Yeovil Town's best ever run in the Football League Trophy came to a disappointing end tonight, as they succumbed to a late goal that saw hosts Leyton Orient win through to the Area Finals. In a tight match that could have swung either way, it was David Mooney's 90th minute diving header that divided the two sides, giving Orient a two-legged match against Southend United in the next round. The Glovers failed to take advantage of the extra man they had when Anthony Griffith picked up two quick yellow cards, with Orient still strong enough in the final 15 minutes they played with ten men, to make Mooney's goal count.
The Glovers went into the game making just one enforced change to their starting line-up as Sam Foley moved back into the first eleven, displacing Paddy Madden who was cup-tied, having already played for Carlisle United earlier in the competition. On the bench new signings Kevin Dawson and Matthew Dolan were added to the squad, giving a stronger than recent set of substitutes for Gary Johnson to choose from, with Nathan Ralph also making his comeback from injury - Gozie Ugwu's return to Reading meant that he dropped out, as did Youth Teamer Mitch Brundle.
It was a fairly scrappy first half, with neither club really imposing themselves on the game. Most of the game was played out in the middle third, with both clubs highly familiar with each others tactics, and able to cancel each other out to good effect. What few chances there were saw David Mooney and Lloyd James fire wide. At the other end, Yeovil were slightly sharper in what they created, as Dominic Blizzard picked up a loose ball in the box, after Jamie Jones failed to clear his lines, but the keeper recovered well to turn Blizzard's shot around the post for a corner. Then Jamie McAllister's header from a Gavin Williams right-wing cross was well saved by Jones. Marek Stech had almost nothing to do - Byron Webster's needless slice across his box for a corner, and a Dean Cox cross that the Glovers keeper blocked off from David Mooney were as close as it came in terms of on target stuff for the home side.
Matters had to improve at half time and largely it was Orient who improved, whilst Yeovil didn't. Not that the Glovers were helped by a knee injury to Ed Upson early in the second period that saw him replaced by Matthew Dolan. Moses Odubajo forced Marek Stech into an excellent parried save as they forced Yeovil back into their own half, with very little attacking intent coming from a green'n'white shirt. When it did, it almost came out of nothing as Gavin Williams spotted the Orient keeper off his line and tried to lob him from 45 yards - brilliantly timed and executed, but with Jones well beaten, it just about went past the post.
Although Orient were in the ascendancy, the game still had a stop-start element to it. Aside from Upson's injury, Orient also lost Kevin Lisbie to a hamstring problem. However, with a quarter of an hour to go, it appeared that Yeovil Town had a golden opportunity when two moments of madness from Orient's Anthony Griffith saw the home side a man light for the final part of the game. Having been booked in part for a foul, but largely because of his hissy-fit reaction to the decision, Griffith kicked the ball away three minutes later on another free kick. Referee Darren Sheldrake was a little bit fussy during the game with some of his decisions over free kicks and bookings, but Griffith's actions were ridiculous petulance, and resulted in one of the softest sendings off you'll witness this season.
Sadly, the extra man dominance didn't really change the pattern of the game. The warning signs were there when Marek Stech had to save again from Moses Odubajo during the closing stages. Yeovil's attacking prowess was rather inert throughout the night, and the introduction of Nathan Ralph as a final substitute as a front line striker was an unusual one when it left striker (and a candidate penalty taker) Reuben Reid on the bench. In the main, Yeovil's problem was that they frequently played the ball too long, and without the running of Paddy Madden, or the option of Reid's physicality, Orient looked a bit too comfortable in mopping it all up.
Just when it seemed that penalties were looming, Scott Cuthbert's burst down the right wing produced a brilliantly angled cross into the box, and the in-form David Mooney was on hand to plant a superb diving header past Marek Stech and into the bottom left hand corner to silence the away stand for the first time in 90 minutes, and put Orient on the edge of an Area Final place.
Sadly that was the way that it stayed, despite six minutes of injury time being signalled, and later extended to eight due to Mooney's excessive goal celebration. Lee Cook almost doubled their lead in quick succession as he caught Yeovil on the break, smashing a shot against the crossbar. Despite Marek Stech twice going up field to join attacks during set pieces, and Dan Burn and Byron Webster also playing as roaming strikers, that was all too little too late, and the Glovers were out of the JPT. Based on the second half balance of play, there couldn't be too many arguments about that, with 1-0 in a tight match being a pretty accurate reflection of the match.
Final Score: Leyton Orient 1 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: David Mooney (1-0, 90 mins)
1. Jamie Jones
17. Moses Odubajo 5. Scott Cuthbert 4. Ben Chorley 3. Gary Sawyer
8. Anthony Griffith 23. Lloyd James 6. Mathieu Baudry 7. Dean Cox
9. Kevin Lisbie 39. Dave Mooney
2. Leon McSweeney 10. Michael Symes (61 mins for Kevin Lisbie) 11. Jimmy Smith 16. Ryan Allsop 21. Lee Cook (74 mins for Gary Sawyer)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Marek Stech
2. Luke Ayling 5. Byron Webster 4. Richard Hinds 18. Daniel Burn
10. Gavin Williams 8. Ed Upson 6. Dominic Blizzard 3. Jamie McAllister
9. James Hayter 14. Sam Foley
12. Gareth Stewart 11. Reuben Reid 16. Nathan Ralph (78 mins for Gavin Williams) 22. Kevin Dawson (74 mins for Sam Foley) 19. Matthew Dolan (49 mins for Ed Upson)
Orient Bookings: Anthony Griffith (73 mins, foul/dissent), Moses Odubajo (foul, 84 mins), David Mooney (excessive celebration, 90 mins). Red Card: Anthony Griffith (second bookable offence, 76 mins).
Yeovil Bookings: Byron Webster (dissent, 85 mins).
Leyton Orient Match Statistics: Possession: 48%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 7; Fouls: 12.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 52%; Shots: 10; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 3; Fouls: 12.
Referee: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey). Assistants: John Farries (Oxfordshire) and Craig Hicks (Surrey). Fourth Official: Stephen Daly (Middlesex).
Attendance: 2,755 (including 815 Yeovil supporters).
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