Ben Barrett Sports Writing

Sports Writer and Yeovil Town Fan

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The Awesome Foursome

Posted by Ben Barrett on September 4, 2012 at 3:10 PM

I’m back!

You can all sit back and down and stop applauding at thistremendous news,
Barrett Sports Writing is making tentative steps back intothe blog-o-sphere on the ever eventfull subject of Yeovil Town.

There have been a few reasons for my silence on this blog, firstly I’ve only been to two games this season (Scunthorpe away and West Brom at home) so I’ve not had a lot of chance to form opinions on another new look glovers’ team.

Secondly, every time I get the urge to sit and type one of the other bloggers covers the subject or the twittersphere (why is everything a ‘sphere’ these days?) provides a brilliant platform to discuss it at length with like-minded individuals.

Throw in a holiday to H***ford and a busy work schedule andthere is little time, but certainly lots of passion.

This blog does have a subject, but to start with I just want to have a little round up.

This season has been alright hasn’t it? We’ve scored goals, we’ve played well and the pundits are finally starting to sit up and take notice.

It’s those goals that will form the base of this blog, more specifically those that are scoring and creating them.

Across all the tweets, blogs and conversations that have taken place so far there is one defining subject – the attacking style of play and the players who are executing it.

More than once I have described the ‘front four’ as being the highlight of the season, maybe Marek Stech will get more attention and headlines for some match winning performances but we need to score goals as well.

Currently we have scored 10 league goals and five in the cup ahead of the JPT tie vs Bristol Rovers.

15 goals in total and we’ve only just entered September – as a point of reference, our 15th goal of last season was scored vs Colchester on the 8th of October, our 14th competitive fixture of the campaign.

The previously mentioned ‘front four’ of Keanu Marsh-Brown [KMB] on the right wing, Reuben Reid and James Hayter up top and Sam Foley on the left have been the stars of the attacking show, with the likes of Ed Upson taking the role of playmaker and Richard Hinds chipping in the attacking flair is there for all to see.

It got me thinking, now Yeovil are hoping for a good season - there have been “P” words mentioned in certain areas – just how important is this group of players going to be?

So, below is an image of the most recognisable front four from the last two seasons that Yeovil Town were successful at the top end of the season –2006/2007 and 2004/2005.

The 2007 four is the one that started in the play-off campaign, whilst the 2005 side includes the two top scorers and the two wingers that were in possession of the shirts at the end of that season.

There are of course gaps, Leon Best (’07) and Andres Stolcers (’05) being possibly the best examples, but the size of the squads were rather different.

What we can see from this is the beginnings of a formulae; football isn’t a formulaic game, but patterns emerge and it can be interesting to look through them.

Firstly, you’ll notice that each of the sides has a striker who could be described as having ‘nous’. Marcus Stewart was that man in 2007 and big Bartoscz took that role in ’05. Neither scored goals in great numbers, but were vital cogs in helping others hit the back of the net.

This title has been labelled to James Hayter already this season. He has the experience, the off the ball movement and ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play. So, already we have a link running through all three.

His partner up front is Reid, the former Oldham man might be the one who scores the goals, the finisher in the side. Much like Leon Best was, and to a lesser extent Wayne Gray.

Gray played the majority of his time on the wing, meaning that his role is blurred slightly with Morris.

But in 2005, Phil Jevons was undoubtedly the goal machine, notching 29 times in total. If Reid can match that it will be a very successful season all round.

We’ve got an experienced old head, and a man to put the ball in the back of the net.

Onto the wingers, and possibly with the exception of Wayne Gray – we’ve already mentioned that he had a shared role with Lee Morris – all the wide men had certain qualities. KMB and Kevin Gall both share their skills of getting beyond defenders and causing havoc with their pace even if they’re not always the best at the final ball.

On the other flank; Foley and Davies share the creative streak, they both set up goals and make things happen in green and white.

Foley’s performances have been a particular highlight for the current crop, only a goal or two is lacking from his repertoire.

Throughout the three attacking set ups we have a sense of consistency running throughout them,

Interestingly, compare that with the side of 2007-08 whe nthe Glovers finished 18th.

Lloyd Owusu was the big man with Marcus Stewart and Paul Warne heavily involved around him, three players with very similar attributes and with a total of just 14 league goals between them that season.

The links go-on slightly further than the front four if you consider that both midfields had at least one playmaker who gets play moving. Currently Ed Upson is in the engine room where Chris Cohen, Lee Johnson and Darren Way have been before.

Now, I’m not saying that the formula for success has been met. There are other factors to consider, for example;

Can the likes of Gozie Ugwu take up the role of Leon Best and those who have stepped in when injury and suspension kicks in?

Bear in mind that we have only really covered half of the pitch, if we concede lots of goals, it doesn’t really matter how well we’re playing up front. Losing 4-3 every game will still get you relegated.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is, that there are similarities between the teams, remember the 2005 side was a Gary Johnson side too – a manager likes to play with some attacking freedom.

We can all get a bit excited about the current campaign. We do have some concerns regarding the defending at corners for example but there might be some method to the madness.


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