LDV 1 Oct 14 Yeovil Town 2-0 AFC Bournemouth Att: 5035

Last updated : 19 October 2003 By Pete Wicks
After walking halfway round the town we found our digs then headed for the Armoury (behind the old ground, which I visited 13-14 years ago, now Tescos). Closed! Within 10 minutes, the barman took pity on 5 poor souls with tongues hanging out & let us in. Very little stock left so we polished off his Butcombe & took a taxi to the distant & new-ish Huish (apparently pronounced "Hish"). Simple design; 3 sides covered with basic cantilevers (i.e. no stanchions) & open terrace for us in the cool night air. Estimates of 1700-2000 away fans made for a crammed terrace thus difficult to take notes, but the programme showed N. Hayward as a life-member. Stewart, Young, Tindall & Thomas started in a 4-4-2 formation. We wore our home strip, & Yeovil KO'd towards us in green&white hoops & white shirts – Celtic strip to confuse Grant?

Yeovil started as they went on – neat, skilful, plenty of movement. We offered plenty of back-passes to Stewart to make up for the action he's missed this season. Gall sliced a drive from good approach play, then Elliott cut in & sent in a left-footer that was tipped round for a corner. A good move linking Back4Fletch, Holmes & O'Connor ended with Elliott (possibly Feeney) firing over the angle. But most of the action was in our area – lots of last-ditch stuff. Holmes did have a dip, but straight to the 'keeper, & Young netted (!) but Holmes was penalised. Then a Glovers' shot hit the bar & bounced in play; Stewart gathered it but took it over the line in so doing. That's 'cos he'd been pushed – so a foul in our favour.

Our play was more expansive, but with no cutting edge; we missed the pace & silky skills of SupaFletch. Feeney turned & was felled just outside the area in the inside-right channel; Thomas's free went to the keeper. We held the home side easily – they were wayward – but we were so mediocre. Then it took off; from a left-side free, a flick on & the ball was netted, but offside was given. That raised the tempo – on and off the field. Suddenly Yeovil's finest piled into the far end of our terrace, over-reacting to the aborted goal celebrations. Tindall was yellowed then put his head amongst flying feet to clear danger; more pinball in our area, then Way was booked for consistently trying to take a throw from the wrong place. More bundle on the terrace so the ref. ended the half at least a minute early.

HT 0-0

Cherries took the field some time after Glovers – a dressing-down? Or "you're not playing Celtic" from Grant? Yeovil broke through but again shot wide, and poor linking on our right wing saw Glovers set up a right-wing attack of their own, drawing a good save from Stewart. We just weren't constructing anything; O'Connor wasn't firing on all cylinders and Thomas was just wandering around in the general left-side area. Elliott found space for once, chipping to Feeney – who was offside. This was poor. Yeovil played neatly but with no final delivery; we weren't even getting that far. SupaFletch replaced Holmes on 59, with Holmes "limping" off to make a point. Browning was yellowed for a foul, & O'Connor straight after for verbals – silly man. He did release Browning on the left, but the latter was dispossessed all too easily and was replaced on 65 by Broadhurst. We weren't red&black but pink&grey – reminding me of one of my Caravan LPs from over 30 years ago…

Elliott had had enough so he let fly; parried then hoofed for a throw. Young departed in favour of Hayter on 70 – so no Connell (poor decision!) – and we went to 3-5-2. Then Yeovil used their favourite route, from midfield down their right, decent cross and an easy, unmarked tap-in. 1-0, 74. They deserved it, and boos greeted further back-passes to Stewart. Then my pen ran out… I scrawled that Feeney went over, that Stewart saved well from another right-wing move, that we'd upped the pace, then yet another right-wing cross was grabbed by Stewart as the ref. pointed to the spot; evidently Back4Fletch had managed to handle it. Williams slotted; 2-0, 86. Bad vibes from fans around me, but we really were garbage.

FT 2-0.

I was also at the Cherries 0-1 Glovers FA Cup game in late '70; this was a similar performance but with players in their proper positions. I didn't hear it myself, but I understand that Thomas received more racist abuse; if so, that's reprehensible. He was as poor as anyone, but that's nothing to do with his - or anyone's - skin colour. The LDV is often treated as practice games by many managers, but that's a slap in the face for those of us who pay good money to attend – not least Exiles who fork out for train fares & B&B. And if it is a practice game, why not play Stock instead of O'Connor, who obviously needs a rest? And what better time to give Connell a run – if not in this game, when? Or do SOD & Grant think he's not going to recover sufficiently from his injury to make it with us?

Outside the game, Exiles conviviality saved the day, and how we laughed as we realised that a Scottish fiver had passed though each of our hands via pubs, buffets, programme sellers etc., starting & ending with Robin. Remind me not to have lamb dhansak again (in Paddy Ashdown's fave Indian, the Viceroy), & especially not to compound the error by having baked beans in my breakfast; subsequent effects continued to remind me of the team's on-pitch efforts, & the antics of a small bunch of Cherries "fans" who should know better – evidently suffering from racist encephalopathy.

This was grim.

This is meant to be an award to a player who has contributed most & best on the pitch. Straight away that rules out 13 of them, then; you have to contribute something to be in the running. Big Fletch showed more in his 25 minutes than the others put together, & then only just, so he can have it.

(4-4-2): Stewart ; Young (Hayter, 70), C. Fletcher, Tindall, Purches; Elliott, Browning (Broadhurst, 65), O’Connor, Thomas; Feeney, Holmes (S. Fletcher, 59).
Subs unused: Stock, Connell
Pete Wicks, Greenford