Yeovil 0-1 Town
Tuesday, 11th Mar 2014 21:55
Christophe Berra’s 40th minute goal saw Town to a 1-0 victory over Yeovil in their first ever visit to Huish Park. The Scottish international diverted Tommy Smith’s header from Stephen Hunt’s corner into the roof of the net to claim the Blues’ first away win of 2014.
Mick McCarthy handed Sylvan Ebanks-Blake his full league debut for Town in place of Paul Taylor in the Blues’ first ever game at Huish Park.
Luke Hyam, Paul Anderson and Hunt returned in midfield with Taylor, Paul Green and Jay Tabb amongst the subs and the injured Frank Nouble not travelling. Carlos Edwards and Teddy Bishop made the trip but were left out of the 18.
The home side won an early corner and after the ball was cleared, Tom Lawrence struck a powerful shot just past Dean Gerken’s left post.
On nine James Hayter hit an effort over from the edge of the box having been found by Lawrence, then Ishmael Miller saw a strike blocked with the home side on top in the opening stages.
Hunt crossed too close to Yeovil keeper Marek Stech, a one-time Town trialist, in the 13th minute with Ebanks-Blake lurking behind him. But the Glovers were still on top, Luke Ayling hitting a low shot through to Gerken two minutes later.
The Blues created their first significant chance of the game in the 20th minute when Anderson burst through the middle and found Daryl Murphy to his left but the Irishman sliced well wide much to the home fans’ amusement.
Just before the half hour, Cole Skuse smashed a half-volley well wide with the Blues starting to make some headway, albeit unconvincingly. On 35 Hyam was booked for a foul on Duane Holmes.
Anderson found Ebanks-Blake at the far post with a left-wing cross a minute later but the Town striker was unable to get in a header under pressure. The ball fell to Hunt, who shot wide.
The Blues were getting on top and in the 38th minute the lively Anderson played the ball into Murphy’s feet, he laid it back to Ebanks-Blake and his strike was blocked by Byron Webster.
Murphy headed the second of several successive Town corners wide but the pressure was building and from the fourth flagkick, the Blues went in front.
Hunt sent the ball over from the left and Smith’s header looked to be going beyond the far post until his central defensive partner Berra slammed it into the roof of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
Anderson shot well wide from distance soon after the goal but neither side looked like scoring again in the closing minutes of the first half.
Town came more into what had been a scrappy game as the period wore on and their first real spell of pressure led to Berra’s goal. Yeovil had started brightly, creating a number of early opportunities but faded as the Blues imposed themselves in the latter stages.
Yeovil made two changes up front at half-time, Kieffer Moore and Sam Hoskins replacing Miller, who had been a handful early on before presumably picking up an injury, and James Hayter.
Soon after the restart, Skuse saw a shot blocked, then at the other end Hyam similarly prevented Glovers midfielder Ruben Palazuelos’s strike. The half had started in the same scruffy manner as the first period with both sides looking to get the ball forward quickly at every opportunity.
Ebanks-Blake shot low to Stech in the 57th minute, then just before the hour mark Hunt was booked for a foul on Webster right in front of the technical area. Soon after, Jonny Williams replaced the Irishman, Town having been planning to withdraw Ebanks-Blake prior to Hunt’s booking.
Mings replaced Ebanks-Blake on 65, Cresswell moving to left midfield. Moments later, Williams curled a shot well over.
There was a scare for the Blues a minute later when Moore took down a ball over the top but the advancing Gerken forced him wide and then blocked his shot. Soon after, Yeovil midfielder Joe Edwards was booked for a dive midway in the Town half.
The Blues came close to a second in the 70th minute when Cresswell’s freekick from the left ran loose but neither Murphy nor Anderson could apply the decisive touch and Stech claimed.
As the game moved into its final 15 minutes the match was surprisingly open, the impressive Williams stumbling when he looked to have got behind the Yeovil backline, then Anderson missing a low cross from the left.
At the other end, Morgan headed over but from an offside position, however, overall the home side were looking short on ideas, sending in too many high balls which the Town defence headed away.
On 82 Murphy broke through the middle before feeding Anderson to his right but the winger screwed his shot well wide. Green replaced Anderson for the final five minutes.
Cresswell shot just wide, then Skuse took the ball to the edge of the box before hitting a low curling effort which Stech did well to push past his right post.
From Cresswell’s corner, Mings headed to the Yeovil keeper. As the game moved into four minutes of added time another Cresswell strike deflected wide.
Yeovil thought they’d equalised a minute later when sub Moore shot on the turn from the edge of the area but saw his shot hit the inside of the post and almost impossibly fly across the face of goal to safety.
Play quickly moved to the other end, Murphy bringing the ball to the edge of the box before hitting a low strike which Stech did well to push wide.
Despite the late scare, Town claimed their first away win of 2014, their most recent prior to that came on Boxing Day at Doncaster.
It was another typically attritional Championship game. Town came through Yeovil’s early spell on top, then took a chance once they were in control.
The Blues had the better of the game in the second half – Williams adding some quality when he was introduced - with Yeovil only really threatening once before Moore’s late strike against the post and in the end probably deserved the points, although Glovers fans will go home feeling somewhat unfortunate not to have grabbed a late draw.
With Reading and Brighton also both winning, the Blues remain in ninth, four points from the play-offs.
Yeovil: Stech, Ayling, Webster, Duffy, McAllister (c), Lawrence, Edwards, Palazuelos, Holmes (Morgan 730, Miller (Moore 46)), Hayter (Hoskins 46). Unused: Dunn, Twumasi, Lanzoni, Dawson.
Town: Gerken, Chambers (c), Cresswell, Berra, Smith, Skuse, Hyam, Anderson (Green 85), Hunt (Williams 62), Ebanks-Blake (MIngs 65), Murphy. Unused: Loach, Tabb, Richardson, Taylor. Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire). Att: 5,920 (Town: 1,091)
Photo: Action Images
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