Yeovil Town threw away three points this afternoon, as a goal advantage and a man advantage somehow turned into an injury time defeat. When Rhys Browne struck a superb solo goal in the 56th minute, and Paul Digby's crude stamp earned him a red card for Forest Green Rovers twenty minutes later, the Glovers seemed to be on their way to their second home win of the season. But their Gloucestershire opponents ended the final 15 minutes in the ascendancy, and equalised 92 minutes into the match when old boy Reuben Reid slotted home. Incredibly that wasn't the end of it, as George Williams struck a 94th minute goal to win the match for Rovers despite them having ten men on the field - a result that pushes Yeovil down to 20th place in their fourth straight defeat.
The Glovers went into the match making six changes from the side that lost to Port Vale ten days previously. Two of those alterations were forced, with Bevis Mugabi suffering a shoulder problem in the previous game, whilst Alex Pattison dropped out with a back problem. Adel Gafaiti and Alefe Santos replaced them. The four other changes were tactical, with a formation change seeing Yeovil drop the single-game 4-3-3 experiment and head back to the more reliable 4-4-2. Enes Mamoutovic replaced Carl Dickinson, Jordan Green got a start on the wing ahead of Rhys Browne, whilst Yoann Arquin and Olufela Olomola started up front with Francois Zoko and Jake Gray dropping to the bench. In the Forest Green line-up, Liam Shephard captained his side, with Reuben Reid up front and Matt Worthington on the bench, as Tahvon Campbell didn't make the squad.
In windy rainy conditions, Forest Green started off as the better side in terms of possession, if not in terms of chances. Yeovil saw a tame shot from Jordan Green easily saved, before Tom James struck a shot over the bar from 25 yards out. There was an even more ambitious effort from James as he struck a 40 yard free kick that came off the corner of the Rovers wall for a corner, half an hour into the game. From the corner came Yeovil's best chance of the half, as Gary Warren's header got past goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, but Lloyd James was on the line to block the ball over the bar for a corner.
Forest Green played the ball around nicely, but could only muster one chance during the opening 45 minutes. That came via former Glover Liam Shephard, who received a ball from Reece Brown, before firing in a shot that deflected off Tom James, leaving Stuart Nelson having to react well to palm the ball, before rescuing it at the second attempt. Overall it was an even half, not helped by the squally weather in terms of its overall quality, with both sides going in at the break goalless.
Rhys Browne came on at half time for Wes McDonald, giving a commentator's nightmare, given there was also a Reece Brown in the Forest Green line-up. The Yeovil-spelt version was to make a perfect impact just 11 minutes into his introduction, as he weaved his way past Forest Green players from just inside their half, before firing off a shot that flew into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Forest Green appealed in vain for a foul in the build-up on Joseph Mills, as Browne bustled his way through, and it looked for a moment as though there was going to be a big reaction to that lack of a whistle, as opposition manager Mark Cooper appeared to be trying to usher his players off the field in protest at the goal being allowed to stand. At some point during this pantomime nonsense, someone engaged their brain, and the Forest Green players trotted back into their positions to restart the match. Referee Michael Salisbury probably didn't help himself by not cautioning any players for delaying the kick-off.
Back at the football, and tempers were rather flared. This helped Yeovil somewhat as they tried to play the football, with another Tom James free kick flying over the bar, whilst Rhys Browne attempted to repeat his goal by another run into the box that saw Robert Sanchez save it. Dayle Grubb managed to get a shot in at the other end, from a Liam Shephard cross that Stuart Nelson saved from a corner.
However, with less than 20 minutes of the match remaining, the game began to take some unexpected twists. Firstly Darren Way made the decision to substitute Olufela Olomola, bringing on Jake Gray as a replacement in midfield. In theory, Jordan Green was pushed further up to play in a 4-4-1-1, but it was to introduce a more defensive looking outlook for the Glovers.
