Yeovil Town finished the 2017-18 season with a draw as they held play-off chasing Lincoln City to a 1-1 draw at Sincil Bank. The Glovers set some hearts fluttering in the home sections when Jordan Green found his 10th minute ball across the box bobble into the far corner. Artur Krysiak saved a first half Matt Green penalty, but The Imps pulled a goal back through Tom Pett during the second period to guarantee themselves a playoff position. Yeovil end the season in 19th place, just two points better off than relegated Barnet.
The Glovers went into the match making two changes to their starting line-up. Omar Sowunmi's suspension meant one of those was enforced, allowing a surprise recall for Liverpool loanee Corey Whelan, who had not even made the teamsheet over the previous four fixtures. Moving in the other direction was Connor Smith, whose drafting into the starting line-up last week against Mansfield Town proved a brief one as he dropped entirely off the teamsheet with Jared Bird coming in. Lincoln went into the match knowing that a point would guarantee them a League Two play-off place, just twelve months after gaining promotion to the Football League. Yeovil's own preparation for the game wasn't helped by their team coach breaking down in the hotel car park close to Lincoln, meaning that the GWSC Supporters Coach had to travel out to rescue them.
The reputation of the hosts has tended to be that they are long-ball merchants that bypass midfield in search of the final third, and certainly that 'direct' approach had been emphasised in Darren Way's pre-match interview. The twist was that it was actually Yeovil who took the lead via that route as early as ten minutes into the match. An Artur Krysiak goal kick was punted up the right-flank, where Alex Fisher flicked the ball on, into the path of Jordan Green. He knocked the ball forward, and with his second touch just managed to nudge it beyond keeper Ryan Allsop and very slowly roll it into the far corner of the net, for a 1-0 lead.
The Glovers started the game well, regardless of that lead, with a flowing move involving Jordan Green causing Lincoln problems as he weaved, twisted and turned before laying the ball off to Otis Khan. The winger pulled the ball back to Green, whose shot was blocked by a defender's leg, but into the path of Lewis Wing, whose shot from the edge of the box curled a yard or so wide of the target.
Lincoln had looked a little nervous and a bit frustrated that they hadn't properly tested Artur Krysiak in the opening 30 minutes but they were given a large chance of equalising when Bevis Mugabi inexplicably handled the ball inside his own box, sticking a hand up in the air when he was over-balanced in a challenge with a Lincoln defender. Even the most green'n'white tinted supporter would have found it hard to argue with. Up stepped Matt Green to take the spot kick, but Krysiak parried the ball out, with Green's attempt to convert the rebound coming off the underside of the crossbar before being headed away.
Matt Green's first half wasn't going well when he fired wide of the target two minutes later, meaning that although there was now genuine pressure on the Yeovil goal, his misses were not giving Lincoln a cause to relax. Yeovil themselves got another chance to extend their lead at the other end though, with their Route One approach giving that opportunity. Again a Krysiak goal kick, and again a Fisher flick-on, and this time Francois Zoko's shot inside the box went narrowly wide of the target. Although Lincoln's Ollie Palmer got himself a good chance from a flick-on that saw him head into Krysiak's arms.
The second period saw a very different approach to the match. Once news filtered through that Mansfield Town had equalised after falling behind against Crawley Town, the Imps had to be wary of results elsewhere, and the game began to become one in which the ball was camped in the Yeovil half, which the Glovers falling into that trap a bit too readily by seeing everyone bar Francois Zoko being pushed behind the ball. A Neal Eardley cross into the box after a strong short-passing move saw the ball pushed out to the right-back saw Bevis Mugabi have to clear from close to his own goal line. Matters then got even more fraught when with the pressure building at the far end, a corner kick saw Luke Waterfall's header blocked out by Krysiak, with Matt Rhead's header on the rebound hitting the top of the crossbar.
That penalty box was getting more and more crowded, and that was Lincoln's problem, in that Yeovil's strong defending in their own box was blocking them out. It took a moment of intelligence and class for them to find their way through. After a Lincoln attack had been recycled, a left wing cross was only headed out as far as the edge of the box, and despite men closing him down, Tom Pett was able to hook the ball into the top right hand corner from the edge of the box.
In another match, Lincoln might have then gone for the jugular, with their home fans clearly buoyant at being back in control of their own destiny. But with news that Mansfield Town and Coventry City were still drawing their matches, they didn't really need to do so, and so adopted a safety first approach, with the end result being that in five minutes of injury time it was actually them who were running the ball into the corner flags to run down the clock, following a couple of minor injuries to Artur Krysiak that had slowed the second half down. As such it was a rather quiet end to the match, giving the Glovers a point that pushed them into 19th place at the end of the season. However, with the club ending the season with eight matches without a victory, and just two points above relegated Barnet, this wasn't really a cause for much jubilation on the final whistle, even if the players were shown respect by the travelling 273 supporters at the end, for what had been a reasonable first half performance, followed by a rearguard action after the break.
Link: 2017-18 Final League Two Table.
Final Score: Lincoln City 1 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Jordan Green (10 mins, 0-1), Tom Pett (72 mins, 1-1).
22 Ryan Allsop
23 Neal Eardley 5 Luke Waterfall 15 James Wilson 6 Scott Wharton
30 Alex Woodyard 16 Michael Bostwick 4 Elliot Whitehouse
8 Ollie Palmer 9 Matt Rhead 10 Matt Green
1. Paul Farman 2. Sean Long 7. Thomas Pett (55 mins for James Wilson) 12. Ellis Chapman 14. Jordan Williams (75 mins for Neal Eardley) 26. Harry Anderson (64 mins for Ollie Palmer) 36. Declan O'Hare
1. Artur Krysiak
22. Corey Whelan 5. Bevis Mugabi 27. Shaun Donnellan 23. Tom James
15. Jordan Green 4. Jared Bird 6. Lewis Wing 7. Otis Khan
18. Alex Fisher 13. Francois Zoko (Capt)
25. Steve Phillips 3. Nathan Smith 9. Rhys Browne (72 mins for Jordan Green) 14. Sam Surridge (81 mins for Alex Fisher) 19. Marcus Barnes 20. Oscar Gobern (67 mins for Otis Khan) 30. Alefe Santos
Lincoln City Bookings: Matt Green (foul, 61 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Tom James (foul, 72 mins)
Lincoln City Match Statistics: Possession: 58%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 5; Fouls: 7.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 42%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 4; Fouls: 8.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear). Assistants: Geoffrey Liddle (County Durham) and Stuart Butler (Kent). Fourth Official: Lisa Rashid (West Midlands).
Attendance: 10,004 (with 273 Yeovil Town supporters)
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