Yeovil Town's season draws to a close on Saturday with the visit of Stockport County to Huish Park (12:30pm K.O.).
In attendance will be the family of Lee Collins, which coincides with the launch of the club's Crowdfunder campaign, which had the backing of a number of Collins' former sides. We ask all in attendance to give his family a warm welcome to Huish Park.
The clash with Hatters provides an opportunity to wave goodbye to Yeovil Town favourite Carl Dickinson, who will leave the club to take up a role as Player-Manager at Hanley Town.
Darren Sarll's thoughts 🤔
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A time to say goodbye 👋
The last game of the season often spells the end for a number of players time at the club. This afternoon, our longest serving player Carl Dickinson will wave goodbye to Huish Park for the final time as he ventures into player-management at Hanley Town.
Dickinson joined Town in the Summer of 2019, but endured a difficult first season with the club, not being involved in first team action in a vast amount of the latter campaign.
After a difficult year, Dickinson would have been forgiven for wanting to leave Huish Park, but when Darren Sarll took over the reigns, it took one conversation with the boss to convince him to stay.
Over the past two seasons in the National League, Dickinson has drawn plaudits for his desire to win and leadership on and off the pitch as he made the left-back position his own.
In recent weeks, Dickinson made his 100th appearance in green & white, and will wear those colours one last time against Stockport County on Saturday afternoon.
Also departing is midfielder Jimmy Smith. Today's game will be the midfielder’s 513th and final professional appearance of his career.
Speaking to ytfc.net following the announcement, Jimmy said; “I’ve had two very different seasons in my time at Yeovil. The first one was unbelievable, to play for this club I’ve always thought so highly of throughout my career was special.
“I always mentioned to Terry on occasions ‘when you going to sign me,’ as bit of banter and when I had to opportunity to come here, I was buzzing.
Jimmy made an immediate impact when signing, scoring on his debut against AFC Fylde, just one of the “fantastic times” he enjoyed in green and white.
“I have a good relationship with the gaffer and Terry and have learnt so much from them.
“What we created as a team, staff, and fans together was amazing, playing home and away, the fans are truly the 12th man, which is something we have missed this season.
“Sharing the moment with our fans is something will always stick with me, especially when we sing our song all together. I was gutted we couldn’t achieve promotion in the play offs.”
This year has been particularly difficult for Town, both on and off the pitch, but the unity within the ranks has pulled the Glovers through to the end of the season.
“Not getting promotion was my reason to come back again this season, even though it is three hours from my home.
“I was committed to achieving that because I believed we could do it, but it turned out to be the worst year of my life, COVID, losing our captain, it’s been a very hard year for us all but we have stuck together through all of this because of the love and strength we have for each other.”
Playing from the Premier League to the National League, the 34-year-old has enjoyed a spectacular career spanning 16 seasons.
Starting on the books at Chelsea, Jimmy made one competitive appearance for the Blues, coming on as a substitute for Arjen Robben against Newcastle at St, James’ Park. Returning to where it all started, Jimmy will now take up a coaching role with this season’s Champions League finalists.
Sending his parting message to the club, Jimmy said, “I wish the gaffer, Terry, and the squad all the best for next season. With the fans back, pushing this team up the league, hopefully they can gain promotion, which this town deserves."
All at Yeovil Town would like to congratulate Jimmy on his new role and thank him for his service in Somerset.
In memory of Lee Collins 💚
This week, Yeovil Town launched its Crowdfunder UK fundraising campaign to support Lee Collins' family alongside mental health charity YoungMinds.
Described as the ‘glue’ of the club at Yeovil, Collins also wore the captain’s armband at Northampton Town, Mansfield Town and Forest Green Rovers and played for teams across the English Football League (EFL) and National League including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Port Vale, Barnsley and Shrewsbury Town.
Admired by all he played with at Yeovil and beyond, Collins set standards both on and off the pitch and will be remembered for his competitive attitude as well as his kind and caring nature.
Commenting on the campaign, Yeovil Town F.C.’s manager, Darren Sarll, said:
“Uniting the football family under one banner to create something special for the family of one of our own whilst supporting mental health charities in the UK is a huge objective of ours.
“Alongside Lee’s previous clubs and teammates, we have launched a fund to support the future aspirations of Lee’s daughters, Amelia, Laila and Charley-Mae and also raise money for the important work led by mental health charities across the nation.
