A look back at a season that won’t soon be forgotten for Yeovil.
The last day of May in 2017 was the last day of the Spring Series, it was also the last time for a long while that Yeovil would finish a match with a clean sheet. Listing off Yeovil’s results seems far too much like insult after injury, the team without a win in league or cup over the entire duration of the 2017-18 season, or, 23 matches. A team forged on the idea of Achieve by Unity (ABU), you may have been left to question just how much more united the Lady Glovers would have to become to achieve in WSL 1.
The Spring Series highlighted a raft of problems, the team not just looking out of place in the top tier by genuinely asking questions of whether of not they’d struggle for points in WSL 2. Things had been put into place after the Spring to give Yeovil more of a fighting chance but the bad news kept coming in Somerset, Sarah Wiltshire announced she couldn’t manage the commute anymore, not with a baby. The team having lost its’ talisman, but Wiltshire wasn’t the last, Lucy Quinn departed for Birmingham City before the team lost its spine when Helen Bleazard and Ellie Curson stepped away.
The side an increasingly young one, that couldn’t find enough balance on the pitch, the defence picked apart by professional teams for fun and the attack unfortunately blunted. Routinely trounced by the bigger teams throughout the year, early losses to Bristol City and Sunderland – both by a goal to nil – had Yeovil playing catch up. Even in the Conti Cup up against WSL 2 teams, Yeovil couldn’t find any relief with Brighton and Spurs both dealing out losses for the Lady Glovers. Without any joy in the league cup, Yeovil were fast knocked out of the FA Cup at the start of the year, a visit from Arsenal all it took to sweep them aside.
In the league, the team had conceded 42 goals in 12 matches before Megan Walsh was finally rewarded for her industrious work between the posts with a clean sheet, kept at home to Birmingham City. Their first point doubled three days later when the Gunners came to Weston-super-Mare, another clean sheet for the team, #ABU the mantra. Then, at long last, a goal, their first of the season, Libby Piggott’s strike enough for history if not a point away to Everton. The last day of the season, the last chance for redemption, Annie Heatherson’s opening goal just the second they’d scored in 18 matches, second half goals for Kiera Ramshaw and Bridget Galloway enough to give the hosts all three points, leaving Yeovil winless.
After a torrid season, the Lady Glovers would have been relieved to see that their application for top tier status for the coming season had been [conditionally] accepted, their failings on the pitch not costing them. Though with the announced exit of Jamie Sherwood, the club may have just lost its identity, Lee Burch the man already announced to take over. Working with a micro-budget and a lot of good will, the problems for Yeovil won’t just be how to compete with the best in the league who have far more cash to splash but how to entice players to Somerset. Working with a lot of younger players and plenty from over the Welsh border, the team has consistently shown its naivety this season, moving forward, the team will need more experience. Whilst #ABU might still be core to the club, the players – whether they be young or old – will need a healthy dose of confidence, a fire under them to inspire more gusto on the pitch.