Football / FA Cup: Coates gives Yeovil record

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The Independent Online
Hereford United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Yeovil Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

A BRUISING 'cider derby' brought a deserved and dramatic victory for Yeovil in this FA Cup second- round replay at Edgar Street last night, Neil Coates's 89th-minute goal completing Hereford's misery after the dismissal of player-manager Greg Downs for a professional foul.

The prize for the side lying ninth in the Vauxhall Conference is a lucrative tie against Arsenal, eighth in the Premier League, at their new 9,000-capacity Huish Park Stadium. Yeovil also claimed a competition record for a non-League club, making Third Division Hereford their 16th Football League victims.

The celebrations were wild and prolonged, yet moments earlier Hereford, who had fought back to equalise and survived a penalty after Downs's departure, were pressing frantically for the goal that would have precluded extra time. Instead, Yeovil swept away down the right and the ball was cut back to Coates, the substitute scoring from 10 yards.

A jubilant Steve Rutter, the injured Yeovil player-manager, was particularly pleased for Coates. 'Our fans give me stick for picking him because he goes out with my wife's sister,' he explained. 'They call him my brother-in-law.'

Yeovil's 18th-minute lead stemmed from Hereford's bizarre tactical ploy of leaving the right-back position unfilled. Steve Harrower's cross picked out Paul Sanderson, who scored with a glancing header.

Tony Cousins, on loan from Liverpool, rattled Yeovil's bar shortly before half-time, but Yeovil continued to look dangerous on the break, as Downs discovered to his cost in the 53rd minute. Mickey Spencer was racing clear when the former Wembley winner with Coventry scythed him down. The referee clearly construed that Downs was the last line of defence, and produced the red card.

In the 70th minute, Richard Jones fouled Phil Ferns to concede a penalty. Alan Judge saved Paul Batty's spot-kick, and visions of Arsenal loomed suddenly larger for Hereford seven minutes later.

Owen Pickard beat the Yeovil keeper, David Coles, to a through ball to level the scores. But in the aftermath of the goal, 'the brother- in-law' had come on almost unnoticed. As songs of Somerset filled the air, there was no question of Coates's exit being quite so understated.

Hereford United: Judge; Titterton, Downs, Devine, Theodosiou, Cousins, Hall, Jones, Pickard, Brain (Fry, 51), Nicholson. Substitute not used: Anderson.

Yeovil Town: Coles; Dobbins, Sherwood, Shail, Ferns, Cooper (Coates, 78), Sanderson, Batty, Wilson, Spencer, Harrower. Substitute not used: Hughes.

Referee: R Hamer (Bristol).