Despite not meeting in a competitive fixture until 2009 – aside from two Southern League encounters in the 60s – Yeovil Town and Exeter City have become rather accustomed to each other in recent seasons. The Westcountry clubs have played each other 11 times in league, cup and friendly games in a relatively short space of time.
As there aren’t many teams near Yeovil in the Football League, the close proximity of Exeter to Somerset has led to this fixture being billed as a ‘local derby’. However, the rivalry between the two sets of fans isn’t very strong, especially since the untimely passing of Adam Stansfield united the clubs.
That doesn’t mean that there’s been a lack of competitiveness in any of the matches so far, with a lot of high-scoring games and a lot of drama. Here are some of the best of those games, and before you ask, Yeovil’s opening day defeat to the Grecians from earlier in the season won’t be on the list!
3) Exeter City 1 – 1 Yeovil Town (18/08/09)
What better place to start than with the first meeting between Yeovil and Exeter in 40 years? While the 1 – 1 draw wasn’t the most entertaining game, it was memorable for a stunning second half equaliser that rescued a point for Yeovil at St James’ Park.
Under the management of Terry Skiverton and with the likes of Alex McCarthy and Steven Caulker in the starting 11, the Glovers went behind thanks to an own goal from centre-back Stefan Stam.
1,116 away supporters were in attendance which, despite the short trip, was still a great effort on a Tuesday night. They were sent wild when a loose ball was picked up by Tottenham-loanee Ryan Mason, who half-volleyed past City ‘keeper Paul Jones.
2) Yeovil Town 2 – 1 Exeter City (23/01/10)
Later that season, the two teams met at Huish Park and the same names that had been on the scoresheet in the previous fixture found the back of the net again. Luckily for Stam, on this occasion his goal was in the right end! He headed in a JP Kalala free kick to give Yeovil the lead.
After sustained pressure, Exeter grabbed an equaliser through Adam Stansfield. The ex-Town striker didn’t celebrate against his former club and drew applause from the home supporters, showing both his class and popularity, two things which make him sorely missed.
Mason netted his second goal of the season against the Grecians but it was less note-worthy than his previous effort, simply tapping in a rebound instead of blasting the back of the net out from 30 yards. It was still enough to give Yeovil the win, and the three points sent the Glovers up to the dizzy heights of 12th in the League One table.
1) Exeter City 2 – 3 Yeovil Town (19/03/11)
A topsy-turvy match at St James’ Park from 2011 makes the top of our list, with Yeovil taking all three points even after going 1 – 0 down in the first half. Sam Williams got our equaliser, injuring his shoulder in the process. The time taken to give him treatment resulted in five minutes of first half added time, and in the 49th minute Jamie Cureton restored Exeter’s lead.
However, the second half belonged to Yeovil as Dean Bowditch found the back of the net twice to complete the Glovers’ comeback. An Andy Welsh free kick saw Bowditch nip in for his first, and he then got the rebound following Jonathan Obika’s saved effort for his second.
Yeovil’s recent run of clean sheets combined with a lack of goals would hint that tomorrow’s match won’t be quite as entertaining, but there’s sure to be a good atmosphere following the news of manager Darren Way’s new contract. It will also mark another opportunity to remember Adam Stansfield, with a supporters match being held at 11am on the top pitch at Huish Park.