Yeovil Town edged a thrilling match against relegation rivals Morecambe on Saturday afternoon, as a 3-2 victory significantly increased their chances of avoiding the drop. The match was won by a superb Ryan Seager 87th minute drive that came off the underside of the crossbar that was judged to have crossed the line, to pull his side six points clear of the bottom two. Before that, Morecambe had opened the scoring through a Richie Bennett header, but Yeovil came back as Norwich City loanee Tristan Abrahams scored a quickfire double around the hour mark to turn the game on its head. The Lancashire side appeared to have grabbed a point after Steven Old equalised with seven minutes left, but Seager had the last laugh, with the finale to the match seeing ten minutes of unsignalled injury time played by erratic referee Antony Coggins.
The Glovers went into the match making three changes to the starting line-up with all of them coming from the back four selected against Cambridge United on the previous weekend. Yoann Santos dropped out through injury, whilst Daniel Ojo and Bevis Mugabi dropped to the bench. In the back four, Tom James played as a left-back, whilst Omar Sowunmi played his first match since September 2018. Norwich loanee Tristan Abrahams was the other addition, with Rhys Browne reprising the right-back role he'd performed for the majority of last weekend's match.
Morecambe started the match as the stronger side, right from kick-off, with Adel Gafaiti having to clear a cross over his own crossbar as Rhys Oates threatened to get in on the back post. That was followed by Ritchie Sutton's looping header that bounced off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick. Aaron Collins then had appeals for a penalty turned down after Omar Sowunmi challenged him inside the box, with the two players exchanging a number of words about who did what in the aftermath.
Yeovil's first opportunity on goal came from Tom James who fired wide of the post, after an Alex Dobre run fed Courtney Duffus who then set him up. James shot well, but the 20 yard attempt wasn't on target. In the main, it was Morecambe on the front foot, with a Rhys Oates shot taking a deflection for a corner, before Nathan Baxter had to turn a header from the same player over the crossbar. No great surprise then that the Lancashire side took the lead midway through the half. Aaron Collins got past Adel Gafaiti, who had over-committed himself and when the cross went into the box, Richie Bennett was on the back post and headed home for the opening goal.
Still Morecambe looked the better side, with Yeovil's best chance of the half coming from Matt Worthington when he took advantage of a Courtney Duffus cross, which Mark Halstead parried away for a corner, in what was the only on target effort of that half. In the main, Yeovil were guilty of over-playing the ball in their own half, which allowed Morecambe to close them down and create their own chances, with Jordan Cranston going close when Nathan Baxter turned his free kick over the crossbar for a corner, to keep things down to a single goal at the break.
Just 20 seconds into the second period, Yeovil gave the ball away, allowing Morecambe to almost get a second, with Rhys Oates threading Piero Mingoia, whose shot went wide. Aaron Collins had a shot deflected for a corner by Matt Worthington, whilst another deflection saw Jordan Granston's effort land in the arms of Nathan Baxter. Things still didn't look as though they were going Yeovil's way.
The tide began to turn as the Glovers made two substitutions, with Alex Pattison replacing Matt Worthington, whilst Francois Zoko came on for Alex Fisher, with the Glovers crowd not too happy with the choice of the second change. Neither were involved in what happened a minute later, but it was to be pivotal, as a solo run by Bournemouth loanee Alex Dobre saw him try to find Courtney Duffus in the box. The ball played across to Tristan Abrahams instead, who converted from 15 yards out for the 1-1 equalising goal, that until that point didn't look like it was coming.
Goals change games though, and four minutes later with their next move, Yeovil had gone ahead. Alefe Santos moved down the right flank and squared the ball to Francois Zoko who was at the near post. He managed to squeeze the ball out to Tristan Abrahams who was in a square position, and the Norwich City loanee got his second of the game from 10 yards out to put his side 2-1 up.
Yeovil looked the more likely to score after that point, with Alex Dobre catching Morecambe on the break before firing over the bar. The same player also forced Mark Halstead into a parried save, which he gathered at the second attempt. But games against Morecambe have always had many twists and turns, with 2-2 draws and 4-3 losses seeing plenty of changes to the pattern of the match. No surprise then with seven minutes remaining that the visitors grabbed an equaliser out of the blue. A corner kick was half cleared and recycled, and when Liam Mandeville's cross went back into the box, defender Steven Old levelled the scores at 2-2.
Francois Zoko had a great chance to retake the lead when Rhys Browne's cross saw him force Mark Halstead into another save from his header. But with three minutes remaining, Ryan Seager allowed one more twist to the match. He smashed a 20 yard goal off the underside of the crossbar right in front of the home supporters for a 3-2 lead, with Morecambe protesting the goal, both for a handball in the build-up along with the question of whether the ball had crossed the line. But the goal stood, leaving Yeovil on the edge of three points.
During the closing minutes, referee Antony Coggins' messy officiating descended into mini-chaos as he booked four players in three minutes, and then appeared to not signal to the fourth official how many minutes of injury time he was going to add on. The answer was a rather improbable ten minutes, with supporters entirely blind as to how long their team would have to hang on for. Thankfully Yeovil managed to edge the match - lifting them to 20th place and six points clear of the drop, in a win that will relieve a little bit of pressure on the situation, after two consecutive home victories that have dragged them away from the bottom pair at exactly the right time. They still need points, but at least now have a buffer set up once again.
Link: 2018-19 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 3 Morecambe 2.
Scorers: Richie Bennett (0-1, 22 mins), Tristan Abrahams (1-1, 58 mins), Tristan Abrahams (2-1, 62 mins), Steven Old (2-2, 83 mins), Ryan Seager (3-2, 87 mins)
12. Nathan Baxter
7. Rhys Browne 2. Adel Gafaiti 6. Omar Sowunmi (Capt) 23. Tom James
16. Tristan Abrahams 8. Matt Worthington 30. Alefe Santos 25. Alex Dobre
9. Alex Fisher 11. Courtney Duffus
1. Stuart Nelson (GK) 5. Bevis Mugabi 13. Francois Zoko (58 mins for Alex Fisher) 17. Alex Pattison (52 mins for Matt Worthington) 26. Daniel Ojo 27. Ryan Seager (81 mins for Courtney Duffus) 28. Devon Arnold
21 Mark Halstead
2 Zak Mills 12 Ritchie Sutton 5 Steven Old 3 Luke Conlan
4 Alex Kenyon 27 Jordan Cranston
26 Piero Mingoia 31 Aaron Collins 7 Richard Bennett
18 Rhys Oates
1 Barry Roche 11 Kevin Ellison (69 mins for Rhys Oates) 14 Sam Dalby 17 Liam Mandeville (69 mins for Richie Bennett) 19 Carlos Mendes Gomes (80 mins for Alex Kenyon) 24 Paul McKay 25 Ben Hedley
Yeovil Bookings: Alefe Santos (foul, 41 mins), Francois Zoko (off the ball incident, 90 mins)
Morecambe Bookings: Alex Kenyon (handball, 47 mins), Ritchie Sutton (foul, 57 mins), Mark Halstead (dissent, 89 mins), Jordan Cranston (foul, 90 mins), Kevin Ellison (off the ball incident, 90 mins)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 49%; Shots: 12; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 6; Fouls: 8.
Morecambe Match Statistics: Possession: 51%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 10; Fouls: 10.
Referee: Antony Coggins (Oxfordshire). Assistants: Andrew Laver (Hampshire) and Matthew Lee (West Sussex). Fourth Official: Paul Lister (Devon).
Attendance: 2,521 (with 87 Morecambe supporters).
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