So Tuesday 25th March saw Yeovil Town away at league leaders Leicester City. Due to a work lunch I had to drive to this one, not a bad journey, a quick drive by of the stadium to get my bearings and then I found a free on street parking space about 10 mins walk from the ground. Joining the thousands of Leicester fans streaming towards the King Power I was thinking to myself – this could be an interesting walk back if we did pull off a surprise result.
So to the stadium – one of the better away grounds I’ve been to – good facilities, prices weren’t too high and a healthy home crowd who actually seemed prepared to make some noise. The away fans are allocated a corner area of the stadium but the view of the pitch was great and the 245 travelling fans showed their intent to make themselves heard over the 27,000 home fans. As the teams came out onto the pitch I know that my definition of success was set at not being ripped apart by a team looking set for the Premiership next season.
From the kick off it looked as if Yeovil were definitely facing an uphill task with Leicester applying the pressure early with Vardy breaking through in the opening minutes only to strike a tame shot straight at Stech whilst looking for an offside flag which wasn’t shown. As Yeovil fans collectively breathed again the team continued to soak up the pressure. Then, 22 mins in, Tom Lawrence was upended whilst making a strong break and Joe Ralls stepped up to curl the ball passed Schmeichel to give Yeovil an unlikely lead. The team continued to play well and even had a chance to double the lead. Leicester did however look dangerous with shots from Mahrez and Drinkwater going wide of the target and Yeovil fans delighted to hear the whistle.
The second half also started brightly and Yeovil had further chances to extend their lead but failed to beat Schmeichel keeping the score at a precarious 0-1. Leicester continued to press and Stech pulled off a true worldy to deny a long range shot from James. On 85 minutes Yeovil fans were daring to believe – could this be the day we managed to seize some unexpected points to keep the relegation scrap wide open? Sadly, once again, it was not to be. In stoppage time Schmeichel came forward for a corner which was successfully cleared by Yeovil with the ball spilling upfield with the Leicester net gaping wide. The Yeovil players were too slow to respond and Leicester swept the ball back towards the Yeovil goal. Schmeichel had stayed up and it was the Danish keeper who met the cross with a thumping header which rebounded off the cross bar and was turned in by Wood with both Leicester players claiming the credit for rescuing the point. When the final whistle went there was a mix of relief, disappointment and disbelief amongst the Yeovil crowd with the fans applauding a valiant fight by the lads. The Leicester fans also stayed to celebrate their late equaliser and the stadium remained crowded well past the final whistle.
And then the walk back to the car ...
I decided to face things head on and introduce myself to some of the Leicester fans around me and ask their opinions on the match. The general consensus was that we were far from the worst team to visit but they were disappointed with their performance on the day. Our defence was described as well organised and resilient but the general feeling was that we lacked bite in attack. And so my walk passed with no problems, some good natured banter and a number of mentions for a certain Danish goalie.
The gloss was further eroded from the evening by the news of other results with Charlton and Barnsley both picking up 3 points in the fight to stay in the Championship. How was it possible that my feelings had changed from “let’s not lose too badly” to “we let that one go” in the space of 90 minutes? But that is why we turn out week after week.