Yeovil Town went out of the EFL Trophy at the Group Stage of the competition on Tuesday night, as Bristol Rovers secured their own route into the knock-out stages. The 2-0 defeat came via two second half goals, with Alex Jakubiak smashing a shot into the top right hand corner, before Alex Rodman sealed the result via a deflected shot that guaranteed Rovers and Exeter City will proceed to the next stage. The Glovers had their own chances, with Alex Fisher twice denied in one-v-ones, but will now play out their final match against West Ham United Under-21s as a dead rubber fixture.
The Glovers went into the match making just one change to their starting line-up as they selected their strongest available eleven for this fringe competition. Sessi D'Almeida was on international duty with Benin, and that meant that Rhys Browne came in as the single change, with Jake Gray moving into a central position, to allow Browne to go wide. In the Rovers side, Ed Upson came up against his old club, with former trialist James Clarke in the centre of their defence.
Early chances in the match largely fell to the home side, with Alex Rodman's shot being saved by Nathan Baxter onto the post, for the game's first effort. That was quickly followed up by Alex Jakubiak firing wide of the post, and then over the crossbar, before he finally found the target, putting a drive across the face of goal that Baxter got down to save. Chances continued to fall to the Gas, with Ed Upson doing one of his typical shots from distance, whilst Liam Sercombe tried the same - both went wide of the target.
If Yeovil had been quiet in terms of clearcut chances, the one that they did get during the first period was a big one. Ed Upson's misplaced pass across the edge of his box was intercepted by Alex Fisher. But Jack Bonham anticipated the problem quickly and got down to block the shot on goal. Aside from that chance, the other Yeovil-related issue was that Rhys Browne had been booked for a challenge early in the match, and he finished the first period by landing on a final warning for a second poor challenge, meaning one more foul and he'd be off.
No surprise then, that there was a half time substitution with Browne going off and Omari Patrick getting 45 minutes to make his mark. As per the end to the first half, Alex Fisher got into a great position, as his run in behind the back four caught Rovers out. But again Jack Bonham blocked the ball, for the second big chance of the match.
That was to be costly, as five minutes into the half Bristol Rovers took the lead. Kyle Bennett received a throughball from Sam Matthews, and Bennett's pullback found Alex Jakubiak, who fired into the top right hand corner via the near post for a 1-0 lead. Bennett then went close as a buoyant Rovers took control of proceedings with the 25 yard shot just clearing the crossbar.
Yeovil still had their chances, but it wasn't Alex Fisher's night. The one time that Jack Bonham looked less than rock solid, by misjudging a cross, Fisher was there to head towards goal, but found Ed Upson getting in the way on the goal line. Yeovil continued to have efforts on goal but without big conviction - Jordan Green fired well over the bar from a Fisher cross, when he should have tested the keeper. Then Olufela Olomola and Omari Patrick allowed Bonham to make fairly comfortable saves as time began to run out.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, and the Glovers put on Yoann Arquin to replace Alex Fisher, it was Carl Dickinson who took over the captaincy. At that stage, Yeovil might have considered going for broke, but it never quite happened, as Rovers got their second crucial goal with six minutes remaining. Alex Rodman cut in from the wing, and fired off a shot that appeared to take a large deflection on its way into the back of the net. 2-0 down now, and there was no way back from that.
Aside from a late Yoann Arquin attempt, Yeovil couldn't muster anything of note to threaten the scoreline, and so mathematically exit the EFL Trophy at the earliest possible stage. If Fisher's chances had gone in, things might have looked a bit different, but once Rovers got the lead, they began to control things. A ten day break begins now, and with the exception of the FA Cup in November, there is one very clear target now - concentrate on the league.
Link: 2018-19 EFL Trophy Southern Group D Latest Table.
Final Score: Bristol Rovers 2 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Alex Jakubiak (50 mins, 1-0), Alex Rodman (84 mins, 2-0)
13 Jack Bonham
2 Daniel Leadbitter 15 James Clarke 16 Tom Broadbent 28 Michael Kelly
26 Sam Matthews 6 Ed Upson 7 Liam Sercombe 33 Alex Rodman
23 Kyle Bennett 17 Alex Jakubiak
10 Tom Nichols (76 mins for Kyle Bennett) 21 Adam Smith 27 Rollin Menayese 30 Alfie Kilgour 32 Luke Russe (86 mins for Sam Matthews) 40 Cameron Ebbutt 43 Deon Moore (88 mins for Alex Jakubiak)
12. Nathan Baxter
23. Tom James, 5. Bevis Mugabi, 27. Shaun Donnellan, 3. Carl Dickinson
7. Rhys Browne 10. Jake Gray 17. Alex Pattison, 11. Jordan Green
9. Alex Fisher (Capt) 24. Olufela Olomola
25. Steve Phillips 4. Gary Warren 8. Omari Patrick (46 mins for Rhys Browne) 15. Gabriel Rogers (87 mins for Jordan Green), 18. Yoann Arquin (74 mins for Alex Fisher) 22. Tyrique Spencer-Clarke 26. Daniel Ojo
Bristol Rovers Bookings: Daniel Leadbitter (foul, 37 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Rhys Browne (foul, 13 mins)
Bristol Rovers Match Statistics: Possession: 60%; Shots: 15; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 6; Fouls: 6.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 40%; Shots: 11; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 10; Fouls: 9.
Referee: Rob Jones (Cheshire). Assistants: John Flynn (Wiltshire) and Billy Smallwood (Cheshire). Fourth Official: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).
Attendance: 1,179 (with 125 Yeovil Town supporters)
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