, lots of running and a bit of professionalism at the end to run the clock down instead of trying to swing a cross in to no-one shows that he’s growing.


At the back, more credit must go to Blizzard who marshalled the back four well, even with a busted skull, Terry Butcher Dom, was still putting himself about.


The actual back four was again in imperious form, Luke Ayling probably wasn’t as good as we’ve seen him, yet he still kept his man quiet and we cannot moan at his contribution at this time, whilst Jon Grounds on the other side was as comfortable as I’ve seen him.


Grounds could well be the answer to all Yeovil fans problems at left back; he looks perfect to bridge the gap between Nathan Jones and CHB in terms of age and ability. So much so that his performance earned him my #YTFCmom vote on twitter.


Richard Hinds and Paul Huntington weren’t far behind in truth, their neck-on-the-line performance at the heart of defence is exactly the kind of stuff we have needed.


I’ve covered just about everyone, big Sam Walker in sticks doesn’t always fill me with the most confidence, but his claiming of crosses is a constant help.


Ed Upson again deserves praise for a quiet yet affective performance, everyone who I’ve mentioned deserves a pat on the back…


He scores when he wants...


… but (you knew there was one) we need to back this up with some performances on our own patch, starting on Tuesday. A win over Scunthorpe will be the icing on the cake for this current run, it’ll help get the fans back and with a ‘Green and White night’ hopefully providing the atmosphere it really would be amazing to stretch that gap.


The gap between us and the drop zone does stand at eight points, not enough to get excited but not too few to get worried.


Going forward then, getting the result we need against Scunthorpe and Walsall is vital, we’re as little as nine points from the points mark needed to stay in the league, but it’s not getting too carried away to dream of the top half.


Dizzy heights, but we must remember 17th place means League One football next season, it’s from there we can properly push on.


On the way home, discussion automatically turned to contract renewals, we are aware that discussions will begin properly once our status in confirmed but I would like a small show of longevity.


My thought is that whilst getting one of the ‘big four’ to sign on the dotted line might be hard, people like Dom Blizzard, Richard Hinds or even securing one of the loans for the whole of next season would show that at least one eye is on the long to medium term.


If Blizzard (for example) was to be secured for next year, it might help show other players that everyone is in this together.


That, of course, is just an idea but when everything else is going so well, why not try and make the most of it.


I’m not doing ratings for this game, it was a squad effort with Hunts leading the side out right the way to the kitman, physios and blummin’ tea ladies.


Instead of stats, here’s the form table…


 


… and here’s the league table…


 


Roll on Scunthorpe.

 


View from the terrace - MK Dons

Posted by Ben Barrett on March 6, 2012 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

View from the terrace - MK Dons

Lightening has struck twice.



Somebody pinch me.


It’s happened again, the “once in a lifetime” performance up at Sheffield Wednesday has suddenly happened all over again.


This time it was Stadium MK, this time it wasn’t just for a point, this time it meant as much, if not a tiny bit more to the season as a whole.


Before the game, I admitted that the game was a ‘freebie’, with five more wins needed and some very winnable games on our own patch this was a bonus game where a point would be gratefully received.


I wasn’t the only on thinking that, GJ had a defensive 4-5-1 formation out that probably gave the impression that MK Dons could have the points if they could break us down.


They couldn’t. Yeovil have conceded a lot of goals this season and under Johnson haven’t even come close to a clean sheet; the switch in tactics was a definite way of trying to put that right.


All the tactics, training and preparation are all well and good but if the players don’t put the shift in it’ll all be pointless. It’s safe to say the players earned their wages this week.


From front to back everyone worked. Andy Williams is three or four inches shorter than he was at the start of the game, I’ve never seen a man run as long and as tirelessly in a long time.


In the midfield, the tackles and blocks were ten to the dozen with Dom Blizzard’s performance a particular highlight. Dom kept Alan Smith quiet and didn’t let anyone get a foot in without his being in there a second or so faster.


Then the defenders, Richard Hinds threw himself in the way of anything, Paul Huntington must have a headache worse than mine for all of the headed clearances while Luke Ayling and Jon Grounds have also put in a serious shift, clearing balls and trying to get a counter attack or two going.


For all of their hard work, Sam Walker has actually had relatively little to do, a side from saving the pen of course, but restricting the Dons players to pot shots from 25 yards would have been just what the doctor ordered.


