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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Match Report: Yeovil Town 2 Bristol Rovers 0 (allegedly)

League One club Yeovil Town swept to an expected comfortable win against their non-league neighbours in a friendly last night, which left both managers praising their clubs management for getting the fixture arranged.

A goal in each half from striker Ajay Leitch-Smith sealed the win for the Somerset side who used last night’s occasion to ease into their more serious upcoming pre-season programme.  Leitch-Smith said afterwards “It’s always great to score a goal whoever you’re playing. The fact it’s a local non-league side doesn’t make a difference to me, it will just give me more confidence when we start facing better opposition".

Chirpy Glovers boss Gary Johnson was pleased with his side’s performance, stating “Whoever you play you’ve still got to go out and perform and win. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Manchester Untied or a local smaller outfit like Bristol Rovers, you’ve still got to turn up and we did that tonight”. 

Ex-Bristol City boss Johnson - who is looking forward to a return to Ashton Gate this season when Yeovil play their league match at Bristol’s only league team - also added some words of encouragement for Rovers’ plucky youngsters “They did a good job considering the gulf in class. There’s probably one or two there who could rise up a few divisions and be at our standard in years to come so good luck to them.  For now though, it was just a great chance for them to play at a league club, with the ground and facilities we have and in front of a big crowd for a friendly”.  

Johnson added “They’ll take that experience with them on their Tuesday night trips to Eastleigh and Alfreton and remember what playing on a big stage feels like. It should give them extra appetite”

Meanwhile Rovers manager Darrell Clarke pronounced himself satisfied with the performance. “I was pleased. We’re coming along nicely and to put up such a good show against a big club like Yeovil, in their fantastic stadium is a great milestone. They were in the Championship only last year and have the budget and players in their squad we can only dream of having, so we’ve done well”

Clarke added “It was great of Yeovil to offer us this fixture. They should be an inspiration to us the way they’ve risen through from the non-league pyramid into the football league and that’s got to be our aim in the next five to ten years too. Games like this will just bring us along that path nicely”

Meanwhile Rovers defender Michael Smith is set to be the latest in a long line of non-league superstars to join League One Peterborough. ‘Posh’ owner Darragh MacAnthony said “We’ve got a strategic plan to identify the best talent from the non-league world as there can be some quality players down there despite their lowly status. It’s great to be able to offer these guys their chance to prove themselves at a much higher level. Plus they often come cheaper than they would if they were at a proper League club as the clubs are too small to have much negotiating power”

The Exiled Robin

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(Please note the quotes featured above are not real 
and were created for the purpose of this spoof report)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

NEW SIGNING: Luke Ayling in profile

Luke Ayling made the short journey up the M5 earlier this month, joining Steve Cotterill’s mini summer revolution at Ashton Gate and at the same time ending Brendan Moloney’s relatively short stay in BS3. Ayling was one of Yeovil’s better performers in their ultimately unsuccessful first season in the Championship, but he’s made the move in an apparent attempt to bounce back at the first attempt.
Yeovil fan and soon-to-be-married (to a ‘Dirty Leeds’ fan) Ben Barrett gave us this insight on a Huish Park hero who served his time well in Somerset.

“When Yeovil Town fans favourite Luke Ayling left to join Bristol City this week, to say I had mixed feelings would be an understatement.

Let’s get the rivalry bit out of the way, City are a rival, have been for a while, and for as long as the blue half of your city are pottering about in non-league always will be.  Not just geographically, but also, both sides have ambitions to be at the top of League One this season, so yes, losing Luke to you stings, just a little bit.

However, there’s respect there, he deserves his chance to be at a – and I hate this term – “big” club, honestly, just about anyone is “bigger” than Yeovil.

Luke is a versatile defender comfortable at full back, centre half or in the middle of the park.  He was our longest serving player and one of the fans’ favourites.  As the song goes, he was the “love of our life”… we’d even let him “meet” (hey, this is a family blog) our wives and a part me of does “want long hair too”.

What we loved about was the fact that he cared, he cared more than most. Not always the most technically gifted player, can be found out aerially, can be a little bit flat footed against pace and has found himself out of position once or twice.  But every time he pulled on the shirt he really cared, about his performance, about how we felt in the stands… about Yeovil.

An upbringing at Arsenal alongside Jack Wilshere probably does that to you.

Two years ago, when it seemed the whole side were ready to leave, he along with Ed Upson and a couple others signed up one more time, it was a signal of intent, a signal that Yeovil weren’t just a stepping stone, we were an option for success.

The result was the finest season in our club’s history, Luke was a massive part of that and that’s how I’ll remember him.

Don’t expect many goals; over 160 games and just the three goals, all of which scored in the last 12 months.  One in an extraordinary cup tie against Birmingham, a last ditch equaliser against Wigan and a consolation against Middlesbrough on the final day of the season.

Bristol City have got themselves a Championship defender, one we didn’t want to lose, especially to a rival.

Luke goes with my biggest admiration; I’ll overlook the red and white… well, until Boxing Day at least!”

My thanks to Ben for this – you can follow him on Twitter here (https://twitter.com/benbarrett10) and he also has his own sports writing website which you can click through to here: http://barrettsportswriting.webs.com/

The Exiled Robin

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