Yeovil Town gained a home draw with second placed Charlton Athletic this afternoon at Huish Park, as the visitors battled back from a goal down whilst a man down. Jonathan Obika's opening goal just before the break was scored 15 minutes after the Addicks had Sam Sodje dismissed for a professional foul on Ryan Mason, leaving Charlton down to 10 men for the final 60 minutes. But amidst strong wind and driving rain, the visitors took maximum advantage of the conditions, with a long range drive from substitute Akpo Sodje, and in the end the Addicks looked the more likely team to force a winning goal, with goalkeeper Alex McCarthy being forced into a string of saves in monsoon conditions.
Yeovil started the game playing with the wind and towards the Copse End of the stadium. They created a few early chances, with Ryan Mason instrumental in most of Yeovil's attacking play. His drive across the face of Carl Ikeme's goal forced the visiting goalkeeper into a save, but Scott Murray could only fire the rebound into the side netting. The same two players fired wide of the target, with Charlton struggling to find a route through on goal.
On the half hour mark though, it was a spot of deja vu as for the second week running the visitors were reduced to 10 men. Scott Murray thread Ryan Mason through the back of the Charlton defence, and defender Sam Sodje - once a Glovers trialist - was the last man, and as soon as he missed his tackle, it was obvious what the end result was going to be. Once again Yeovil would be up against a team playing with just 10 men for the last 60 minutes.
Charlton immediately reshuffled, taking off striker David Mooney, with the end result being a 4-4-1, and they created their best chance of the half when a set piece was put into the box and Therry Racon forced Alex McCarthy into his one and only save of the first half.
One minute from the break, and with torrential rain coming down onto the pitch, Charlton saw the effect that the elements could have on the game, when a clearance held up in the wind. Ryan Mason was the first player to react to the ball whipping back, and he fed Jonathan Obika, who calmly slotted home to put Yeovil 1-0 up at half time and for a lead that their play largely deserved.
The second period saw Charlton bring another Sodje into the play, with Akpo being introduced as an attacking midfielder to support lone striker Deon Burton, and he almost reaped dividends when he landed the ball in the back of the net from a Miguel Angel Llera free kick that Glovers keeper Alex McCarthy could only parry, but a linesman's flag rescued Yeovil, and Sodje's celebrations were in vain.
But that should have rung alarm bells in the Yeovil back line as the atrocious conditions were now in Charlton's favour. What they could have done about Akpo Sodje's 25 yard screamer, helped by the wind, is questionable. His strike hit the top corner, and a row of Alex McCarthy's would have had trouble in keeping it out.
McCarthy struggled with his next penalty area clearance - the ball looped up and sliced past him and out for a corner as the elements dominated. Then Sodje once again scared the Glovers supporters as his long range strike had to be tipped over the bar by McCarthy. Yeovil badly needed to get their foot on the ball and calm things down, and Andy Welsh once again became the sacrificial lamb as the Glovers introduced Dean Bowditch into the game as a left winger to try and brighten things up at the other end - if the wind would allow them to get that far up the field. Terrell Forbes also came on to bolster the defence, as Scott Murray also withdrew on the opposite flank.
Grant Basey forced Alex McCarthy into a fingertip save for a corner after Danny Hutchins had handled and landed in the book for the offence. Then Lloyd Sam and Akpo Sodje were both denied by goalline clearances, with Stefan Stam in the right position as Charlton belied their position as the team with 10 men.
Such was the dominance of the elements, it took Yeovil 35 minutes to gain their first corner of the game. At the other end, Grant Basey forced Alex McCarthy to tip the ball onto his own crossbar as the Charlton player threatened to score direct from a corner. The Glovers occasionally threatened to mastermind their own breakaway in the closing minutes as Charlton pushed men forward, largely leaving only two men at the back, but on the whole a draw was the fair result in the end.
A classic game of two halves, with the elements more dominant than either side could ever be. At half time, with a goal to the good and a man up, Yeovil might be a bit disappointed to not secure all three points. But it would be easy to under-estimate the impact the wind and rain had on the game, and a point against a side in second place in the table is no disgrace.
Link: Latest 2009-10 League One Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Charlton Athletic 1.
Scorers: Jonathan Obika (44 mins, 1-0), Akpo Sodje (56 mins, 1-1)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1)
1. Alex McCarthy
2. Craig Alcock 4. Stefan Stam 5. Steven Caulker 23. Danny Hutchins
16. Scott Murray 25. Shaun MacDonald 21. Jean-Paul Kalala 11. Andy Welsh
13. Ryan Mason
26. Jonathan Obika
15. Richard Martin (GK) 6. Terrell Forbes (69 mins for Scott Murray) 7. George O'Callaghan 9. Sam Williams 10. Gavin Tomlin 14. Dean Bowditch (60 mins for Andy Welsh) 28. Nathan Smith (for Danny Hutchins)
24. Carl Ikeme
3. Kelly Youga 35. Christian Dailly 18. Sam Sodje 12. Grant Basey
11. Lloyd Sam 4. Nicky Bailey 6. Jose Vitor Semedo 8. Therry Racon
23. David Mooney 10. Deon Burton
25. Darren Randolph (GK) 7. Jonjo Shelvey 5. Miguel Angel Llera 14. Matthew Spring 16. Scott Wagstaff 31. Elliot Omozusi 33. Akpo Sodje (46 mins for Therry Racon)
Yeovil Bookings: Stefan Stam (46 mins, foul), Danny Hutchins (72 mins, handball)
Charlton Bookings: Jose Vitor Semedo (33 mins, foul), Kelly Youga (79 mins, foul). Red Card: Sam Sodje (29 mins, professional foul).
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire). Assistants: Ashley Slaughter (Sussex) and Lee Swabey (Devon). Fourth Official: Neil Radford (Worcestershire).
Attendance: 5,632 (including 1,370 Charlton fans)
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