(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)
By Josh Wilde
The first few weeks of the new season is often a period of adjustment, where managers get to see how players perform in competitive games and make tactical tweaks, bringing reinforcements in if necessary.
For Yeovil manager Darren Way, it has been an eventful start to say the least. An 8-2 opening day defeat away to Luton Town, which Way branded “totally unacceptable”, saw his players refund the 258 travelling fans.
Seven days later, the team triumphed 3-2 against Accrington Stanley, before crashing to a disastrous 4-3 loss against Forest Green Rovers – despite having twice lead by two goals.
A fine win at home to Coventry followed, before the Glovers looked defensively vulnerable again as they lost 2-0 at Crawley.
Yeovil have conceded 16 goals in just five games, giving them the worst defensive record in the top four divisions.
However, the Somerset side have looked good going forward, scoring ten times in the same period – the fourth best total in the league.
On-loan Southampton forward Olufela Olomola has four in five, while strike partner Francois Zoko has three.
It is individual mistakes that have hampered the team’s efforts, and there is a worrying lack of experience amongst Yeovil’s backline.
Last season’s captain Darren Ward was released as the 38-year-old centre-back struggled to overcome a long-term knee injury, while 32-year-old sitting midfielder Alex Lawless and defensive mainstay Alex Lacey also departed – the latter rejecting a new contract in favour of a move to Gillingham.
In short, the Glovers have lost their leaders over the summer and although new signing James Bailey provides some much-needed knowhow in the middle of the pitch, the team desperately require a Football League veteran to marshal their shaky defence.
Former Bournemouth centre-half Stephane Zubar was brought in to act as chief organiser but the 30-year-old was soon released due to injury, without making a competitive appearance.
Yeovil currently sit 18th in League Two and face a home double-header, starting with Cheltenham Town on Saturday, before they entertain Morecambe three days later.
The team’s forward play is encouraging and certainly an improvement on last year, but as last Saturday showed when the strikers drew a rare blank, Way cannot constantly rely on his goalscorers to get the team out of trouble.
Bring in a defensive organiser and Yeovil fans can be optimistic about the season ahead. Fail to address the problems that have dogged them throughout these opening weeks and it could be a long season for the boys in green.