On to a few bits of housekeeping.


The atmosphere was dire, Yeovil fans yet again out sung their opposite numbers and even by our own standards we weren’t great. The whole place is a strange area; the echoes of a manager’s instructions make for an eerie surrounding.


Oh, and how they counted 6,000+ in that ground was anyone’s guess.


The referee was terrible, again.


From ignoring a linesman’s offside flag when he quite clearly was ‘interfering/active' or whatever they go for, to giving goal kicks when the Dons’ keeper had made a rather good save.


I don’t know what happened with the penalty, or Dean Parrett’s red card for that matter, neither seemed to be totally clear – I’ll reserve full judgement until I see them again.


But he seemed to bow to the pressure of the crowd, if they wanted a booking, they got one. I’m not one to overly criticise referees too much, I’ve done it and know how hard it can be, but when the performance is that poor, I’ll take my chances.


That’s the second shocking performance from an official I’ve seen in no time at all, the one at Carlisle was just as bad.


Anyway, I’d like to offer a crumb of credit to Dean Bowditch, it couldn’t have been easy to step up and take a pressure penalty against a club that he must hold admiration for, but he did and thankfully missed it. But that takes courage.


Back to the Glovers and the only grumble I can have is probably with Dean Parrett, who would have known A) that the referee isn’t having the game of his life and B) is already on a yellow card, again it’s far easier for me to type than it is to be in that situation but I can’t help but feel like he never should have given the ref a decision to make.


He was playing well too, a Darren Way-like performance of snapping at heels trying to make life uncomfortable for an already overpowered Dons’ midfield.


We’ll all be praising the backs-to-the-wall performance of the Glovers tonight and rightly so, but again some kudos must go the way of the front men. Jon Franks and SuperGav tried, where possible, to get forward and support Willo.


It was the man who Frank’s replaced, Lawson D’ath, who created the goal too.


If anyone can put into words the feeling of the goal, feel free because I’m a bit lost.


Gav shoots, or squares the ball, and runs away, no-one inside the ground makes a sound for a good 5 seconds, before other shirts in yellow start to jump for joy, only then do fans react and begin to celebrate. A very, very odd way to take the lead as everyone wants to make sure it has indeed gone in and not just hit the side netting.


Nevertheless, it did go in and the more I think about it the more we deserved to hang on, we made life so difficult for MK, they were left to try and find a way in, but each time finding another Yeovil man in their way.


Another long trip down the motorway but another astonishing away day with the Glovers.


The ‘freebie’ I mentioned earlier turned into another huge three points.


Parrett will miss the next game and I’m think I’m right in saying Ed Upson is probably due another suspension soon (we really must sort out our discipline), which could bring Michael Woods or even Steve Maclean into a side that will need rotating throughout the busiest month of the season.


What a day, what a trip and what a win.


Proud to be a Glover.


Roll on Oldham!



Ratings:


 

Walker 8: Saved a Dean Bowditch penalty, who would have dared write that script?


Ayling 7: Solid, a few hashed clearances but we can forgive that for another lionhearted display.


Hunts 9 (MOTM): It is pretty bloody good that he is back, confidence oozes out of him as skipper, so many headers.


Hinds 8: There won’t be many who get an ‘8’ rating who don’t make my top three in any given game this season, but here we have one. Threw himself in the way of many a Dons effort. Brave lad.


Grounds 7: Cannot complain again, looked more composed than I have seen in his previous games too.


D’ath 6: Pretty ineffectual apart from the build-up play to the goal, needs a bit of timber on him.


Upson 7: Another booking prevents an ‘8’ but even that’s being harsh as the booking seemed to be for nothing.


Blizzard 9: Joins Hunts at the top table tonight, marshalled things very well and provided an excellent cover for the defenders.


Parrett 6: Was looking really good until he was sent off.


Gav 7: Nice goal (I think!) and some decent attacking play. Some clever professionalism [see: timewasting] at the end.


Willo 8: He’s probably running home alongside the bus. He nearly got himself a goal on a couple of occasions too.Brilliant.


SUB


Franks 7: Lots of running, he was the man they tried to use on second half breakaways and it very nearly brought a second goal.



To be quite honest, I could go on, I wanted to talk about how with the results going as they are, anyone who still counts us as relegation candidates must also throw in Preston, Orient, Bury and Oldham.