Then came further frustration and aggression from Forest Green of the wrong kind. Paul Digby got into a tangle with Rhys Browne as he challenged for the ball. As Browne lay on the deck, Digby aimed a clear stamp at the Yeovil man, and although referee Michael Salisbury appeared to not see the incident, his linesman did, and Digby was sent off. With Forest Green now having just ten men, surely Yeovil would cruise to victory, in firm command of the game?
Instead, the opposite began to happen. On the back of that formation change, and perhaps by the ticking clock, Yeovil began to pack men behind the ball, allowing Forest Green the opportunity to push forward and take risks. Substitute Ben Morris broke through but was denied by an excellent block from Stuart Nelson, and suddenly Yeovil didn't look comfortable.
As seven minutes of injury time was signalled - mainly for Forest Green's histrionics after Yeovil's goal, and for the delays caused by the red card dismissal, things suddenly went badly wrong. Just over a minute into injury time, Theo Archibald's cross into the box wasn't cut out, and inside the area was former Glover Reuben Reid to equalise against his old club. 1-1 and the advantage had been tossed away.
Somehow, it got worse. Less than two minutes later, and with Forest Green's next attack, the Gloucestershire club stole all three points. Once again Reuben Reid was involved, this time as the provider. His ball into the box for substitute George Williams saw him fire a shot at goal, and the ball took a deflection past Stuart Nelson for an improbable 1-2 scoreline, and three points had been chucked away. Needless to say, when the final whistle blew, and Yeovil had slipped to 20th in the table, boos once again rang out at Huish Park as the club's fourth consecutive defeat was recorded - a run that is in reality five matches once the dead rubber against West Ham in the Checkatrade Trophy is excluded. Suddenly, next week's match against 22nd placed Cambridge United is looking rather huge.
Link: 2018-19 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 2.
Scorers: Rhys Browne (1-0, 56 mins), Reuben Reid (1-1, 90+2 mins), George Williams (1-2, 90+4 mins)
1. Stuart Nelson
29. Enes Mahmutovic 2. Adel Gafaiti 4. Gary Warren (Capt) 23. Tom James
11. Jordan Green 20. Sessi D'Almeida 30. Alefe Santos 21. Wes McDonald
18. Yoann Arquin 24. Olufela Olomola
31. Tommy Scott (GK) 3. Carl Dickinson 7. Rhys Browne (46 mins for Wes McDonald) 10. Jake Gray (73 mins for Olufela Olomola) 13. Francois Zoko (87 mins for Yoann Arquin) 15. Gabriel Rogers 27. Shaun Donnellan
Forest Green Rovers:
1 Robert Sanchez
2 Liam Shephard (Capt) 6 Farrend Rawson 19 Nathan McGinley 23 Joseph Mills
4 Lloyd James 7 Carl Winchester 20 Paul Digby
8 Dayle Grubb 26 Reuben Reid 10 Reece Brown
5 Lee Collins 11 George C Williams (74 mins for Dayle Grubb) 13 James Montgomery 16 Gavin Gunning 18 Theo Archibald (79 mins for Joseph Mills) 21 Matt Worthington 22 Ben Morris (64 mins for Reece Brown)
Yeovil Bookings: Gary Warren (foul, 44 mins), Enes Mahmoutovic (foul, 55 mins), Olufela Olomola (blocking free kick, 69 mins), Sessi D'Almeida (foul, 86 mins)
Forest Green Rovers Bookings: Lloyd James (foul, 66 mins), Theo Archibald (foul, 90 mins). Red Card: Paul Digby (violent conduct, 76 mins)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 36%; Shots: 7; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 3; Fouls: 14.
Port Vale Match Statistics: Possession: 64%; Shots: 7; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 3; Fouls: 11.
Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire). Assistants: Samuel Ogles (Hampshire) and Conor Farrell (Hampshire). Fourth Official: Kevin Howick (Oxfordshire).
Attendance: 2,529 (with 217 Forest Green Rovers supporters).
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