Football: Yeovil begin to live up to expectations at last

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The Independent Online
YEOVIL TOWN have a reputation as formidable opponents in the FA Cup, but this season their priority is winning the Nationwide Conference rather than adding to their list of giant-killing feats.

Last weekend's 3-2 home win over Northwich Victoria, when Yeovil were trailing 2-0 with 22 minutes to go but made a remarkable recovery to snatch three points, took the Somerset side to the top of the Conference for only the second time in their history.

There are great expectations at Huish Park that this could be the season when Yeovil at last realise their potential and reach the Nationwide League. With a modern stadium and big crowds the Glovers are ready for promotion off the pitch, and now the team are looking the part as well.

Yeovil have reached the top of the table under new management. The experienced midfielder Steve Thompson was promoted to the position of head coach earlier this season after his predecessor, Colin Lippiatt, resigned because of his reluctance to make the transition from part-time to full-time employment.

Looking back at last Saturday's thrilling victory over Northwich, Thompson said: "It was great to win from 2-0 down, and to go top made it a special day. I can't ask for any more from the players.

"The fans are getting behind us as well," Thompson added. "You have to have dreams in football, and my dream is that we're going to go from strength to strength and the crowds will get bigger and bigger."

Yeovil should have been preparing for a crucial trip to second-placed Rushden & Diamonds, who are one point behind them with a game in hand, tomorrow, but that fixture has been postponed because of the Northamptonshire side's FA Cup tie at Sheffield United on Sunday. Fourth-placed Kingstonian are also without a game tomorrow as their scheduled opponents, Hereford United, are still in the FA Cup, so Nuneaton Borough are the only team who can remove the Glovers from the top of the table this weekend.

Third-placed Nuneaton, who are one point behind Yeovil and have a better goal difference, will take over as leaders if they avoid defeat at Northwich. The Warwickshire side will be eager to erase the memories of last weekend's unexpected 3-2 home loss to the bottom club, Forest Green Rovers, who raced to a 3-0 half-time lead at Manor Park and managed to cling on to three vital points despite Borough's second-half revival.

Kingstonian have secured planning permission for work that will bring their stadium up to Nationwide League standards. The pounds 1m project will deliver new terracing and a grandstand extension and will increase Kingsmeadow's capacity to 6,500.