I wanted to mention the moment everyone felt the need to run to the front to say thanks and Gary pumped the air with sheer delight.


I wanted to mention the fact that despite a great win tonight, the conversation on the way home was that getting carried away would be silly, tonight means nothing if we lose to Scunthorpe and Walsall at home.


I wanted to mention that Paul Huntington has spent most of the evening retweeting quite a lot of the ‘sign him up’ and ‘please stay’ stuff we have all sent him.


I wanted to mention that this performance was the one that finally says we can be a team to be reckoned with and that “we were unlucky against one of the big boys” doesn’t have to be heard again.


But I won’t mention those things, I’ll let you all enjoy your day and plan your next trip to Huish Park.


 

View from the terrace - Carlisle

Posted by Ben Barrett on February 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Carlisle 3-2 Yeovil.

The name’s Bondz, Bondz N’Galaaaaaargh!!!

Firstly, an apology of sorts, yet again BSW has been quiet of late, working longer hours and a lack of Yeovil Town exposure, as well as a loss of motivation towards my own writing have been the main factors in a semi-conscience decision to take a step back.

I’m hoping, that with time, more stability at work and some exams in April in the journalism field the ‘bug’ may return.

But onto today, and trekking from Yeovil to Carlisle to see your side fight back from a losing position twice to chuck it all away at the end has got to be one of the sickeners of the entire football league calendar, but on a personal note I actually enjoyed being back among friends cheering on the lads.

I guess that’s easy to say, as I type this in my house a good five hours before the rest of the supporters get home.

The fans had to brave some of the coldest temperatures I’ve experienced on my travels, a referee who gave very few decisions that looked correct for either side and at least 45 minutes of terrible football.

But, as ever, they sang and cheered even when at times there was nothing to shout about.

Onto the football and a simple change of Franks for Parrett was all that was needed, this formula has worked for the past couple games so, as they say, if it 'aint broke, don’t fix it.

The pre-match news about Steve MacLean’s move to Cheltenham raised an eyebrow or two, but I guess that’s the thinking behind Frank’s inclusion as an extra attacking body.

It certainly puts pressure on Andy Williams to continue his form and Jon Obika and Kieran Agard to find some of their own.

The game started with a flash, it couldn’t have been 10 seconds before we had a shot on goal, Willo’s left foot not quite connecting right but still forcing a save from the Carlisle ‘keeper.

The entire first 10 minutes was one way stuff, through D’ath and Upson were chances to create, neither Willo nor Obika could provide that definitive touch, encouraging signs though.

After that, the game went flat, Carlisle got their foot on the ball and tried to play some neat football, again though a lack of clinical passing stopped half decent spells becoming guilt edged chances.

The home side did edge closer and closer to our box; we failed to deal with a number of higher, longer balls in which were causing some concern. Sam Walker in goal has a tendency to push a shot out without getting it away from oncoming players, twice this put the ball in good positions for fast approaching strikers, twice it was a fluorescent yellow leg getting to the ball first, just.

Onto the penalty, and well, for me it’s the wrong decision.

I’m obviously yet to see it again, but when a linesman no more than 5 yards from it signals for a corner, only for the ref who is further away, looking through bodies and on the wrong side of Bondz can give it, what hope has anyone got?

Carlisle fans after the game commented that the decision was ‘harsh’ – I for one agree.

Never the less, if anyone is going to come from behind at the moment it was Yeovil, we have done it in the last two games.

As the half wore on, the lack of options from our own set pieces and attacking situations stunned me a bit, Ed Upson squared a free kick in a decent position to no-one in particular; Jon Obika had nothing to offer either back to goal or when he did get in possession.

Gavin Williams tried to make things happen but couldn’t leave a frustrated and riled up Nathan Jones for too long, but Jon Franks was trying to get going.

Some attacking runs beyond the full back, the ability to take on a player or two and even getting into the box when one of the front men had the ball in crossing areas, watch this space on this kid.

But at half time, the walk in must have been de ja vu for the lads, they would have known what was coming.


The lads were expecting a rocket, but we weren’t. Just 18 seconds into the second half, Jon Obika smashed a left footed strike home; he had just enough to remove the boot of GJ from his backside before unleashing the shot.

