Remembering where we once were.
Who would have predicted in September ’98 that the first ever meeting between Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers would be followed by another 23 games against each other in all competitions in the subsequent fifteen years?
The two Clubs will have scarcely registered on each others radar despite their respective existences which exceed the one-hundred year mark.
Now the sides are – seemingly – inseparable and continue to battle it out at various levels of the English football pyramid system and have done so in FOUR different leagues.
Rovers rarely had the better of the Glovers in the Conference and a 2-2 draw at Huish Park – after leading 2-0 – should have been a sign of things to come for Ian Snodin’s men, who lost the return 2-0.
Always a hard place to go for opposing sides, Yeovil continued to push at the top end of the table and regularly finished higher than Rovers, who did manage to win at Huish Park through Dave Penney, Dino Maamria and an own goal, before the hosts returned the favour within a week in their visit to Belle Vue.
Yeovil really kicked on under their current boss, Gary Johnson – now in his second spell with the Club – who arrived following a spell as Latvia national coach.
After winning the FA Trophy, the Somerset club finished third in the league before romping to the league title in the 2002/03 season with 95 points.
Johnson’s star studded side entered in to – and enjoyed – a long rivalry with Dave Penney’s men and a packed house in Somerset saw the spoils shared in a 1-1 draw, with Danny Hudson’s early opener levelled by Gavin Williams.
Yeovil came to Belle Vue in the return knowing that CHESTER CITY hadn’t won that afternoon and so kicked off in the early evening in front of the TV cameras to show why they were worthy Champions, by giving Rovers a hiding 4-0.
Rovers were to follow just weeks later courtesy of the new play-off system introduced to the Conference and since; the clubs have enjoyed five promotions between them.
The Clubs are easily the most successful of the sides to have played in the Conference between 1998-2003 and have met each other twelve times in the Football League since their non-league days with several players (including Michael McIndoe, Adam Lockwood and James Hayter) playing for both sides.
Somewhat predictably, they will meet yet again next season in LEAGUE 1.
*Rovers striker Robert Gill salutes the Popular Stand in February 02 at Belle Vue during an FA Trophy game where he scored twice, as Rovers led 3-0 (4-1 on aggregate) before dramatically collapsing in the second half to lose 5-4 (6-5 on aggregate)*