26th September 2022

The Young Glovers are still seeking their first win of the season, after a clinical second half display from Bridgwater resulted in a 3-1 defeat which sees Yeovil drop to 7th in the South West Counties Youth League table. 

Team Manager Matt Percival was able to field a largely unchanged side from the previous fixture, with Josh Sutton slotting in at right wing back in place of the unavailable Mason Hunter and Jack Bareham making his home debut in midfield. 

The team were clearly keen to start things off on the front foot and made a promising start to the match, winning a succession of early corners and then seeing a close range shot from Charlie Bateson rattle the woodwork. Bateson was in the thick of the action in the opening 20 minutes and made a fine run down the left but was unable to find the killer pass. Shortly after, a delicious through ball from Jake Graziano sent him clear, only for the keeper to react smartly and repel the danger. 

Yeovil continued to press and Sam Hodges sent a swinging free kick into the box which Harrison Foster narrowly failed to reach. Hodges again nearly unlocked the door after a deft cross found the head of Graziano who put the chance over from 10 yards. 

The home defensive line was largely untroubled heading into the break, with the visitors feeding off half chances from distance, leaving the half time score goalless. 

After a positive first half performance, things quickly unravelled for the Young Glovers as Bridgwater took the lead minutes from the kick off. The striker found himself in space down the right, evaded a sliding tackle from Ethan O’Sullivan as he entered the box and clipped the ball past Rob Hollard in goal to make it 1-0. 

Benjani Jr spurned a great chance to equalise moments later, when a cross from Max Dyer from the left was nodded down by Sutton into the path of the advancing striker who swept the ball wide from 12 yards. 

Bridgwater were growing in confidence as the game wore on and saw a good headed chance sail just over. 

Percival sent on Alex Stephens for Bareham and in the 52nd minute Yeovil had another great opportunity to equalise when Sutton smashed a shot from the edge of the box which hit the bar and fell to safety. 

Bridgwater then had a sustained period of pressure and, despite an initial block from Jacob Shore, got a second goal when the ball fell to the midfielder who finished smartly into the top corner, 2-0. 

As the game entered the final twenty minutes, the home side needed to score next and Graziano made a driving run into the opposition half, setting up Bateson who skied his shot over the bar. 

Further substitutions ensued as Aidan Skiverton came on for O’Sullivan and Nathan Hart took over from Bateson up front. Hart was quickly into the action and put in a teasing cross for Stevens whose 

free header drifted narrowly wide. Josh Haskett came on for Sutton to further bolster the attack but it was Bridgwater who scored next in disappointing fashion for the home side when a corner was nodded in at the near post to make it 3-0. 

Yeovil were able to grab a consolation goal in the dying minutes when Shore rose highest to bundle in the ball following a corner to make the final score 3-1. 

Yeovil Town U18’s: 1 – Hollard, 2 – Sutton, 3 – Dyer, 5 – Shore, 6 – Foster, 7 – Hodges 8 – Graziano ©, 9 – Bateson, 10 – Bareham, 11 – Benjani Jr and 14 – O’Sullivan Subs: 15 – Skiverton, 16 – Stevens, 17 – Haskett and 18 – Hart. 

The Young Glovers will have to capitalise on their chances and defend better against set pieces if they are going to challenge this season, but have an early opportunity to make amends on Thursday 29th September when they travel to face Bovey Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Youth cup. 

Percival spoke after the game knowing an upturn in results is an important next step. 

“It was frustrating having given a controlling performance in the first half. When you have the opposition on the ropes you’ve really got to take those chances.

“After the early second half goal, we’re then chasing the game against a good Bridgwater side and got ourselves into trouble not defending our box well enough and then being stung by another set piece”. 

Looking ahead to the FA Youth tie, he had the following to say: 

“The lads are excited and looking forward to representing the club in the competition. We’re optimistic and will be looking to regroup and hopefully get a result and go on a little run.”

By Matt Partridge