Suddenly, it was game on… suddenly it was, oh, back to square one, step up to the plate Bondz N’Gala.

I wish I could put into words how little confidence he gives me; his clearances are just aimless, he hasn’t won an aerial challenge all day, provided nothing going forward, been pulled from pillar to post by attackers and then had a 'Bambi on ice' moment when you least wanted it.


A crucial moment in the match, the need for 10 minutes of calm possession and he lets you down, he brings shame to the number 4 shirt of Yeovil Town. When is Hunts back?


Ayling at right back, Hinds, Huntington and Grounds is a cracking back four, Premier League experience, a bit of pace, leadership and quality. One simple change and confidence is lost.

Don’t get me wrong, Ayling wasn’t 100% at the races today and we have seen relatively little of Grounds but Hinds and Huntington have been as solid as can be expected, you do have to wonder if having Bondz in there makes those around him lose confidence too.

I’ve spent more time waffling on about one man than the other good points, let’s talk about those.


Andy Williams was again on fire, no goal to his name despite his chances, but effort and confidence oozes out of him at the moment, I can hear a chorus of “Sign him up” as you read this.

On to the second equaliser, in the penalty area one Yeovil player used someone to launch himself up for a knock down, if it was a Carlisle player it should have been a foul, if it was a Yeovil player maybe we have found a use for Bondz; a step ladder.

But as the ball sat down Andy Easton gives my ear drum a bashing with a scream of “Hit it”, boy did Dom Blizzard respond, technique of the highest order to thrash it home. Cracking finish.

Dom’s game stepped up after that, he was busier, snapping at midfielders trying to get in tackles, he was often halted by a very picky ref, but the effort was there.


Ayling may not have had the best afternoon defensively, but he and Franks were linking up well, getting into some good quick passing triangles with Willo and causing problems.

Franks’ running off the ball, quality of delivery and awareness of what was happening has earned him my #YTFCmom award on Twitter and topped my trio on Ciderspace, if that is the performance of a rusty attacker who hasn’t played at this level before I’m excited as what is to come.

He popped up with a decent shot, as did fellow ‘Boro lad Jon Grounds, the pair of them could become decent assets.


Anyway, we’re 82 minutes in and drawing 2-2, I’m rummaging through my pocket to make sure I haven’t lost my “Yeovil to win 3-2” betting slip and then it happens again, the clanger is well and truly dropped. Literally.

The ball is launched, Luke Ayling and Sam Walker play a game of hot potato, before François Zoko picked up the loose ball and found the corner, you’ll see it for yourself and that description won’t do it justice, but what a killer.

Half the Carlisle fans didn’t see it as they were long gone and it left us thinking about how, defensively we were so poor we deserved nothing from the game yet slightly disappointed that we’ve left empty handed. Confused? I still am.


We’ve gifted them their goals; they haven’t actually made any of them, which is the most frustrating part. The basics were not good enough; clearing of our lines, getting to headers before Carlisle and even before the ball bounces, getting busy around second balls, delivery of our set pieces, I could go on.

But the complex stuff, especially attacking wise was fantastic; neat interplay, crosses from the right, movement of Franks and Williams, the support of the full backs on the break, I could go on.

Which leads to me to a strange conclusion: At times we were awful, but in a strange way I’m glad.

 

Have you ever bitten into something only to get the odd taste of soap or washing up liquid? Well it’s kind of like that, you’ll always tell people ‘My Apple tastes of fairly liquid’ but it’s just an apple, and probably a good one at that, just on the surface it’s strikes you as bad.


Our performance had that, in there was a side who can really make things happen, create chances and score goals, but the defending was a hit of Citrus Blast Fairy Liquid.


If Gary can train his side to wash his fresh fruit out before the game, thus removing the soapiness, then we have a really good looking Granny Smith in there.

Alright, I’ve lost even myself in among all that (I knew I shouldn’thave had a cider whilst writing this), time for some ratings.

Walker 6: Needs to get over the clanger and fast, he’s in this for the long haul we need him to be on form.

Ayling 6: I’ve set high standards for him and he’s come up short today, hopefully a one off rather than a serious problem

Hinds 7: Didn’t notice anything wrong, tried to make himself a nuisance in the opposition box but seemed solid.

Bondz 4: Is that the lowest of the season or did Paul Wotton get a 4?

