Written by Kurt West
Ben Whitfield’s late, late goal ensured Yeovil maintained their unbeaten run and extended it to seven games. In this article I’m going to discuss the two important lessons we learnt from our performance at Stevenage.
BEN WHITFIELD NEEDS TO START
It’s quite simple and I’m sure many Glovers fans will agree with me. Our starting midfield three of Matty Dolan, Matt Butcher and Liam Shephard hardly inspired the travelling faithful. I was very surprised to see Shephard moved into midfield when we quite clearly had one of the best technical players at the club waiting in the wings to replace him in Ben Whitfield. I’ve been very impressed with Matty Dolan this year and he thoroughly deserves his spot in the team, scoring some very important goals for us and contributing well from midfield. Matt Butcher is another player I rate highly and is deserving of a spot in the starting eleven. However I do feel that the midfield lacks a bit of genius which is what I think Ben Whitfield has in abundance. To be fair to Darren Way, he had started Ben in the previous two games against Solihull and Reading but I feel like it is time for him to be given a bit of faith in a league game after coming off the bench at Stevenage and rescuing a point that looked like it had drifted away from us. The technique he showed to hit the shot first time, albeit with a small deflection, really shows a player who is brimming with confidence and has the supreme technical ability to change a game at any point. With the current options we have in midfield I would find it a ludicrous decision if he doesn’t start in the FA Cup replay with Solihull Moors on Tuesday especially with the recent, woeful discipline of Kevin Dawson and with Liam Shephard looking slightly out of place in midfield, I feel it is time for Ben to step up into a consistent starting spot in the team.
OUR BACK FIVE ARE HUMAN
It is quite clear to see that we have built from the back this season with an incredible defensive record and that’s something we should be extremely proud of, however this was certainly not on show on Saturday. Having kept five clean sheets in our last six previous to Saturday’s meeting, Darren Way would’ve been expecting another solid display but this was not the case and the back five really did have a bit of an off day. Artur Krysiak was relatively quiet until Ben Kennedy’s 68th minute leveller but I’m sure he would’ve been disappointed with the manor of the goal and I really do think he should’ve done better with the effort. However that does not excuse the error of Nathan Smith, who let Kennedy cut inside on his left foot way too easily. The second goal was perhaps an even worse goal to concede. Stevenage managed to counter attack a late corner and Ben Kennedy once again took advantage of poor Town defending it to bend it around Krysiak, who this time was certainly not to blame. I hope this can be seen as a wake-up call to the defence that you cannot just turn up and keep a clean sheet, you need to work hard for it and I’m sure that’s something Darren will be working on in training especially ahead of the Solihull game, a team who will be right up for the fight in one of the biggest games in their history. I don’t think the inclusion of Bevis Mugabi in defence was a benefit and I thought he was one of our poorer players on the day but it is hard to blame him for either of the goals we conceded. I think it’ll be a no brainier to drop Shephard back into right-back for the trip to Solihull.
I do feel like this was a positive result in our season and the fight the players showed is something I don’t think would’ve happened last season under the old regime. Next we move onto a difficult FA Cup replay against Solihull Moors, they have no reason not to be confident after our second half collapse in the first game and with a new manager being appointed on Monday, they’ll be up and ready for this tie. It’ll be another new test for this group and they’ll certainly have to withstand a barrage from a team who are going to do anything to make sure they get their second round tie with Luton Town. However I do have faith in the players and the management and believe we can get past on of our biggest challenges this year, the potential tie against Luton is hardly inspiring but I know for a fact that Darren will see that tie as a huge chance to progress to the third round and will take nothing for granted.
Look out for an article later this week when I review the Solihull game and look forward to the Colchester United game at Huish Park. Thank you for reading and any feedback is appreciated.
Yeovil fans, do you agree with these points? Let us know in the comments below!