Yeovil Town ended a run of six League Two fixtures without a win, as they beat Exeter City 3-1 at Huish Park this afternoon. The Glovers took control either side of half time as Jake Gray capitalised on a defensive error to open the scoring, before Francois Zoko doubled the lead just after the break, finishing from a narrow angle. The Grecians struggled to get back into the game, but there were some nerves when Jayden Stockley scored five minutes from the end. But those worries were settled two minutes from time when Zoko won a spot kick, and AFC Bournemouth striker Sam Surridge converted for the decisive final goal, lifting his side up to 19th in the table.
The Glovers went into the match naming an unchanged team to the eleven that took to the field against Mansfield Town last weekend. The only alteration was on the bench, with Connor Smith returning from concussion. Initially, it was Sid Nelson that made way, but when Olufela Olomola was too ill to get through the warm-ups, he dropped out with Nelson requiring a late scribble on the sheet. In the Grecians line-up, Reuben Reid and Dan Seaborne were former Glovers on the bench.
Whilst this was meant to be a local derby, it took an age to warm up. Apart from a Liam McAlinden header from a Lloyd James cross that was saved by Artur Krysiak, and a Francois Zoko header from an Otis Khan cross which both brought comfortable regulation saves, there really was nothing in the opening 20 minutes. Exeter held possession far better, but with both sides playing 4-4-2 they seemed to cancel each other out.
As the half wore on, James Bailey fired just wide of the far post after he robbed Jake Taylor of possession. And it was a sloppy mistake that was to open the goalscoring - Lloyd James's pass on the edge of his box went square to no-one except Jake Gray. He intercepted, and fired a low shot into the corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Exeter finally woke up and spent the remainder of the first half pressuring. The Glovers were indebted to Tom James who cleared the ball off his line, following a move that had seen Artur Krysiak exposed by a poor punch that saw Jake Taylor fire on goal. With James blocking the ball on the line, they managed to keep their half time lead, but it was a reminder that it was a fairly even half, with few chances.
Yeovil were to double their lead just a couple of minutes into the second half to stun the visitors, who currently occupy an automatic promotion slot. Otis Khan threaded the ball to Francois Zoko and despite the striker only having a narrow angle to aim at, he converted the ball perfectly at the far post for a 2-0 lead.
Exeter opted to make three substitutions, and later a formation change in their efforts to get back into the match. But it took a while for them to force any pressure, with Nathan Smith at the other end going close to adding a third when he headed an Otis Khan free kick wide of the post. They also needed Pierce Sweeney to clear the ball off his goal line from an Otis Khan shot after Jake Gray and sponsors player of the day James Bailey had set him up.
Two of City's substitutes forced Krysiak into saves as Reuben Reid and Kyle Edwards shot on goal. But it was only on 85 minutes that they finally breached the Polish keeper's goal. Jake Taylor's shot was parried by the keeper, but it stayed near the six yard line, allowing Jayden Stockley the chance for an easy conversion of the loose ball for 2-1.
At that stage, nerves could have kicked in, with memories of Yeovil Town's three goal slip at St James Park last season. However, instead it was Yeovil who got the decisive goal - Francois Zoko ran into the box and was fouled by Christy Pym for a penalty. Up stepped Sam Surridge from the spot and he confidently fired home for the 3-1 advantage that with two minutes remaining Exeter weren't going to come back from. If anything they could have grabbed a couple of late ones during injury time, with Sam Surridge twice denied, but the important bit was that the victory lifted them four points clear of the relegation spots at the halfway stage of the season. The 19th place position is not where Yeovil Town would like to be, but it's an improvement on the nervy look to the table it had last weekend.
Link: 2017-18 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 3 Exeter City 1.
Scorers: Jake Gray (1-0, 41 mins), Francois Zoko (2-0, 47 mins), Jayden Stockley (2-1, 85 mins), Sam Surridge (3-1, 88 mins)
1. Artur Krysiak
23. Tom James 17. Omar Sowunmi 3. Nathan Smith 11. Ryan Dickson
10. Jake Gray 4. Matt Worthington 16. James Bailey (Capt) 7. Otis Khan
14. Sam Surridge 13. Francois Zoko
12. Jonny Maddison (GK) 5. Bevis Mugabi 6. Keston Davies 8. Connor Smith 15. Jordan Green (84 mins for Otis Khan) 25. Sid Nelson 30. Alefe Santos
1 Christy Pym
2 Pierce Sweeney 5 Troy Archibald-Henville 15 Jordan Moore-Taylor 3 Craig Woodman
25 Jake Taylor 4 Lloyd James 44 Hiram Boateng 7 Ryan Harley
19 Liam McAlinden 11 Jayden Stockley
6 Jordan Tillson 10 Lee Holmes (70 mins for Lloyd James) 13 James Hamon 18 Danny Seaborne 21 Dean Moxey 28 Kyle Edwards (60 mins for Ryan Harley) 33 Reuben Reid (56 mins for Liam McAlinden)
Yeovil Bookings: Francois Zoko (foul, 33 mins), Matt Worthington (foul, 82 mins), Jake Gray (foul, 90 mins)
Exeter City Bookings: Craig Woodman (foul, 54 mins), Christy Pym (foul, 87 mins)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 42%; Shots: 11; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 1; Fouls: 8.
Exeter City Match Statistics: Possession: 58%; Shots: 7; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 6; Fouls: 7.
Referee: Lee Swabey (Devon). Assistants: Ravel Cheosiaua (Worcestershire) and Andrew Williams (Middlesex). Fourth Official: Mark Pottage (Dorset).
Attendance: 4,834 (with 1,506 Exeter City supporters).
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