Jones 6: Once the home fans got into him, he was in danger of getting himself booked or involved in scuffles he didn’t need to, but played ok.

Franks 8: MOTM, movement and confidence – this is as excited I’ve been about a loan in a long time.

Upson 7: Going to be generous and go for a 7 over a 6, he grew into the game and tried to make the game flow, but hampered by his own frustration and a picky ref.

D’ath 6: Pretty anonymous, not surprised he came off with an injury it might explain his lack of tackling.

G Williams 7: Again, tried to get going, a couple long shotscaused some real problems but lacked the freedom of the attacking third.

Obika, 6: Shocking first half, pretty decent second half, neat finish too.

A  Williams 7: More of the same from him, he’s by far the player of GJ’s second tenure so far.

SUBS

Blizzard 7: Cracking finish, must be close to getting the nod especially if D'ath isnt 100% fit.

Grounds 7: Decent 30 minutes, one cracking shot and became comfortable despite a few early rash moments.

See you all at Oldham.  

 

Yeovil Town at the Bookies...

Posted by Ben Barrett on February 3, 2012 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Yeovil Town at the bookies...


It's about time Barrett Sports Writing got back on the go after a busy few weeks at work and a lack of attendance at Yeovil games it has all gone a bit quiet on here...

 

Well, we're back and the first in a new set of articles on the betting markets in and around Yeovil Town.

 

BSW would like to make it clear early that betting on football should be done responsibly and is only for those 18 years or older. Links to the people who can help with problem gambling are at the end of the article.

 

I work in the betting industry and place a few bets on YTFC most week, I thought I'd share some of the markets with you.

 

All of the odds below are from my employer Ladbrokes and are all subject to change. You may find better prices at other bookmakers.

 

Right enough of the boring stuff, the picture below shows the initial prices for the straight win markets and the correct scores.


 

But betting on football even in the football league goes much further.

 

The second picture shows all of the markets for the first goalscorer.

 

Some good value can often be found in defenders and the Glovers new man Richard Hinds looks decent at 33/1.




More often than not bookmakers provide a 'Half Time/Full Time' market where you select who will be winning at the break before deciding who will triumph overall.

 

Obviously in this match the Sheff Weds double is pretty much the favourite at Even money (1/1 in fractions).

 

But if you're feeling all patriotic towards the Glovers seeing a draw at half time and an away win after 90 mins sits at 14/1.

 

All possible combinations are available on the picture below...




 

Don't be afraid to ask at the counter for anything special, like scorecasts...

 

Scorecasts are where you pick the first scorer and the correct score.

 

A difficult ask, but one with rich reward...

 

Again, a picture in way of an example.

 

A 2-2 draw (much like last year) with Andy Williams to continue his goalscoring hot streak pays a very nice 100/1.

 

Even a 10p bet on that returns a tenner.




 

3 pints of cider and you're happy with an away point! Bonus.

 

Over the coming weeks I'll make suggestions and even include a YTFC Tip of the week.

 

This week, I'm tipping Andy Williams to score first, a simple bet at a simple price of 8/1.

 

Good Luck!

GAMBLE AWARE

View from the terrace - Bury

Posted by Ben Barrett on January 21, 2012 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

View from the terrace – Bury.

Bury 3- 2 Yeovil

 

On the way home, I walked into the pub at Manchester Victoria station and received a text from a friend and Yeovil fan Gareth “Bean” Whittingham.

It simply said: “Back down to earth with a bang or a decent performance?” – Initially, I thought of simply replying ‘both’, but to be honest I’d like to think I could expand on that a bit.

So, Bean, if you’re reading, this is the answer.

A 3-2 loss away from home to a side who sit comfortably in mid table and dare to dream about the play offs doesn’t seem like a terrible result – but yet again we can’t help but think about ‘what might have been’.

I joked to those around me about the quality of the first half, asking them to place the game on an imaginary scale from “one to Fleetwood”, referring to the less than impressive exit of the cup.

Defensively we were, let’s be honest, shocking.

Nathan Jones has never been a cause for concern for me,until today – maybe it’s not having Paul Wotton to level my abuse at, but Jones was out of position, out of touch and out of luck today. It stuck out like a sore thumb.

He was seen as the weak link by the Bury side, at times two, three or even four players would be within ten yards of the left back, numerous times he was beaten too easily and let crosses come in.

