Yeovil Town recorded their fourth win in five matches, and their sixth in the last nine games under Gary Johnson, as they continued their climb away from the relegation zone tonight. Their 1-0 win over promotion-chasing Milton Keynes Dons was at times ragged, chaotic and scrappy, but was capped by a 40th minute Gavin Williams winner, after his deflected shot found the net with the Glovers only shot on goal all game.
Playing the second half with only ten men after the dismissal of Dean Parrett just before the break, it was backs against the wall, and they had Sam Walker to thank for a penalty save from former Glover Dean Bowditch as the Dons spurned chance after chance. The home side lost their composure in the final minute as Stephen Gleeson was dismissed for violent conduct as Yeovil ran down the clock for the win.
The Glovers went into the match making a number of changes to the side that had won 2-1 against Brentford. The initial change was forced and no surprise, with Nathan Jones replaced by Richard Hinds at the back, with Jonathan Grounds taking the left-back slot whilst Hinds came into the centre. However, the midfield places were significantly reorganised, with Lawson D'Ath coming in for Jonathan Franks on the wing, whilst Ed Upson took an additional five man slot in midfield in a 4-5-1, with Jonathan Obika sitting out the match as the 'sixth loan'.
With only one man up front, the tone of the game was set fairly early on in the match. The home side held the lion's share of the possession, whilst Yeovil planned to use the pace of Andy Williams as an outlet to break on their opponents. Early chances for Adam Chicksen, Jay O'Shea and Luke Chadwick threatened for the home side, although those attempts either headed wide of the target, or were tame efforts that Sam Walker easily smothered.
The Dons had a big warning of the threat that Andy Williams could pose when they made a hash of a backpass, which the striker nearly seized upon, with a rather nervous looking David Martin, in the home side's goal, just about getting his boot on the ball in time. Five minutes before the break, and outrageously against the run of play, the striker's running sparked the opening goal of the game. His inside pass to Lawson D'Ath saw the Reading loanee slice his attempt to shoot on goal, but the ball deflected into the path of Gavin Williams, who fired home from a narrow angle, squeezing the ball home at Martin's near post.
Just before the break, there was to be a twist to the half, as Dean Parrett received his marching orders. Dons defender Shaun Williams had gone down clutching his leg, and although referee Dean Mohareb didn't blow for any offence, when play was stopped, he showed the Tottenham loanee a yellow, followed by a red, with Parrett apparently having picked up a caution for a similar offence 15 minutes earlier. Down to ten men meant that Yeovil didn't have to reshuffle too much - 4-5-1 became 4-4-1 without change, but it was guaranteed to make the second period a damn sight harder.
The second half presented more of the same, only at a greater intensity. Paul Huntington won every header that came his way when the home side tried to stick crosses into the box, whilst the entire back four, and some of the midfielders were prepared to put their bodies on the line to block attempts. One such block was deemed illegal - Dean Bowditch put a ball across the penalty area and it was blocked by the arm of Luke Ayling, and referee Dean Mohareb pointed to the spot. However, any hopes Bowditch might have had of scoring against his former club were dashed when his spot kick was superbly saved by Sam Walker as he went to his left, blocking the ball, and then smothering it at the second attempt.
Somehow at this point it just looked like it might be Yeovil's day, despite referee Dean Mohareb seemingly plotting against them with some awful decisions throughout the second half - notably his refusal to award Yeovil their own spot kick when Andy Williams was fouled inside the box. At the other end, the Dons were getting a touch desperate with the likes of former Premier League star Alan Smith ballooned a chance dead centre in the penalty box high over the bar, whilst Daniel Powell did the same five minutes later. Elsewhere defensive blocks or reflex saves from Sam Walker denied them even when they did get something on target.
As time ran out, so did the home side's discipline. Yeovil had been intelligently running the ball into the corners during the closing stages. After the ball had gone out of play close to the corner flag, midfielder Stephen Gleeson lost his rag, stamping his boot down on Andy Williams foot. Even though Gleeson then went down clutching his head, referee Dean Mohareb wasn't fooled, and produced his second red card of the night, taking the wind out of the Dons' sails, and ending their chances of grabbing a late goal.
The win puts Yeovil five points clear of the drop zone, remaining in 17th place in the League One table. On 39 points, they still need in the region of four more wins to preserve their safety at this level, and with Scunthorpe, Walsall and Wycombe all winning, Exeter City slip into the bottom four, whilst the likes of Preston North End, Bury and Leyton Orient can no longer count themselves as part of the set of teams in midtable safety.
Link: 2011-12 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Milton Keynes Dons 0 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorer: Gavin Williams (0-1, 40 mins)
Milton Keynes Dons: (4-2-3-1)
1. David Martin
12. Adam Chicksen 4. Mathias Doumbe 13. Shaun Williams 3. Dean Lewington
11. Alan Smith 7. Stephen Gleeson
23. James O'Shea 26. Luke Chadwick 17. Daniel Powell
9. Dean Bowditch
16. Ian McLoughlin (GK) 15. Tom Flanagan 19. Jabo Ibehre (54 mins for Luke Chadwick) 35. George Williams (75 mins for Adam Chicksen) 14. Paul Slane (85 mins for Daniel Powell)
Yeovil Town: (4-5-1)
1. Sam Walker
2. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 28. Richard Hinds 17. Jonathan Grounds
14. Lawson D'Ath 8. Ed Upson 6. Dominic Blizzard 22. Dean Parrett 10. Gavin Williams
7. Andy Williams
24. Gareth Stewart (GK) 4. Bondz N'Gala 16. Jonathan Franks (61 mins for Lawson D'Ath) 12. Michael Woods 19. Curtis Haynes-Brown
MK Dons Bookings: James O'Shea (48 mins, foul), Dean Lewington (90 mins, off the ball incident). Red Card: Stephen Gleeson (90 mins, violent conduct)
Yeovil Bookings: Dean Parrett (33 mins, foul), Luke Ayling (65 mins, handball), Ed Upson (76 mins, off the ball incident). Red Card: Dean Parrett (45 mins, second bookable offence).
Referee: Dean Mohareb (Cheshire). Assistants: Michael George (Norfolk) and Nick Hobbis (Birmingham). Fourth Official: Barry Holderness (Essex).
Attendance: 6,624 (including 223 Yeovil supporters).
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