Four season’s ago, Yeovil beat Nottingham Forest, Watford and Sheffield Wednesday en route to being relegated from the Championship.
On the day of their final win, a 2-1 victory at Blackpool, Lincoln City drew 0-0 with Dartford to almost bring to a close another dismal season. If we had any chance of playing them that season we would have to have won three FA Cup games just to earn the right to get into the draw when they entered it. The was a gulf between the two sides, a chasm as wide as there is now between us and West Brom.
Tomorrow, all that is forgotten as the former Championship side visit Sincil Bank for the final game of the regular season. Usually, I do stats and a graph-laden piece here looking at form, goal scorers and the like. Today, I do not.
That’s partly because I’m writing this on Tuesday and the graph people haven’t been in touch yet, but mainly because it really doesn’t matter. If I wanted the stats, I’d go find them. They don’t mean a single thing though because tomorrow is a one-off cup final. The final game of the season always throws up oddities and thrills, I just hope we’re not the ones who suffer.
If I did look at the stats I’ notice that in their last 15 games, Yeovil have won just two, or that in our last twelve we’ve only lost two. A defeat is the only thing that sees us slip out of the top seven and even then, Mansfield have to get a win. On paper, we’re laughing but until 4.45pm tomorrow, there will be no smiles on Imps fan’s faces. Not unless we’re 5-0 up at half time.
We’ve been in this sort of situation before, needing a win and results to go our way in 1998, needing a point in 2003 and even hoping for a win against Rochdale in the early 1990s. Usually, we come good. Again, what does history matter?
I’ve heard people going on about playing Yeovil on the last day twice before, I’ve done it myself, but what does that matter at all? Was Danny in charge then? Was Bozzie in midfield? No. History is something that sets a scene, but it has no influence or bearing on proceedings. I think in some circumstances, it weighs you down. In the build up to our recent Checkatrade Trophy win I saw lots of coverage of Shrewsbury losing every time they went to Wembley, which is how it played out. Did they need that around their neck?
We’re lucky in that we rarely fluff our lines on the big day, not under Danny and recently not under Keith either. Once we’re in the play-offs it is different, if we do make it those stats will creep out, how we lost five times in a row, how we’re the cursed team and all that. It might be a cross the current side have to bear, but until 4.45pm tomorrow we won’t know.
Here’s a few facts, Yeovil have won away five times this season, once against Exeter and another against Coventry. They hit Coventry for six, but since then have collected two points from a possible 21. Their goal threat comes from the lump up top, Francois Zoko, although Sam Surridge is a talent in the middle of the park (if he plays) and Olufela Olomola on loan from Southampton is an able body. However, it is former Motherwell man Alex Fisher who is grabbing headlines at present, he’s got six this season including a brace against Coventry.
They line up in a conventional 4-4-2, in their recent 0-0 draw with Forest Green they managed just two shots on goal. You know what all that means? Nothing.
Tomorrow, to a degree, line ups mean nothing, stats mean nothing and the form book means nothing. It is a clash of wills, their desire to stop us getting the result against our will to finish in the top seven. We’ll be backed by 9,000 raucous and lively supporters, something that will matter.
As you know, I won’t be there, but I will urge you to stay off the pitch if we make the play offs. The playing surface has taken some hammer recently and the last thing it needs is a few thousand feet charging all over it. Besides, what have we won if we do get the result? Nothing. Invade the pitch if we get to Wembley again, but not when a job hasn’t been finished. Don’t spoil it for everyone else, let the players come out, do the lap of honour and receive their awards. Be reasonable, lets not have any of this ‘I go on the pitch’ nonsense. It isn’t a right and the season isn’t over. Let’s celebrate when we’ve achieved something, yeah?
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