Ok, a quick confession, this wasn’t actually an away day. As a Yeovil fan living in Lincoln, this was my first trip down to Somerset to watch the Glovers, so I wasn’t coming all this way to sit in the away end.
I feel it’s only right that I explain why I support Yeovil in the first place. I am a member of the Lincoln Glovers, a group of six Yeovil supporters who live in, you guessed it, Lincoln. We initially started this because three of us supported Premier League clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham, where tickets are difficult to get, and too expensive. We randomly chose to support Yeovil because you can always get tickets; they are much cheaper, and away games are easier to get to. In hindsight Yeovil is a little bit further away than we would have wanted, but it would get boring going to the same ground every week anyway.
I optimistically emailed Yeovil at the start of the week seeing if they could do anything for us given that we were making an eight hour round trip to watch the Glovers. Having been to a lot of football clubs in the last few years, I didn’t expect much given that match days are often pretty manic. Instead we were given the chance to have a bit of look behind the scenes in the ground, and then have a chance to meet the manager. I got an email the day before asking if we could come to reception when we arrived, and what happened next would probably depend on who was free at the time. To be taken into manager Darren Way’s office came as a complete surprise, and it was great to be able to chat with the man who has done a fantastic job to keep us in the Football League, something which looked very unlikely when he was given the top job at the beginning of December.
It showed just how much he cares about the happiness of the supporters that he made time just two hours before a match with the team top of the league to have a chat with some fans. From the way he spoke, you could see just how much passion he had for the club and how much the club meant to him. Obviously Huish Park isn’t exactly Wembley, but it was a good experience to be able to walk on to the pitch and have a photo with the gaffer. I have got to give a quick shout out to James Healey at Yeovil, who gave up his time to give us a chance to meet Darren, something that very few clubs in England would have allowed these days.
You got the feeling that Yeovil, being the only Football League club in Somerset, was an important part of the community. A lot of events and activities were put on for the kids before the game, and it was refreshing to see some of the players who weren’t a part of the match day squad joining in with some games of table football outside the ground. This club is a long way from the glitz and glamour of the Premier League, and where this would be done there for publicity, it really isn’t this far down the pyramid.
The ground itself was one of your typical old fashioned football grounds. The stands are very close to the pitch and only the two main stands on either side of the pitch had seats. In League 2, this is the set up for quite a lot of the grounds, and to be honest, it certainly improves the atmosphere. The Thatcher’s Gold Terrace that I was in was pretty full, and because of this created a good atmosphere during the game. At just over a couple of quid, the food was pretty good. I have been to a lot of places this year where you pay way over the odds for food which is just dreadful. This was certainly above average quality, and justified the price.
In terms of the game itself, I hadn’t come all the way in hope of a crushing victory to be honest. Northampton were unbeaten in 21 league matches since December, and have already secured the league title. However I began to wonder how much they were up for this game when one of their goalkeepers playing crossbar challenge before the match appeared to knock out one of their own fans behind the goal, who was promptly carried out. That’s probably not the story you want to be telling your work colleagues next week, travelling three hours for the game only to be carried out an hour before it began.
The Glovers took a surprising lead after just five minutes when Harry Cornick beat ‘keeper Adam Smith to the ball six yards from goal to head home. Cornick later said that this was his first ever professional headed goal, he won’t get many easier. This seemed to rattle the Cobblers, with an argument in the corner leading to Yeovil fans cheering every time they touched the ball for the next five minutes, and jeering every time it came their opponents’ way. They did miss a lot of chances through former Yeovil striker Sam Hoskins and the ever-arguing John Marquis, with his failure to convert from six yards leading to chants of “Are you Hoskins in disguise?”
They did eventually grab an equaliser with Nicky Adams diverting his header home from short range, immediately followed by your typical FIFA 16 celebration. In the second half, Adam Smith in the Northampton goal took a lot of stick from the fans, especially after having some choice words with supporters who accused him of time wasting. He ended up facing a collection of economics based chants, after a couple of fans found he shared his name with an 18th century economist who had the theory of the “invisible hand of the market”, which a lot of chants were based on.
Northampton had a couple of chances to grab a winner, but couldn’t find a way past Artur Krysiak, while Liam Walsh’s free kick clipped the bar at the other end of the pitch. From the view that I had, Tahvon Campbell should have won Yeovil a penalty heading into injury time after being bundled down in the area, only for the referee to keep his hands by his side. It would finish 1-1, probably a fair result, even though I maintain my belief that the Glovers should have had a chance to nick it from the penalty spot at the death.
Rating out of 10: Very few clubs would have given us the chance to go in and meet the manager before the game, and the atmosphere was good. I can only really give 10/10