Two second half goals from Andy Williams helped Yeovil Town on their way to a thrilling turnaround against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park tonight. Coming from a goal down at half time scored by Stuart Beavon, three goals in 14 minutes saw the match turned on its head, as Williams added his 8th and 9th of the season, whilst Kieran Agard put the Glovers in a commanding position after he came on as a substitute. One of the home side's substitutes Joel Grant also found the net 11 minutes from time, but the Glovers held on to a deserved 3-2 win that gives them a four point cushion on the relegation spots, and lifts them into 18th place in the League One table.
Gary Johnson made two enforced team changes for the match, with Ryan Dickson's return to Southampton, and subsequent loan out to Leyton Orient, putting him back to square one on the problematic left-back slot. Nathan Jones was given the nod over Curtis Haynes-Brown, partly because the latter had been ill over the weekend. On the right wing, Joe Edwards had still not recovered from an injury he had been carrying through the Sheffield Wednesday match 10 days ago, and so he sat out the match with Reading teenager Lawson D'Ath getting his Football League debut.
The Glovers opened up in a promising manner, with a number of attempts put wide of the target, putting their hosts under territorial pressure, even if they failed to test Nikki Bull in the Wanderers goal. Having put in plenty of crosses, and some slightly wayward shots, it was at the other end that the eventual incisive action happened. Matty Whichelow almost forced Nathan Jones to turn the ball into his own net when the left-back got his bearings horribly wrong - Sam Walker reacting in time to stop the ball going into the net despite some rather optimistic appeals from Wycombe players that the ball had crossed the line. Under a minute later though, it certainly did cross the line - Richard Hinds at fault when he lost his marker, allowing Whichelow a chance to square the ball to former Weymouth striker Stuart Beavon who had plenty of space to convert past Sam Walker. 1-0 down, and slightly against the run of play.
Not a lot more can be said of the first period. Again the Glovers put in plenty of crosses, and plenty of long distance shots, but there wasn't an awful lot that truly threatened the goal - things were being done more with optimistic intent than by any great danger of Yeovil equalising. A half time check on the PA Match Statistics showed the Glovers had 56% possession, yet only one shot on target - the opinion was that came from a free kick that smashed into the Wycombe wall. Certainly nothing that Nikki Bull had to deal with, apart from the ball landing in the net right on the stroke of half time long after an offside flag had made that attempt irrelevant.
The second period threatened more of the same until a mad 14 minute period saw Yeovil turn the game on its head. Wycombe had actually been threatening more consistently than they had done during the first half, but they succumbed to a period of play that saw a Gavin Williams shot parried out by Nikki Bull, and when the home side failed to clear their lines, Jonathan Obika screwed a low ball from the right flank across the face of goal, allowing Andy Williams open sight of the net from six yards out on the back stick.
With the equalising goal under their belts, Yeovil enjoyed a real purple patch in the game, putting Wycombe back on their heels repeatedly for a 15-20 minute period that saw them concede twice more. Once again Andy Williams was their tormentor-in-chief. His weaving run into the box saw a shot across the face of goal through a crowd of players, and with attempts by Glovers players in the pack to divert the ball home, that was enough to put off Nikki Bull, and instead the ball carried on its way into the net off the inside of the far goalpost.
Wycombe's defence were falling apart, and it was little surprise when they conceded again - Ed Upson had been fouled by Dave Winfield on the corner of the box. Upson's response was to flight in a textbook free kick, that was coupled by a textbook header by Kieran Agard, who the home defence seemed to have forgotten to mark. 3-1 up with 17 minutes to go, and three points seemed in the bag.
There was one last twist as Chairboys boss Gary Waddock pressed the gamble button, making a triple substitution immediately after Agard's goal, and that produced quick dividends. Perhaps the Glovers were guilty of forgetting that football could be played in the other half of the football pitch - Matt Bloomfield set up Joel Grant on the counter-attack, and the stretched Yeovil defence couldn't stop him from finishing well, to pull the game back to 3-2.
To Yeovil's credit, a month or two ago that would have been the signal for them to camp ten players on their own goal line and defend deep to hang on to the advantage. Instead they continued to stretch Wycombe, with Andy Williams producing a masterclass performance in how to hold onto possession, often running the ball into the corner flag and forcing corners and throw-ins. The game was also being kept 'interesting' by the antics of referee Trevor Kettle, who somehow conjured up eight yellow cards in a match that had few bad fouls. His decision to penalise Jonathan Obika when home defender Louis Laing crashed through the back of him was truly jaw-dropping. Kettle served up five minutes of listed additional time, turned into seven minutes - all during a half in which the physios rarely entered the field of play.
Still, alls well that ends well, and despite Mr Kettle doing his best to conjure up late drama, it didn't happen, and Yeovil secured three priceless points - in doing so sending Wycombe back into the bottom four of the League One table, and giving them a vital four point cushion on tonight's rivals. There's still 16 games left for there to be further twists'n'turns, but a month or two ago it would have been the Glovers who would have been more likely to have crumbled under pressure tonight. There is a very different mentality that Gary Johnson has put into his players - even though he is only six games into his second spell as manager.
Link: 2011-12 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Wycombe Wanderers 2 Yeovil Town 3.
Scorers: Stuart Beavon (15 mins, 1-0), Andy Williams (59 mins, 1-1), Andy Williams (67 mins, 1-2), Kieran Agard (73 mins, 1-3), Joel Grant (79 mins, 2-3)
1. Nikki Bull 3. Louis Laing 5. Dave Winfield 6. Leon Johnson 15. Grant Basey 7. Gareth Ainsworth 10. Matt Bloomfield 34. Anthony McNamee 11. James Harper 20. Stuart Beavon 24. Matthew Whichelow
2. Danny Foster 12. Ben Strevens (74 mins for Gareth Ainsworth) 17. Joel Grant (74 mins for Anthony McNamee) 18. Stuart Lewis (74 for James Harper) 29. Matt McClure
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Sam Walker
2. Luke Ayling 28. Richard Hinds 4. Bondz N'Gala 3. Nathan Jones
14. Lawson D'Ath 8. Ed Upson 22. Dean Parrett 10. Gavin Williams
7. Andy Williams 29. Jon Obika
24. Gareth Stewart (GK) 6. Dominic Blizzard (90 mins for Lawson D'Ath) 9. Steven MacLean 18. Kieran Agard (65 mins for Gavin Williams) 19. Curtis Haynes-Brown (90 mins for Jonathan Obika)
Wycombe Bookings: Matt Bloomfield (foul, 31 mins), Grant Basey (foul, 45 mins), Dave Winfield (foul, 72 mins), Ben Strevens (foul, 90 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Gavin Williams (foul, 35 mins), Kieran Agard (excessive celebration, 73 mins), Dean Parrett (foul, 84 mins), Jonathan Obika (failing to retreat on free kick, 87 mins)
Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland). Assistants: Guy Stretton (Buckinghamshire) and Timothy Wood (Gloucestershire). Fourth Official: John Scott (Buckinghamshire).
Attendance: 3,529 (including 260 Yeovil fans)
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