Yeovil Town headed out of the Football League Trophy tonight, as they lost 3-2 against League Two leaders Oxford United. The home side held a slight edge during the first period, with a long range strike from Jordan Evans and a shot inside the box from Callum O'Dowda giving them a single goal lead. In between Wes Fogden had finished off an excellent team move for an equaliser, but during the second period Oxford took over the show, with Chris Maguire's well hit shot giving the home side a two goal cushion, that they often looked like extending. Shaun Jeffers got an ultra-late 94th minute consolation goal - too late to stop them heading out of the tournament, with Oxford meeting Millwall in the Area final.
The Glovers went into the match making three changes to their starting line-up, with all three representing a chance to rotate the squad. A 4-5-1 formation saw both Ryan Bird and Shaun Jeffers drop to the bench, whilst Francois Zoko played the lone man up front. Ryan Dickson also withdrew, allowing Wes Fogden and Ben Tozer to be recalled to the starting line-up. Oxford, who had only played in the FA Cup on Sunday against Forest Green, chose to drop eight of the starting eleven who played in that match, and bringing in close to a new team for the game.
The home side took the lead in the match with pretty much the first serious action of the game. Left-back Jordan Evans picked up the ball around 30 yards out, and he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the back of the net to give the home side a stunning 1-0 lead with less than five minutes on the clock. Given how dominant Oxford were in the August League Two match against Yeovil that could have easily set the scene, but Yeovil gave a reasonable account of themselves during the first period, albeit without creating too many chances - a Harry Cornick effort went wide of the target 15 minutes in.
Oxford had periods of the game where they dominated possession to an extreme, and Yeovil had to be careful when they got the ball back to make sure they didn't just play it straight back to them. Gradually though, they did manage to even out the game a bit, and Yeovil found an equalising goal in the run-up to half time, with their first shot on target of the half. Strong work in midfield from Josh Sheehan and Ben Tozer saw the latter feed Wes Fogden, when he could have easily taken the ball on himself. Fogden's shot from the edge of the box was the perfect tonic to cap a fine team goal, in which the home side had been carved open straight down the middle.
Unfortunately the momentum from Yeovil didn't last too long, with a defensive error giving Oxford the lead within five minutes. Josh Ruffels put a cross into the box from the left wing, but with Nathan Smith losing his marker in the box, Callum O'Dowda had time to control the ball and fire home for a 2-1 lead, just three minutes before the break. With Danny Hylton breaking through straight after that, but being denied by Chris Weale in a one-v-one, there was just the possibility that Oxford had been playing within themselves before Yeovil's equaliser woke them up - they probably just about deserved the advantage at the break.
The second period was a rather more one-sided affair. Oxford took the game by the scruff of the neck early on and had big penalty appeals turned down when Jakub Sokolik lost possession and had to make a last ditch challenge inside the box to try to thwart Chris Maguire's run. Had referee Keith Stroud seen that as illegal, then it would have been a clear red card as the 'last man' but nothing was given. Maguire was riled enough to pick up a yellow card, but he exacted revenge minutes later when he cut inside and shot from the edge of the box for a 3-1 lead, with the ball heading low into the back of the net.
From there-on, the home side were the ones mainly looking likely to extend that advantage, with Yeovil showing little forward creativity, and a few players putting in leggy second half performances. Chris Weale saved well from another Maguire chance, and then Oxford went close through the same player after Callum O'Dowda had an initial shot blocked by a defender. However, in the dying seconds of four minutes of injury time, the Glovers did get a consolation goal, as Francois Zoko's pass found Shaun Jeffers, who managed to score his second goal of the 2015-16 season, and to pull the game back to 3-2. A little too late for any more drama in the game, and in any case an equaliser would probably have defied the balance of a second half in which Oxford were worthy winners.
Final Score: Oxford United 3 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Jordan Evans (1-0, 5 mins), Wes Fogden (1-1, 37 mins), Callum O'Dowda (2-1, 42 mins), Chris Maguire (3-1, 54 mins), Shaun Jeffers (3-2, 90 mins)
1. Sam Slocombe 22. Sam Long 33. Cheyenne Dunkley 6. Jake Wright 14. Josh Ruffels 36. Jordan Evans 15. Callum O'Dowda 18. John Lundstram 28. Chris Maguire 11. Alex MacDonald 10. Danny Hylton
4. Kemar Roofe 5. Johnny Mullins 8. Liam Sercombe (85 mins for John Lundstram) 9. Pat Hoban (77 mins for Chris Maguire) 13. Benjamin Buchel
12. Chris Weale
24. Connor Roberts 6. Jakub Sokolik 26. Darren Ward (Capt) 3. Nathan Smith
23. Harry Cornick 2. Ben Tozer 30. Josh Sheehan 4. Matt Dolan 20. Wes Fogden
39. Francois Zoko
1. Artur Krysiak (GK) 9. Ryan Bird 10. Shaun Jeffers (55 mins for Josh Sheehan) 11. Ryan Dickson 21. Alex Lacey
Oxford Bookings: Chris Maguire (dissent, 53 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Darren Ward (foul, 29 mins), Francois Zoko (foul, 55 mins)
Oxford Match Statistics: Possession: 55%; Shots: 10; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 7; Fouls: 6.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 45%; Shots: 5; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 5; Fouls: 12.
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire). Assistants: Nigel Lugg (Surrey) and Neil Radford (Worcestershire). Fourth Official: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire).
Attendance: 2,532 (with 134 Yeovil supporters).
Comment on this News Item on Facebook
or Go back to Top of Page