Yeovil Town crashed out of the FA Cup tonight at the hands of Hartlepool United, after throwing away a two goal lead. The Glovers had taken a shock two goal first half lead through goals from Andy Williams and Ed Upson, but two goals from set pieces saw Antony Sweeney net both times to square things up at the break. Early second half goals came via a Ritchie Humphreys thumper and Sweeney's hat-trick goal, and it was goodnight to the FA Cup with Pools deservedly going through.
The Glovers went into the match without both first choice centre-backs, as Adam Virgo and Paul Huntington dropped out through injury. Nathan Jones was suspended, whilst Ivan Sproule was denied permission to play in the match at Victoria Park. Youth teamers Josh Doile and Rob Clowes filled a thin looking bench.
The first period took a while to warm up with anything of consequence, but when it did, it did so with a flourish of goals, with three being scored across a nine minute period. But it was Yeovil who took a shock lead in the game. Pools pair Joe Gamble and Antony Sweeney collided in their own half, and Andy Welsh took advantage, putting the ball into the box and finding Ed Upson. His shot was parried by Jake Kean, Dean Bowditch found his rebound shot blocked, but then Andy Williams made it third time lucky as he shot the loose ball into the net.
The Glovers doubled their lead on the half hour mark, as Andy Welsh found Dean Bowditch, and his ball into the box saw Ed Upson getting into space, and the former Ipswich Town man bagged his first goal for the Glovers, as he shot in off the post to put his side 2-0 up.
This kind of a start was beyond Yeovil's wildest dreams, but they came crashing down, as the predictable feature of Yeovil's season - being unable to defend from set pieces - came back to haunt them. Just four minutes after Upson's goal, a Pools free kick was headed across goal by Gary Liddle, and Antony Sweeney was on hand to pull the game back to 2-1.
Just five minutes later, and Hartlepool's comeback was complete, via another free kick. Sam Collins headed the ball down, and once again Antony Sweeney was left unmarked, for a morale-sapping 2-2 scoreline. The Glovers had played generally well during the first period, albeit without great domination, but yet again, switching off at set pieces had cost them.
Into the second period, and what was bad, very quickly got worse. It took just four minutes of the second period for Hartlepool to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 advantage. Antony Sweeney got a left wing cross into the box, and Ritchie Humphreys struck a brilliant goal first time and into the back of the net. Great goal, but once again poor marking.
The killer goal came on the hour mark, as Anthony Sweeney grabbed his hat-trick goal, and once again it came from sloppy defending. A sliced clearance by a Yeovil defender from a Ritchie Humphreys header saw the ball fall straight into the path of Sweeney and having had two earlier chances to get his third goal of the evening, he wasn't going to turn down a Christmas gift. 4-2 and pretty much game over.
The Glovers huffed and puffed as Sam Williams, Craig Calver and Billy Gibson were introduced during the second half, but none of them truly changed a game that had slipped away from Yeovil during the phase of play on either side of the break. They did come close to setting up an unexpected finale in the 90th minute as Andy Williams had a shot hacked off the line by a Pools defender, with Calver hitting the rebound wide. But in reality, Pools were cruising a little after they struck their fourth goal, and not too surprisingly Yeovil were demoralised and well beaten by that stage. So no big FA Cup run again this year - but more to the point, a long old slog in the League left to come. Picking the players up from this one and clawing back the six point deficit that is now their one and only focus is going to be one hell of a task.
Final Score : Hartlepool United 4 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Andy Williams (18 mins, 0-1), Ed Upson (31 mins, 0-2), Antony Sweeney (35 mins, 1-2), Antony Sweeney (40 mins, 2-2), Ritchie Humphreys (49 mins, 3-2), Antony Sweeney (59 mins, 4-2)
32. Jake Kean 2. Neil Austin 5. Sam Collins 29. Peter Hartley 6. Evan Horwood 7. Leon McSweeney 15. Antony Sweeney 8. Joe Gamble 4. Gary Liddle 11. Andy Monkhouse 3. Ritchie Humphreys
10. Adam Boyd (71 mins for Ritchie Humphreys) 12. Fabian Yantorno (79 mins for Leon McSweeney) 14. James Brown 16. Steven Haslam (63 mins for Joe Gamble) 20. Paul Murray 22. Armann Bjornsson 23. Colin Larkin
Yeovil Town: (4-5-1)
1. John Sullivan
2. Craig Alcock 12. Tom Parkes 8. Luke Ayling 3. Nathan Jones
7. Andrew Williams 21. JP Kalala 25. Shaun MacDonald 16. Ed Upson 11. Andy Welsh
10. Dean Bowditch
22. Ben Roberts (GK) 4. Stefan Stam 9. Sam Williams (54 mins for Andy Welsh) 17. Craig Calver (71 mins for Shaun MacDonald) 23. Billy Gibson (84 mins for Dean Bowditch) 27. Rob Clowes 28. Josh Doile
Yeovil Bookings: Tom Parkes (foul, 74 mins), Andy Williams (foul, 88 mins)
Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire). Assistants: Jason Knowles (West Yorkshire) and Philip Dermott (Cheshire). Fourth Official: Martin Coy (Durham).
Attendance: 1,914 (including 42 Yeovil supporters)
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