Alongside Jones was Bondz N’Gala, a defender I was full of praise for at Hartlepool, but a defender who was staggeringly poor today.

His headed clearances either never happened or landed at the feet of the only free Bury player in the immediate area. Throw in a lack of paceand the turning circle of a cruise liner and right there we have a rather sizeable gap in an already leaky defence.

Ironically, I could actually list a number of positives to come from Luke Ayling and Paul Huntington’s performances.

Such a huge difference in quality within one bank of four.

Top of the shopping list for Gary, a centre half.

But, and we saw this with Paul Wotton’s half time substitution a week or so ago, having the balls to take of Jones and throw on Kelly ‘Awooga’ Youga (Well done to the fans for picking that one up early by the way!) was a brave and positive move by the gaffer.

Youga looks like a shrewd acquisition – if you can make that sort of judgement on 45 minutes.

He made attacking runs and looking far more comfortable with the presence of large numbers around him.

There seemed to be a simple change at half time, a change of tactic, the longer balls up to the front men were pretty much done away with and we discovered those other players – in the middle – what are they called….?

Midfielders.

We’ve got some good ones too. Ed Upson and Dean Parrett could well blossom as a partnership, Upson has the technical ability and wide range of passing whilst Parrett can seemingly turn on a sixpence and make things happen.

More praise too for Joe Edwards, again, he didn’t reallyappear in the first half, but maybe that wasn’t his fault – but in the second half, especially as the game grew older he showed some real quality with some nice runs and dangerous crosses.

The problem seems to lie in the fact that we started the second half well, but the game shouldn’t really need a half time rocket to get going.

If the first half had been played like the second, we would have won that game, comfortably.

The goals we conceded were silly, no complaints about the penalty decision either and to be fair Sam Walker couldn’t do a lot with any of the goals.

But we scored two good goals, one from a set piece from which we seemed dangerous throughout. Huntington is like a magnet to the ball at corners.

So, in the first half, we couldn’t defend and the only attacking threat was long and longer.

But, in keeping with the second half swing, there are more positives from me, this time for the front men.

Andy Williams looks like a man with a point to prove, playing down the middle he is really dangerous, he turned back-to-goal situations into a chance to get a shot off, often linking with on rushing help from midfield.

Jon Obika didn’t really have his best day at the office, the man needs a goal, confidence will soon flood back once he sees the net ripple.

Steve McClean came on late in the game and did his personal quest to get back into the side no harm with the consolation goal.

We went from very, very bad to really quite good and all in 90 minutes. Football can drive you mad like that.

Right, that’s the lads on the pitch taken care of, off thepitch and the credit goes to the fans, 200+ made the trip and 200+ got right up for it with singing, bell ringing and drum bashing.

How many sets of fans have sulked away at 3-1 down and cried into a Bovril? – not Yeovil fans.

The performance of the team and the emotions in my head run alongside each other.

It’s up and it’s down within such short periods of time.

I sat with a pint at the station and admitted that for the first time in six years I am genuinely concerned about our League One status only to remind myself that the team is going through a radical change and that pretty much all of our home games are winnable.

I fear that our squad isn’t good enough before admitting that securing a ‘spine’ of Ayling, Huntington, Upson and Williams would be a cracking base for a decent team at this level.

Right, that all seems pretty much clear as mud. Good job I didn’t try and put that all in a text.

I haven’t done any ratings because I have covered the key players in the text above and I would be forced to give two sets of ratings, one for each half.

The team is going through a huge change right now and we must hope that it hasn’t been made too late.


If a team needs to gel, they can rely on those in the stands to make it easy as possible.

“Yeovil True, through and through, whether we’re up or down”

A lyric that applies to 90 minutes as much as it does to a whole season.

Roll on Preston...

 

View from the terrace - Sheffield United

Posted by Ben Barrett on January 11, 2012 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Sheffield United 4 - 0 Yeovil Town

The defeat that didn't matter.


This probably isn’t your usual View from the Terrace, how could it be after the week Yeovil have had?


A week is a long time in football, or so they say, but finding out it has been seven years since Gary Johnson last graced the home dugout at Huish Park really does get even the youngest of us feeling a bit old.


As the news broke last week that “Sir” Gary was in talks about coming back, I don’t mind admitting I was more than sceptical.


