Yeovil Town picked up their first three points of the 2014-15 season, as their campaign finally steered in the right direction. After three opening defeats, and a lot of soul searching, it was two of the old guard that gave them all three points, with Kevin Dawson's 56th minute cross setting up James Hayter for a back post header to put the Glovers ahead. The Saddlers equalised thanks to Tom Bradshaw's conversion in a crowded penalty box, but a minute later a Nathan Smith ball found Dawson and he converted to move the Glovers out of the relegation zone and into 19th place.
The Glovers made two changes to the line-up that had been fielded against Gillingham. James Hayter replaced Kieffer Moore up front, whilst Sam Foley gave Nathan Ralph's tired legs a rest after the former Peterborough player had shown signs of cramping up on the weekend. Otherwise the only other change was a six man bench, with Matteo Lanzoni dropping entirely out of the squad.
It was an end-to-end first half, with both sides having plenty of chances to open the scoring, but in reality being guilty of firing wide of the target. Yeovil played the better football, but the Saddlers had the better chances, notably in the closing stages when an Andy Taylor free kick went just wide, followed by Romaine Sawyers breaking the offside trap only to scuff a weak shot wide of the target. Yeovil's best chance came as a 'nearly' moment, with Nathan Smith's left-wing cross fizzling across the six yard line and just missing the boot of AJ Leitch-Smith.
In the second period though, the Glovers got the breakthrough they needed. Simon Gillett was the architect of the build-up, but it was Kevin Dawson's cross that was met by a classic James Hayter header, directing the ball perfectly into the back of the net to put Yeovil 1-0 up, after 56 minutes.
Walsall reacted well to that setback and gradually began to build up their own head of steam, leading to the Yeovil back line having their weakest period of the game as they struggled to clear their lines. The Saddlers equaliser was typical of the way the previous ten minutes had been - a corner that wasn't cleared, and was recycled into the box, with Tom Bradshaw knocking the ball home from close range for the equalising goal.
The home side had barely finished celebrating before falling behind again. Just 89 seconds lay between Bradshaw's goal and Yeovil's second of the night, with Nathan Smith's left-sided play proving to be their undoing. His ball found Kevin Dawson who shot from close range. The ball appeared to strike AJ Leitch-Smith after the ball went over the line, leading to Walsall claims for a handball, but they were in vain, with the Irishman being awarded the goal.
A number of late bookings, and referee Jeremy Simpson's decision to conjure up six minutes of second half injury time kept people on the edge of their seats right up until the end, but all three points went to Yeovil Town - very necessary to ease some of the nerves going around Huish Park over the past week or so at the club's start to the season. Victory at least gives them a platform - and a possible starting eleven to bring a bit of stability for the next game or two - even if there must be a bit of concern at the fact that four games into the season the club were down to their last seventeen available players tonight.
Link: 2014-15 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Walsall 1 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: James Hayter (0-1, 56 mins), Tom Bradshaw (1-1, 72 mins), Kevin Dawson (1-2, 73 mins)
Yeovil Town (4-4-2):
1. Chris Weale,
6. Jakub Sokolik, 5. Aaron Martin, 20. Ben Nugent, 3. Nathan Smith
7. Kevin Dawson 4. Joe Edwards, 23. Simon Gillett, 11. Sam Foley
10 AJ Leitch-Smith, 9. James Hayter.
12. Artur Krysiak, 2. Brendan Moloney 13. Kieffer Moore 16. Nathan Ralph (90 mins for Sam Foley) 14. Sam Hoskins (81 mins for Kevin Dawson), 21, Calvin Brooks
1. Richard O'Donnell
22. Liam Kinsella 6. Paul Downing 5. Dean Holden 3. Andy Taylor
26. Billy Clifford 7. Adam Chambers 24. Ashley Grimes 10. Romaine Sawyers
14. Malvind Benning 9. Tom Bradshaw
27. Anthony Forde (63 mins for Malvind Benning) 11. James Baxendale 13. Craig MacGillivray 17. Reece Flanagan 18. Kieron Morris (77 mins for Billy Clifford) 20. Amadou Bakayoko (83 mins for Romaine Sawyers) 28. Kyle Rowley
Walsall Bookings: Liam Kinsella (55 mins, foul), Ashley Grimes (60 mins, ungentlemanly conduct)
Yeovil Bookings: Jakub Sokolik (65 mins, foul), Nathan Smith (78 mins, timewasting), Sam Foley (86 mins, foul), Ben Nugent (90 mins, foul)
Walsall Match Statistics: Possession: 58%; Shots: 16; Shots On Target: 3; Corners: 5; Fouls: 5.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 42%; Shots: 8; Shots On Target: 3; Corners: 5; Fouls: 17.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire). Assistant Referees: Adam Matthews (Gloucestershire) and Steven Plane (Worcestershire). Fourth Official: Robert Merchant (Staffordshire).
Attendance: 3,758 (including 186 Yeovil supporters).
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