Yeovil Town made it eight pre-season games unbeaten with a hard fought yet stylish draw with Premier League side Stoke City at Huish Park tonight.
Reuben Reid gave the Glovers a 48th minute lead from the penalty spot after Byron Webster had been fouled but Gary Johnson’s men conceded a leveller eight minutes when Kenwyne Jones headed home at the back post.
It means that Johnson’s men have accumulated five wins and three draws from their packed pre-season programme with just the visit of League Two side Exeter City to come at the weekend.
Pre-match, there had been question marks over the strength of the side that the Potters would bring to Somerset after they drew 1-1 against Torquay United, But any suggestion that it would be a weaker starting eleven were banished when the teamsheets were handed out. Apart from Peter Crouch, Jermaine Pennant and the virus-laden Robert Huth, Pulis sent out a team worthy of fighting a Premier League battle or two this season.
The first half saw Gary Johnson’s side play some nice looking football, attacking in waves and spreading the ball around with style. Forcing a corner inside thirty seconds, Dominic Blizzard volleyed straight at former Glovers loan star Asmir Begovic; James Hayter headed over a Sam Foley cross and Reuben Reid’s dangerous low ball was sliced behind for a corner by a grateful Potters defender.
The game wasn’t end to end despite the stat of nine first half corners but it was far from boring. Stoke forced the majority of them but Matthew Etherington’s delivery wasn’t producing any real concern in the Glovers box aside from one cross from open play which Kenwyne Jones miskicked and Jamie McAllister cleared away for another corner.
Reid then hit a blockbuster of a shot just wide on the half hour while at the other end, new Stoke signing Sebastian Boenisch forced Marek Stech into a brilliant tip over the crossbar.
Reid was then robbed of a chance to open the scoring by a very marginal offside decision; the Potters also had opportunities to score through Jonathan Walters, Jones and Ryan Shotton before the break.
The second half began in dramatic fashion. Yeovil forced a corner three minutes in and as the ball came in towards Byron Webster, the big centre half was baulked by a Stoke defender. Referee Ian Williamson pointed to the spot and Reuben Reid gleefully thumped the ball home despite the despairing dive of Begovic.
After Ryan Shawcross had twisted and shot wide, the Potters levelled on 56 minutes when Boenisch’s deep back post cross was nodded in by Kenwyne Jones.
Begovic then dived to save from Hayter after good work in the build up by Ed Upson and Gozie Ugwu and Walters missed a golden chance to make it 2-1 when he spooned his effort well wide.
The remainder of the second half was interrupted by the usual raft of substitutions with Pulis making the most of his opportunity to give every squad member a run out. Johnson did the same and the stops and starts ensured the fluency of the first half had gone, replaced by a match that never really got moving late on.
Yeovil team: Marek Stech, Luke Ayling, Jamie McAllister, Richard Hinds, Byron Webster, Dominic Blizzard, Ed Upson, James Hayter, Reuben Reid, Sam Foley, Gozie Ugwu.
Subs: Keanu Marsh-Brown (for Hayter 72 min), Lewis Young (for Ayling 72 min), Nathan Ralph (for Foley 80 min), Curtis Haynes-Brown (for McAllister 80 min), Gareth Stewart (not used)