I’ve been a long-term defender of Terry Skiverton and Nathan Jones, I had full faith that they would repeat lasts year’s escape. Change was needed, but I wanted it on the pitch rather than off it.


But as the brain got thinking and it emerged that Skiverton, Jones and hopefully the rest of the backroom team were staying the thought of reuniting legends was certainly growing on me.


I was tweeting a lot but I refrained from blogging until now, simply because words to describe the emotions were only really coming through the blur in 140-character clumps.




(Pic Pete Simson on twitter: @SimsonPete)



Having been at the Sheff United game, I am confident of two things; firstly that Gary, Skivo and the team have a lot of work to do, but secondly, we now have a target of where we want to be.


The Blades were good, very good. Their passing and movement was, at times, incredible, if they don’t go up this year football will have officially gone mad.


The game was a freebie, a pre-season friendly, if we could have used more subs we probably would have.


Two half-time subs suggest it was a chance to see who was at Gary’s disposal.


What Gary would have seen was a group of individuals scattered with talent. Going forward we actually played alright, Jon Obika worked as hard as I’ve ever seen him and Andy Williams staked his claim to playmore centrally in the second period.


Gavin Williams was playing with freedom; whilst this left our debutant left back a bit exposed it made for some excitement.


The half time switches saw Paul Wotton go off with Luke Ayling moving into midfield. He alongside Ed Upson would make a really exciting pairing. Ayling is a star, there is no doubt of that, Upson is our best playerat this present time – my suggestion would be to build a side around them.


Defensively, I am concerned, Paul Huntington is the best we’ve got but it’s those who we put around him who need work.


Ayling (and Ehmer after the switch) could be better used elsewhere, Bondz N’gala has the turning circle and finesse of an Adam Virgo shaped tug boat. That’s not to say they don’t have their uses, but against top opposition we get caught out.


With Hunts in the centre of defence, Ayling and/or Upson inthe middle and Andy Williams up front we have a consistent and impressive spine to the side, a vital core of players, this isn’t anything new – Skiverton had the same players, but it’s acts as an illustration that not every area needs drastic change.


It seems GJ has been active already, Joe Edwards is on his way in from Bristol City – he has had rave reviews from his previous loan spells and this could be some natural progression for him. The extra full back (we now have five: Ayling, Jones, Dickson, CHB) allows Ayling’s move into midfield to happen without much fuss as hopefully ensures the central pairing of Hunts and Ehmer won’t be broken up too much.


So, what else needs addressing?


The Goalkeeper is key; again, I’m a fan of Reg Gilmartin but the never ending worry of the ‘keeper going back to a parent club is a bit of adark cloud. The use of a loan to fill this spot is all well and good, but the deal should really be longer term.



A goal scorer wouldn’t hurt us, obvious point I know, but a central midfielder really shouldn’t be the top marksman. Andy Williams started the season brightly in this department; hopefully he’ll get more time up top aspart of a pairing rather than stuck out wide.


Gary has mentioned on his Glovers Player interview a return to the old ways of players living in the area and being part of the community, this is a good thing and with a mention of individual meetings with key personnel within the squad gives me and other fans a little more hope of keeping players beyond their current deals or at least finding out who are committed to the YTFC-cause longer term.


Of course, there must be a long term plan to bring supporters back, to bring relative success year after year and to quote Gary himself ‘pick the whole club up’.


But, first thing is first, we need points.


Saturday’s game at home to Tranmere represents a fantastic opportunity to get both short and long term objectives on the move.


The game is ‘kids-for-a-quid’, it is Gary’s “homecoming” andthe opposition are certainly beatable.


Putting in a decent performance in front of a bumper audience and picking up three points could be the moment we begin another run.


The earlier scepticism has slowly been turning to optimism.


A final credit to Skivo, to stand aside – much like SteveThompson did for Russell Slade – was a brave call, he deserves the best from this club, he only ever gave his best every day for 13 years.


Gary Johnson, with Skivo as his skipper, gave this club some of its finest moments; no-one is expecting the same, certainly not over night.


“Gary and Skivo’s (and a bit of Jonesy’s) Green and White Army” rolls off the tongue.


One this is for sure, it’s going to be a fun second half of the season.


I leave you with a rather poor image from Skivo’s  testimonial – Gary Johnson takes the penalty, by passing it to his new right hand man.

 

 

 


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