“Yeovil is a family-centred club and Lee’s wonderful family, who have shown great strength during this extremely difficult time, will always have a home at Huish Park. We’ll celebrating Lee’s life with all the Yeovil supporters during our match against Stockport County on 29 May and appreciate the unbelievable support we have seen over the past few weeks.”
To donate to the Crowdfunder, click HERE.
Scout Report 🔍
Stockport County 1-1 Woking
The long-awaited return of fans to Edgeley Park, for County’s final regular home fixture of the season, was marked by a third successive home draw against struggling Woking.
Two games from the end of a campaign in which most matches in the National League, and all at EP, had been played behind closed doors, a socially-distanced crowd of over 2,000 saw an own goal restore parity for the Hatters on the stroke of half-time and shortly after they had gone behind – creating, in the process, a club post-war record of 17 successive unbeaten matches within a season.
The Hatters created the first chance after four minutes, when a delicious through-ball from John Rooney picked out Macauley Southam-Hales – whose first-time shot was kept out by Woking’s goalkeeper-captain Craig Ross.
The ‘Cards’, who had triumphed on all three of their previous visits to EP, showed some early attacking intent of their own – with Ben Hinchliffe being forced to deflect past the near upright an effort from Zach Robinson after the striker had cut in from the left, and County’s defence having to scramble clear the resulting, in-swinging corner by Charlie Cooper.
Hinchliffe came to the rescue again with a one-handed parry, after Sam Ashford had been played through on goal by Cooper – and, at the other end, a cross by Rydel from the left found Elliot Newby, who headed narrowly over.
Four minutes before the break, a short corner on the right from Tom Walker to Newby was received back by the taker who drilled a low shot from the near side of the box that Ross dived to smother.
With added time imminent, the teams looked to be going in all-square – which, in the event they did, albeit after scoring one apiece within three minutes.
First, a Cooper free-kick on the left was held up by Jack Cook, who fed Max Kretzschmar – and the attacking midfielder fired past Hinchliffe from a narrow angle to put the visitors in front.
But the Hatters hit back ahead of the half-time whistle – with Rooney unleashing a shot that deflected against the left post, before being picked up wide of goal by Alex Reid, whose low delivery across the goalmouth was turned by Ben Gerring into his own net.
Richie Bennett was introduced upon the resumption and was soon in action – meeting two crosses from the right in quick succession by Southam-Hales to headfirst at Ross (whom the striker was adjudged to have fouled) and subsequently over the Woking crossbar.
Walker fired over, and Reid saw an attempt gathered by the diving Ross, as County started the half much the brighter. And the Hatters then hit the woodwork twice within a couple of minutes, as Bennett headed a Walker cross from the left against the underside of the bar, and a Rooney corner evaded all in attendance to strike the far-right post.
The Hatters were monopolising the corner count, too – 15 to Woking’s one, in the final analysis – with one of Jennings’ deliveries from the right finding Ash Palmer, whose header from beyond the far post was tipped over by Ross.
With a number of visiting players going to ground in the later stages, Referee Richardson added on six minutes at the end – but late efforts from Ryan Croasdale and Reid, whose respective shots were saved by Ross and struck the bar, failed to secure the win that County’s second-half dominance had deserved.
Blast from the Past/Previous Encounter 🔙
The Glovers were denied back-to-back victories with a late Stockport County goal forcing the hosts to settle for a 1-1 draw at Huish Park.
In a sense of deja vu from Tuesday night's win over Eastleigh, Courtney Duffus struck to put the green and whites in the driving seat with a clinical finish on 22 minutes.
With the goal mirroring the performance on the pitch, the Hatters then fought back into the game and were only denied an equaliser before the break by a superb Stuart Nelson stop.
In an attempt to put the game to bed, Rhys Murphy and Matt Worthington lead the assault on County's goal but the first successive victories since March were denied when Adam Thomas came off the bench to level it up late on and force a share of the spoils.
Looking to carry on where they left off in midweek, Darren Sarll named an unchanged side to take on the Hatters.
With just one alteration to the matchday 18, Nestor Shako returned to the bench as fellow Academy graduate Gabby Rogers dropped off.
On a stormy afternoon in Somerset, the hosts were once again on the offensive from the off and were soon raining on the visitors' parade.
After an opening 20 minutes of encouraging forward play - albeit without shots on goal - the deadlock was broken in clinical style.
