Focusing on Yeovil Town
As Sheffield United prepare to take on Yeovil Town in the Semi-Finals of the League One Play-Offs this weekend we take a look at our opponents and how we have fared against the Glovers.
After finishing in the Play-Off pack the Blades face Yeovil Town over two legs with the winners booking a place at the showpiece final on 19 May at Wembley where they will face the victors between Swindon Town and Brentford for a place in the Championship next season.
The Blades face the Glovers at Bramall Lane this Friday (7:45pm Kick-Off) before returning to Huish Park next Monday (1:30pm Kick-Off) – both matches will be shown live on Sky and will be the first time that United have featured in a live televised game this season.
Yeovil Town have come on leaps and bounds since they entered the Football League in May 2003, they were promoted as Champions after years of coming close each year. It was also the first season where two teams where promoted – Doncaster Rovers won the very first play-off match to be included in the Conference calendar.
Yeovil finished a respectable eighth in their first season in what was then the Nationwide League Division Two – just one place away from the Play-Offs and a year later were Champions elect again, picking up there second league winners medal in the space of three years.
From then on they have made a scheduled climb in League One, a 15th placed finish was met by a great finishing of fifth during the 2006/07 campaign and thus qualified for the Play-Offs. They made headlines when after losing 2-0 at home to Nottingham Forest in the first leg looked like making an early exit and preparing for another year in the third tier.
A double dose of penalties from Kris Commons (23 minutes) and James Perch (90) had given Forest a first leg lead and the Reds faithful had already booked there hotels ready for the final. Obviously Town hadn’t read the script when at the City Ground bounced back with style, Arron Davies (22) gave them the lead before Scott Dobie (47) levelled shortly after the break.
Nottingham looked like hanging on and booking that place in the final until Alan Wright (82), on loan from Sheffield United stuck through his own net and handed the Somerset side a 2-1 lead, it was game on and Town’s pressure paid dividends – former Ipswich Town and Sunderland veteran striker Marcus Stewart (87) netting the vital goal to take the game to extra-time.
In the added 30 minutes to follow there were two goals in quick succession. Firstly ex-Blade Lee Morris (92) fired home before at the other end Gary Holt (93) – the score was now 4-4 on aggregate and Davies (109) who had started the scoring finished the match with a fine finish.
At Wembley they faced Blackpool who had beaten follow Lancasterians Oldham Athletic over two legs. For Yeovil there was to be no fairytale ending as the Tangerines returned to Bloomfield Road with a 2-0 victory; Robbie Williams (43) and Keigan Parker (52) finding the net.
In the seasons to follow for Yeovil it was a matter of consolidation and never finished near the Play-Offs, perhaps this was due to the many former Premier League sides (Norwich City, Leeds United, Charlton Athletic and Southampton) that passed through League One and made a return to the Championship. For the next five seasons (2007-08 to 2011-12) would finish no lower than 18th but no higher than 14th as they escaped relegation each year.
But this season has been an exception, they have played good football and deserve a fourth spot finish and since the New Year have lost just three league matches which was enough to ensure a Play-Off place.
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