Improved atmosphere gave platform for Glovers' glory
WITH ten minutes to go before kick off on Saturday you could almost sense that it would be an afternoon to remember for the right reasons for Yeovil Town.
As I took my seat with the game about to start the difference in atmosphere between that which welcomed Nottingham Forest and seven days earlier against Brighton and Hove Albion was markedly improved.
Gone was the nervous apprehension, the occasional dissenting voice and frustrated figure irritated at the wait for home points.
The manager had again been bold in his selection, Joel Grant shifted from a wide position where he had shown mere glimpses of talent to an unfamiliar striker role alongside Sam Hoskins.
But this appeared not to bother the Glovers' faithful, unlike just a week previous when a disappointing display only exacerbated concerns at the omission of both Paddy Madden and Sam Foley.
Last season's star duo were back in the squad to face Forest. Their inclusion would certainly have not gone unnoticed and seen as a step in the right direction by the supporters that have continued to back them.
But would two substitutes have boosted positivity around Huish Park so substantially? Hindsight would argue not, with no replacements being made and none of the seven named on the bench really influencing the first Sky Bet Championship victory on home soil.
Spirits will no doubt have been lifted, but a tremendous start ensured that those stands remained bouncing throughout the clash.
Ed Upson's blinding - if deflected - early opener maintained any remaining optimism, muting a bumper away following and keeping the home faithful in strong voice.
As the Glovers' performance showed not one sign of dropping in intensity, those in the stands responded and only for a brief moment following Nathan Chalobah's straightforward header did the noise threaten to quieten.
Byron Webster's towering header just seconds later meant that spell was brief to say the least and was indicative of a different nature of performance to what we have witnessed already this season.
Previously we have seen the Glovers impress, look the business across the park, but not make that dominance count and look even more vulnerable after conceding.
That was certainly not the case against Forest as the Premier League hopefuls were, quite frankly, battered by a team that finally lived up to some of their potential and belied their lowly position.
There's no doubt that Forest are a top flight side in the waiting - serious questions need to be asked if they fail to achieve promotion.
But they were certainly below par on Saturday, and that is taking nothing away from Yeovil. Gary Johnson's outfit refused to let them play and, finally, made sure their superiority was reflected in the scoreline.
Forest peppered their hosts after their break - both shots on and off target reached double figures - but the lads in green and white were in no mood to buckle. Attacking intensity matched defensive resolve to produce an all-round display that created a proud day for the Glovers.
Johnson spoke at great length leading up to the game about his team being unable to carry passengers if they were to succeed, with every player having to be on song to earn a result. This was exactly the case against Forest, it is almost impossible to be critical of any of the XI that exceeded expectation.
Admittedly, Upson and Wayne Hennessey have deservedly dominated headlines. But their tremendous individual input was more indicative of excellence across the pitch, with the duo rising to the top on behalf of their team-mates.
However, as Upson rightly pointed out in an engaging post-match interview, it would be foolish to get carried away with one victory. We can enjoy the moment, bask in the glory of another memorable – and historic triumph – over Forest, whilst revel in the terse response from visiting fans on the social networks.
But soon it will be time to look ahead, kick on further and make sure that one dazzling display does not become the only swallow of the proverbial summer. We knew Yeovil were capable of such brilliance but now we also know what it takes to at least stifle one of the Championship's best.
Leeds United on Saturday is a familiar, if unhappy stomping ground for the Glovers and meeting the former Champions League semi-finalists shows the challenges keep on coming. Defeat, although it will not be considered, would not be a disaster at Elland Road. However, failure to build on the most positive performance of the season would be most disappointing.