Breaking forward from midfield, Lawson D'Ath's shot from range deflected off of team-mate Murphy to land perfectly in the path of Duffus, who showed all the signs of a striker brimming with confidence to slot the ball under Ben Hinchliffe.
More than deserving of their lead, the hosts then had to remain aware at the back to withstand an attempt at an instant reply from Stockport.
Nyal Bell drove a strike from the edge of the box just over the bar before strike partner Frank Mulhern suffered the same fate soon after.
Attempting to use those chances as a way to gain a foothold in the match, Jim Gannon's side wrestled back a share of the possession from the Glovers and had their best opportunity to level the score on the stroke of half-time.
Elliot Osborne's pull back to Mulhern just 10 yards out looked destined to result in a shot being swept home but for Nelson to dive at full-stretch and superbly tip the effort over the bar to earn an ovation from the Thatchers Gold Terrace.
Producing a spirited backs to the wall defensive display in midweek to retain their slender advantage, the green and whites looked to give themselves some breathing space after the restart.
Launching a counter-attack from a County corner, Murphy ran from one box to the other prior to curling a shot a yard or two wide, followed by Worthington seeing a low drive whistle just past the post as the hour-mark came and went.
With the Hatters only forcing Nelson into a save from Osborne's wind-assisted strike the Greater Manchester outfit were being held at arm's length as Worthington went close again, this time forcing Hinchliffe to parry for a corner.
Comfortable for their 1-0 lead heading into the final 10 minutes, the Hatters needed a change in momentum and made all three available changes for the final assault.
Yielding some joy, Nelson had to be perfectly placed to get a strong hand to Thomas' shot from the angle, swiftly followed by fellow substitute Connor Dimaio lashing a venomous hit just wide as a late bombardment threatened.
Looking like they'd done enough to round off a positive week at Huish Park, the hosts were dealt a late blow when Thomas was in the right place at the right time to divert a low shot under Nelson to rescue a point for Gannon's side.
Yeovil Town: Nelson; Skendi, Collins, Bradbury; Alcock, Worthington, Whelan (McCoy 89'), Hutton; D'Ath; Murphy, Duffus.
Bookings: Duffus 24', Nelson 61', Skendi 68'
Subs not used: Driscoll, Ojo, Shako, Seager.
The Visitors 👀
Stockport County were formed in 1883 as Heaton Norris Rovers, but shortly after in 1890 were renamed Stockport County. The club were originally famous for their red and white shirts, since 1914 they have played in blue and white. The town of Stockport is famous for the hat-making industry, which is where the clubs nickname “The Hatters” derives from.
The Hatters first season in the Football League came in 1900 but had to seek re-election in 1904. However, it was not until 1905-06 that the club was reinstated to the Football League Competition, where they stayed for 106 years until relegation in 2011.
The 1990’s was the golden era at Edgeley Park, with the club reaching the League Cup semi-finals in the 1996/97 campaign. The club hit financial difficulties throughout the early 2000s and suffered relegation to Non-League in 2010/11, but things got even worse when the Hatters subsequently fell to the National League North in 2012/13.
After slowly rebuilding the foundations of the club, Stockport returned to the National League after promotion was sealed in 2018/19. The transformation under Simon Rusk since January 2021 cannot be understated, with County safely secured in the play-offs ahead of today’s season finale at Huish Park.
Paddy Madden is a name well known amongst the Glovers faithful for his famous goal at Wembley in the 2013 League One play-off final victory over Brentford. After turning a successful loan spell at the Huish Park into a permanent deal, the Irish forward plundered 23 goals to secure the League One golden boot.
The forward has a prolific record wherever he has played his football, scoring 52 goals for Scunthorpe United between 2014 and 2018. Until moving to Stockport in March 2021, he was on the books at Fleetwood Town, bagging 42 goals for the Cod Army.
Since moving to the Hatters on a three-year deal, his natural goal scoring has been on show once again. Madden has struck 7 goals in 14 appearances to date, including a vital goal in a 1-0 away victory against fellow play-off hopefuls Halifax Town.
Undoubtably he will get a warm reception on his return to Somerset this
Thank you 🙌
Thank you to all the Yeovil Town supporters for your continued support this season. It has not been the same without you and cannot wait to welcome you back to an unrestricted Huish Park in August. For now, enjoy this afternoon's game and have a lovely summer. - From all at Yeovil Town.