Yeovil Town went down to their first defeat in six matches tonight, as they lost 3-0 to Champions Elect Charlton Athletic. In a game in which the Glovers looked a little off their usual pace, Dany N'Guessan's early goal left them with problems right from the start, and despite Lawson D'Ath hitting the woodwork during the second period, a Bradley Wright-Phillips header, and a last minute Darel Russell goal ensured that the Addicks remained nine points clear at the top of the league, whilst the Glovers still need a win or two to ensure their own League One status.
Team news saw one change in the starting line-up, combined with a bit of tactical reshuffling, as Jonathan Obika was left out of the squad as the club's sixth loan player. Dean Parrett came back into the starting eleven, as he formed part of a five man midfield, using pretty much the same tactics that were employed for another Tuesday night match against a top six side, where the Glovers had previously gained a win against Milton Keynes Dons. On the bench, Lawson D'Ath came into the squad, but apart from that, and the 4-5-1 formation, things were pretty much as you were. There was a change of match referee, with David Coote a late replacement for Carl Berry - he was to go on to have a tidy uneventful game.
The victory over MK Dons worked because the Glovers blocked up their defence for the entire 90 minutes, and frustrated their opposition by stopping them from getting a sight on goal. However, that relies upon the whole gameplan not being thrown out by an early goal. Step forward then, Dany N'Guessan, signed by Charlton on loan yesterday from Millwall. He apparently has a reputation for scoring on his debut - seven minutes into the game he did just that. It was hard to know whether he meant it - from his left wing position he rifled in a cross-cum-shot into the box. Glovers keeper Sam Walker perhaps had lost his bearings, and chose to leave the attempt, only to find it hitting the inside of the netting on the back post. A horrible start to the game.
Despite that early lead, Charlton never really arrested control of the first half, with the game being played at a curiously slow pace, as the home side allowed Yeovil plenty of possession, but without truly allowing them to get in behind their back four. With just one man up front, Andy Williams struggled at times to get into the game, being marked far better than any MK Dons defenders had managed on his previous spell as a lone striker. Jonathan Franks produced a long range daisy-cutter that was easily collected by former Holyrood School pupil Ben Hamer, whilst Luke Ayling and Williams fired wide.
At the other end, Yann Kermorgant headed just wide of the posts from a Chris Solly set piece, although Dean Parrett easily had the attempt covered as he watched it from his position on the goalpost. The Glovers were less proficient on their own set pieces - one utterly woeful free kick saw two Glovers tap the ball short to each other, only for a third player to fail to read the script, with Charlton's Rhoys Wiggins gleefully robbing them of possession before the ball could be hit with any great anger.
And that was largely how the Glovers looked in the first half - tidy on the ball in midfield, albeit with a lot of the competed passes going sideways - but they had little to offer in the final third. In fairness, Charlton weren't offering much more either. A Gavin Williams free kick curled over the bar three minutes before the break, but that was the last we saw of him in serious action, as he limped off during first half injury time, replaced by Lawson D'Ath in a like-for-like swap. On the plus side, by being only a single goal down, the game was far from being over.
Having made one change just before the break, manager Gary Johnson made a second one at half time. Again this was a straight swap, with Richard Hinds replaced by Bondz N'Gala. The defender was into the action early on; clearing his lines after a ball into the box evaded Sam Walker. Andy Williams scuffed an early attempt wide of the target, and then came Yeovil's first golden opportunity - a set piece that saw two home defenders get in each others way, somewhat fudging their attempt to clear straight into the path of N'Gala. Unfortunately, his low shot was straight into the midriff of Ben Hamer, and easily saved - if only it had dropped to someone like Williams.
That was to prove costly on the hour mark, as the second and crucial goal as scored by the home side. A Rhoys Wiggins set play was skillfully headed back across the face of the box by Yann Kermorgant, and with the Yeovil defence having been dragged towards one post, Bradley Wright-Phillips was on hand to head the ball home, for a 2-0 advantage that was going to be hard to come back from.
Still Yeovil fought well, and they created their best move of the match in the final 15 minutes, as they finally overlapped the Charlton back line. With Luke Ayling overlapping well on the right flank, Jonathan Flanks slipped the ball though to him, and the right-back's cross into the box was flicked towards goal by Lawson D'Ath, with the ball coming off the crossbar and back out.
Not too surprisingly, the Addicks began to wind the clock down after that scare, and really the Glovers only managed one further chance with two minutes remaining, as Andy Williams curled an effort over the bar. And with them pushing numbers up, Yeovil were caught a little bit flat-footed in the final minute of the game, as Rhoys Wiggins received a pass down the flank and delivered the ball into the box, allowing Darel Russell the chance to wrap the game up by converting at the near post.
The final scoreline was perhaps a little flattering on the home side, although there was enough difference in class on the night to show the gap between the two sides in the League One table. Occasionally the pace of the game made it look as though Charlton were playing a little within themselves, whilst the Glovers struggled to create the cast iron chances they've managed to do in recent matches. No disgrace though - it's highly unlikely that Yeovil Town will be travelling back to The Valley for the 2012-13 season.
Link: 2011-12 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Charlton Athletic 3 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Dany N'Guessan (7 mins, 1-0), Bradley Wright-Phillips (60 mins, 2-0), Darel Russell (90 mins, 3-0)
1. Ben Hamer
20. Chris Solly 28. Leon Cort 5. Michael Morrison 16. Rhoys Wiggins
11. Scott Wagstaff 37. Darel Russell 22. Danny Hollands 39. Dany N'Guessan
10. Bradley Wright-Phillips 36. Yann Kermorgant
13. John Sullivan (GK) 6. Matthew Taylor 7. Danny Green (74 mins for Dany N'Guessan) 8. Dale Stephens 18. Bradley Pritchard
Yeovil Town: (4-5-1)
1. Sam Walker
2. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 28. Richard Hinds 17. Jonathan Grounds
16. Jonathan Franks 8. Ed Upson 22. Dean Parrett 6. Dominic Blizzard 10. Gavin Williams
7. Andy Williams
24. Gareth Stewart (GK) 4. Bondz N'Gala (46 mins for Richard Hinds) 12. Michael Woods 14. Lawson D'Ath (45 mins for Gavin Williams) 18. Kieran Agard (69 mins for Dean Parrett)
Charlton Bookings: None.
Yeovil Bookings: Lawson D'Ath (83 mins, foul).
Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire). Assistants: Nigel Lugg (Surrey) and Wade Norcott (Essex). Fourth Official: Ian Cooper (Kent).
Attendance: 13,717 (including 250 Yeovil fans).
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