Yeovil Town came from behind yet again this afternoon at Huish Park, as they beat Walsall 2-1 in win that comes close to removing any doubts of relegation problems for the 2011-12 season. Trailing at the break from a Sam Mantom goal, once again the Glovers were the comeback kids, and once again it was Andy Williams who scored both - even if both goals had a slice of luck to them. Williams deflected in a Jonathan Franks shot, and then hooked a ball in via a Saddlers defender for the winner six minutes from time, lifting the team up to 12th in the League One table - the first time they've been in the top half of the table since August 13th - the second game of the season.
For the third match running, Gary Johnson selected the same starting eleven, choosing to just tweak the bench slightly, swapping Lawson D'Ath for Dean Parrett as the sixth loanees, as D'Ath sat out this time round. The Glovers had the lion's share of the first half. Andy Williams headed wide from a Jonathan Grounds cross into the box, then at the other end Kevan Hurst shot straight at Sam Walker.
But most of the play was coming in through the trio of Obika, Franks and Andy Williams putting pressure on some slightly sluggish Saddlers defenders. Jonathan Franks was the most unlucky not to be on the scoresheet - twice being denied by terrific saves from Saddlers keeper David Grof. Luke Ayling produced a dipping shot from distance that struck the top of the crossbar before going out for a free kick, then Groff saved again from Andy Williams, as the pressure was piled on. Williams was unlucky not to get his side a penalty when he appeared to get a shove in the back by Oliver Lancashire as the ball was cut over the top for him to run onto - one of two good penalty shouts that referee Robert Madley didn't seem to want to take any notice of.
With all this pressure, there was always the risk of the sucker punch, and the Saddlers had shown the odd glimpse that they were capable of doing that, with Emanuel Jorge Ledesma robbing Paul Huntington of possession in his own half, and squaring for Jonathan Macken, with the ball mercifully being cleared. But a minute before the break, more weak defending allowed Walsall in and this time they took advantage, with Sam Mantom easily muscling off the attentions of Jonathan Obika, and when the Saddlers midfielder shot at goal, Sam Walker was too slow to get down and stop the ball slipping into the net close to his post for a soft goal and a shock 0-1 reversal at the break.
If the first half had been largely one-sided, the second half was more end-to-end with Yeovil pushing players further up the field, but with Walsall able to counter-attack as soon as the Glovers lost possession. A demonstration of that was when an Ed Upson corner saw Paul Huntington head over the bar, but less than 60 seconds later, Kevan Hurst was through the Yeovil defence, after a quick one-two, putting his shot over the bar.
Gary Johnson changed things around just before the hour mark, withdrawing Jonathan Obika and Dominic Blizzard and putting on Dean Parrett and also Michael Woods for his debut, changing to a 4-4-1-1 that saw Parrett playing as a deep forward to support Andy Williams. The goal when it came had a huge slice of luck attached to it, as a shot from Jonathan Franks ballooned off the back of Andy Williams and into the back of the net for the striker's 14th goal of the season - not that he knew anything about it at the time.
Game on, although it was initially Walsall who looked the more likely to score, with Yeovil getting the jitters at the back, and Jonathan Macken, Andy Butler and substitute Anton Peterlin all having chances to score. Matters weren't being helped by referee Robert Madley's tendency to stop the game and see things that few people in the crowd were seeing, disrupting the flow of the game.
Finally though, over a two or three minute spell, a sustained bit of Yeovil pressure paid off. Andy Williams broke on a solo run and forced a corner off a blocking defender's leg. Then Dean Parrett went close with David Grof forcing yet another terrific save. From the resultant corner from Gavin Williams, Paul Huntington headed towards goal, and in the right place at the right time, Andy Williams was able to hook the ball over his own head, with the ball taking a deflection off a Walsall defender and into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
There was to be no comeback from Walsall, even if they did push centre-back Andy Butler up as a striker in the closing stages. The four minutes of injury time passed by without incident, giving the Glovers three hugely valuable points against a team that are also battling to beat the drop. The 46 points they've got won't quite be enough to guarantee League One survival, but with a current 12th place and still nine games still to go, is anyone still concerned about the teams below them?
Link: 2011-12 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 2 Walsall 1.
Scorers: Sam Mantom (0-1, 44 mins), Andy Williams (1-1, 63 mins), Andy Williams (2-1, 84 mins)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Sam Walker
2. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 28. Richard Hinds 17. Jonathan Grounds
16. Jonathan Franks 8. Ed Upson 6. Dominic Blizzard 10. Gavin Williams
7. Andy Williams 29. Jonathan Obika
24. Gareth Stewart (GK) 4. Bondz N'Gala 12. Michael Woods (54 mins for Dominic Blizzard) 18. Kieran Agard 22. Dean Parrett (54 mins for Jonathan Obika)
21. David Grof
12. Lee Beevers 5. Oliver Lancashire 4. Andy Butler 3. Mat Sadler
16. Alex Nicholls 27. Sam Mantom 25. Florent Cuvelier 11. Kevan Hurst
10. Jonathan Macken 28. Emanuel Jorge Ledesma
1. Jimmy Walker (GK) 6. Emmanuele Smith 15. Jamie Paterson (60 mins for Kevan Hurst) 17. George Bowerman (86 mins for Jonathan Macken) 19. Anton Peterlin (64 mins for Emanuel Jorge Ledesma)
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Walsall Bookings: Kevan Hurst (57 mins, dissent)
Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire). Assistants: Justin Amey (Dorset) and William Bull (Hampshire). Fourth Official: Adrian Tranter (Dorset).
Attendance: 3,705 (including 208 Walsall fans)
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