Yeovil Town went down to a single goal defeat for the second time in three days after a Luke Varney goal divided the two sides at Whaddon Road. The 1-0 defeat against Cheltenham Town hid the amount of first half drama behind the match, with Tom James having a free kick goal ruled out for a foul inside the box, before picking up his second red card of the season for a straight foul. In the aftermath, manager Darren Way was also given a red card, leaving Paul Terry in charge of the fixture. That didn't stop the drama with Alex Fisher and Varney both having two goals each chalked off for offside, leading to plenty of views exchanged between the two dugouts. The defeat leaves Yeovil stuck in 21st place, having now used up their games in hand on most of their rivals, and three points off the relegation spots.
The Glovers went into the match making two changes to their starting line-up from the team that featured at Stevenage. Sessi D'Almeida's shoulder injury means he is expected to be out for a couple of weeks, and his position in the park was taken by Tom James, with Gary Warren returning as captain following his groin problems. The other change saw Stuart Nelson preferred to Nathan Baxter as a tactical switch. In the opposition line-up, Ben Tozer captained the Cheltenham team as Scott Flinders played in goal, with Kevin Dawson on the bench.
Yeovil started brightly and on the whole dominated the opening 20 minutes. Jake Gray opened things up with a fairly tame shot into Flinders' arms. There was then the game's first controversial moment, with Tom James lining up a free kick. His shot took flight in the wind past Flinders into the back of the net. But like Saturday's strike at Stevenage, it was to be chalked off, with the match referee Tim Robinson signalling for a foul somewhere inside the box.
James then fired another free kick over the bar, with Jake Gray also missing the target from outside the box. Cheltenham had done very little bar a looping Ben Tozer header which Stuart Nelson easily claimed. Then just 21 minutes into the half, the game's second contentious incident occurred. Tom James slid in on Alex Addai on the corner of the area, wiping the player out, and referee Tim Robinson deemed the tackle to be out of control, producing a straight red card, for James' second dismissal of the season. In the aftermath, manager Darren Way was also dismissed from the dugouts for his protests.
It was then the home side's turn to get the ball in the back of the net, as Luke Varney converted a Ryan Broom cross, but the linesman's flag went up to rule it out for offside. Then Alex Fisher twice got the ball in the back of the net in quick succession, with the second coming from a clever Rhys Browne move, but once again the linesman's flag was raised, meaning that the net had rippled four times, but the scoreline was still 0-0.
No surprise that the game was getting a bit niggly and frustrated. Cheltenham did very little before the break despite the man advantage, with Ryan Broom putting the ball over the bar just as the half time whistle blew, but they were showing nothing to suggest they had a man advantage. That might have been in home boss Michael Duff's mind when he chose to bring on substitute Kevin Dawson, switching his side to a flat back four for the second period.
Chris Clements opened the second half by firing a shot from outside the box that went wide before we had the fifth disallowed goal of the half. Luke Varney looked a little sheepish as he tapped the ball into the net, knowing that the linesman's flag had already gone up, but by now it was "3-2 to Yeovil" yet still 0-0 on the scoreboard. Once again, the game had a bit of a tetchy feel to it as Matt Worthington and Adel Gafaiti were quickly booked for kicking the ball away.
On the hour mark, came the goal. Ryan Broom put a ball into the box, that was half cleared by the Yeovil defence. On the edge of the box, Luke Varney connected with a looping volley that flew past Stuart Nelson for the 1-0 lead that Cheltenham had struggled to get up until that point. But it was to allow them far more room in the final half hour, with Rakim Bingham almost grabbing a second straight from kick-off as the Yeovil defence fell asleep, allowing him to break through, with only Nelson's legs denying him.
Yeovil needed to apply some pressure, and eventually introduced Yoann Arquin, Tristan Abrahams and Courtney Duffus as substitutes to freshen up the front line. But they were woefully short of being able to create clearcut chances. For all of the possession and territory they got, Cheltenham only needed to break on them for further chances to fall to Luke Varney which went wide, and another Rakim Bingham break that saw him shoot from the edge of the box.
For all of the throw-ins, touchline passes, and moves across the face of the Cheltenham box, Yeovil couldn't muster a proper second half shot, with Cheltenham's defence easily blocking out those final balls into the box. The final chance of the night fell instead to Jacob Maddox, who forced Stuart Nelson into another save, with Cheltenham looking a bit too comfortable during six minutes of injury time to look like they were going to relinquish their lead. The man deficit wouldn't have helped them, but once again Yeovil lacked creativity, and they end the evening in 21st place, three points from the drop, but significantly, those much talked about games in hand are now completely used up on their rivals, with no gain to their position.
Link: 2018-19 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Cheltenham Town 1 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Luke Varney (1-0, 59 mins)
1 Scott Flinders
23 Jordan Forster 4 Ben Tozer 24 Charlie Raglan
11 Ryan Broom 25 Jordan Tillson 26 Chris Clements 3 Chris Hussey
20 Jacob Maddox
16 Alex Addai 32 Luke Varney
22 Rhys Lovett (GK) 7 Conor Thomas (90 mins for Chris Clements) 8 Kevin Dawson (46 mins for Jordan Forster) 9 Immanuelson Duku 21 Billy Waters 27 Rakish Bingham (38 mins for Alex Addai) 28 Cameron Pring
1. Stuart Nelson
24. Craig Alcock 4. Gary Warren (Capt) 2. Adel Gafaiti 3. Carl Dickinson
10. Jake Gray 8. Matt Worthington 23. Tom James
7. Rhys Browne 9. Alex Fisher 25. Alex Dobre
12. Nathan Baxter (GK) 5. Bevis Mugabi 11. Courtney Duffus (79 mins for Alex Fisher) 15. Gabriel Rogers 16. Tristan Abrahams (72 mins for Rhys Browne) 18. Yoann Arquin (75 mins for Alex Dobre) 27. Ryan Seager
Cheltenham Town Bookings: Rakish Bingham (foul, 44 mins), Jacob Maddox (foul, 56 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Matt Worthington (kicking ball away, 52 mins), Adel Gafaiti (kicking ball away, 55 mins). Red Card: Tom James (serious foul play, 21 mins), Darren Way (language, 21 mins)
Cheltenham Town Match Statistics: Possession: 55%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 1; Fouls: 8.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 45%; Shots: 5; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 3; Fouls: 13.
Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex) Assistants: Andrew Fox (Coventry) and Mark Jones. Fourth Official: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).
Attendance: 2,457 (with 200 Yeovil Town supporters)
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