Yeovil Town gained three valuable points against Carlisle United this afternoon at Huish Park in what was a game of two halves. Unlike last weekend, the Glovers were the team on the front foot in the first period, gaining the upper hand through two Ryan Mason goals, who was on a high having scored for England Under 19s in midweek. But Carlisle saw far more of the second half, with Ian Harte converting a penalty early in the second period, setting up a nervy match until substitute Keiran Murtagh netted with his first touch three minutes from the end to seal the win.
Terry Skiverton made three changes to last weekend's side, with Steven Caulker recalled for Andy Lindegaard, allowing Craig Alcock to return to his natural postion, whilst Shaun MacDonald and Ryan Mason returned from international duty. Jonathan Obika was the unlucky 6th loanee, sitting the game out in the stands.
Carlisle started brightly although their defence were having a great deal of difficulty in working out how to deal with Yeovil's nested attacking formation, with Ryan Mason instantly getting on the ball every time Yeovil launched an attack. Mason threaded Sam Williams who shot over the bar, then a Mason ball across the face of the box that Williams was inches away from converting. But when Craig Alcock fed Ryan Mason just 13 minutes into the match, the Tottenham Hotspur player needed just one touch to find a gaping hole in the Carlisle defence and to fire home past Leonard Pidgeley for the perfect start.
Despite the impressive early start, chances were hard to come by for both sides, with Shaun MacDonald's long range attempt one of the few to trouble Pidgeley, whilst Alex McCarthy was a spectator at the other end. A MacDonald ball over the top as Yeovil dominated the midfield set Sam Williams on his way, but his half-volley went just wide of the post. But three minutes before the break, good work by Scott Murray and Andy Welsh set Ryan Mason again through Carlisle's offside trap. Mason was as composed as is possible to be as Leonard Pidgeley came off his line gesticulating for an offside flag that never came, and Mason slotted home to put Yeovil in a comfortable position with the half time break not even having arrived.
At the other end Scott Dobie and Vincent Pericard combined and the former Juventus striker let him through and Alex McCarthy deflected the ball out for a corner. Then a Scott Dobie header was tipped over the bar by McCarthy as Carlisle rallied slightly from their two goal deficit, but there was no doubt as to who had won and dominated the first period. It had taken Carlisle 44 minutes to have any attempt on goal of note and that was the measure of the balance of play.
It was inevitable that Carlisle would attempt to make a comeback following their first half showing, but the Glovers will have been disappointed that they only managed eight minutes before allowing the Cumbrians a route back into the game. Terrell Forbes made an unnecessarily rash challenge on Scott Dobie and the end result was a stick-on penalty, which Ian Harte duly converted. With Yeovil now looking nervy and sitting deep, they needed to recompose themselves badly.
Catalyst for everything, Ryan Mason, did just that when he broke on the Carlisle back line yet again, forcing Pidgeley into an excellent save. But Carlisle had the upper hand with Alex McCarthy making a brave block at the feet of Scott Dobie. The second half became a game of cat'n'mouse - Carlisle with the territory and the pressure, but Yeovil with the pace to try and catch them on the break, and the game always looked like it had another goal in it - with 3-1 or 2-2 both having equal possibilities.
In the final 10 minutes, Carlisle switched to a 3-4-3 via a substitution in an effort to make their pressure count. Yeovil made their own change with Keiran Murtagh replacing Scott Murray and it was Yeovil's substitution that won out, with Murtagh scoring with his first touch. Sam Williams thread the ball through to Andy Welsh and the left winger once again provided the assist by putting the ball across the face of the box allowing Murtagh to finish from two yards out for the easiest of finishes. 3-1 and now after all their pressure no way back for Carlisle.
The win pushes Yeovil up to the dizzy heights of 14th, four points from the playoffs and four points from the relegation spots. Although only a blind optimist would suggest that the former should be Yeovil's immediate focus, it is the cushion they now have against the bottom four positions that will be a big positive out of today. With Bristol Rovers, Leeds United and Charlton Athletic included in Yeovil's next four fixtures, they will go into those games with a bit of confidence and a bit of pressure lifted and that can be no bad thing. But there is a long way to go and that shouldn't be forgotten.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 3 Carlisle United 1.
Scorers: Ryan Mason (13 mins, 1-0), Ryan Mason (43 mins, 2-0), Ian Harte (54 mins, 2-1), Keiran Murtagh (87 mins, 3-1)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-1-1)
1. Alex McCarthy
2. Craig Alcock 5. Steven Caulker 6. Terrell Forbes 3. Nathan Jones
16. Scott Murray 21. JP Kalala 25. Shaun MacDonald 11. Andy Welsh
13. Ryan Mason
9. Sam Williams
15. Richard Martin (GK) 7. George O'Callaghan 8. Keiran Murtagh (87 mins for Scott Murray) 18. Andy Lindegaard 23. Danny Hutchins 28. Nathan Smith 30. Craig Davies (76 mins for Ryan Mason)
Carlisle United: (4-4-2)
40. Leonard Pidgeley
14. Ian Harte 21. Richard Keogh 5. Danny Livesey 3. Evan Horwood
7. Joe Anyinsah 12. Tom Taiwo 4. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson 10. Matthew Robson
9. Scott Dobie 16. Vincent Pericard
1. Adam Collin (GK) 6. Peter Murphy 15. Gavin Rothery 17. Richard Offiong (82 mins for Evan Horwood) 18. Conor Tinnion 24. Kevan Hurst (69 mins for Joe Anyinsah) 30. Ryan Bowman
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Carlisle Bookings: Danny Livesey (41 mins, dissent), Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (62 mins, foul), Richard Offiong (90 mins, foul).
Referee: Fred Graham (Essex).
Attendance: 4,333 (including 235 Carlisle fans)
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