Yeovil Town went down to a single goal defeat on Friday night, as League Two leaders Lincoln City cemented their automatic promotion credentials. The home side enjoyed the majority of the chances across the 90 minutes, although had to remain patient against a resolute Glovers defensive performance. The match was settled by a Mark O'Hara header midway through the second half, as he converted a Harry Anderson cross, and although the visitors brought on a trio of attacking substitutes, they were well contained by the Imps, and so remain in 20th place in the table, with the majority of fixtures in League Two set to be played on Saturday afternoon.
The Glovers went into the match making two changes to the team that had beaten Morecambe last weekend. The obvious switch was Alex Pattison's inclusion as he replaced Matt Worthington. A more complex swap saw Josh Grant come in as a left-back, replacing striker Alex Fisher. Tom James moved into a holding midfield position, leading to a 4-1-3-2 formation that used Alex Dobre in a narrow role, as one of three more attacking midfielders in front of James. Tristan Abrahams was pushed up front to replace Fisher in the front line.
Early chances saw Alex Pattison fire over from a narrow angle, before Harry Anderson's shot from a wide position almost went in at the far corner. But overall it was a case of high tempo frenetic play with both sides doing a lot of pressing, but not a lot to seriously worry the goalkeepers. Matt Rhead's header from a corner went into Nathan Baxter's arms for a routine stop.
The best chance of the half fell to Lincoln's Harry Anderson, as Rhys Browne and Alex Pattison got themselves into a bit of a muddle, allowing the Lincoln playmaker to get in between them and race through on goal. Fortunately, Nathan Baxter was there to bail them out of trouble. As the half wore on, the home side quietly notched up a number of further efforts, with Bruno Andrade's deflected shot easily saved, whilst Matt Rhead shot over the bar. Really all Yeovil had managed was a Tom James free kick that flew across the face of the goal, and a Tristan Abrahams effort that sailed well over. The Glovers were matching Lincoln up well, but at the cost of having little in the way of attacking play.
Lincoln were getting frustrated by Yeovil's tendency to slow the game down in places, and the crowd got their wish when Nathan Baxter was booked for timewasting barely a few minutes into the second half. After Tom James gave the ball away, Harry Anderson's shot saw Baxter parry at his near post for a corner, and from the resultant set piece Cian Bolger headed into the arms of Baxter.
All eyes were on Danny Rowe when he came on as a Lincoln substitute, having scored both goals in the January game at Huish Park. But two minutes after his arrival, Lincoln took the lead through two entirely different personnel. Harry Anderson was given Lincoln's player of the day at the end of the game, and it was his cross into the box on 69 minutes that saw Mark O'Hara head home and break the deadlock for the Imps to have a 1-0 advantage.
Yeovil responded immediately by throwing on Francois Zoko and Alex Fisher, as they replaced the original front line strikers. They were joined six minutes later by Ryan Seager, with Alefe Santos coming off, putting three up front for the final 15 minutes. The problem was that apart from an Alex Pattison shot that Matthew Gilks blocked in the Lincoln goal, the Glovers were not finding their any joy in the final third.
Instead, Lincoln were able to snuff the game out in the closing stages with relative ease. John Akinde headed wide from a Neal Eardley cross, whilst Bruno Andrade's shot from a corner saw Nathan Baxter save. With five minutes of added time, Yeovil might have thought they could build up a head of steam, but with Lincoln taking play back into the other half, it was almost impossible for them to create anything. Instead, that single goal divided the two teams, on a night where Yeovil defended stubbornly, but at a cost of not really bothering the Lincoln goal on too many occasions. They remain 20th, and must now hope the sides below them do not pick up too many points tomorrow.
Link: 2018-19 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Lincoln City 1 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Mark O'Hara (1-0, 69 mins)
18 Matthew Gilks
23 Neal Eardley 16 Michael Bostwick 5 Jason Shackell 14 Harry Toffolo
26 Harry Anderson 4 Michael O'Connor 6 Mark O'Hara 11 Bruno Andrade
9 Matt Rhead 29 John Akinde
1 Josh Vickers 7 Thomas Pett (81 mins for Michael O'Connor) 17 Shay McCartan 19 Danny Rowe (67 mins for Matt Rhead) 24 Cian Bolger (42 mins for Jason Shackell) 25 Jordan Roberts 35 Kyle Watkins
12. Nathan Baxter
7. Rhys Browne 2. Adel Gafaiti 6. Omar Sowunmi (Capt) 21. Josh Grant
23. Tom James
17. Alex Pattison 30. Alefe Santos 25. Alex Dobre
16. Tristan Abrahams 11. Courtney Duffus
1. Stuart Nelson (GK) 5. Bevis Mugabi 8. Matt Worthington 9. Alex Fisher (70 mins for Tristan Abrahams) 13. Francois Zoko (70 mins for Courtney Duffus) 27. Ryan Seager (76 mins for Alefe Santos) 28. Devon Arnold
Lincoln City Bookings: Neal Eardley (foul, 25 mins), Harry Toffolo (foul, 90 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Rhys Browne (foul, 39 mins), Nathan Baxter (timewasting, 48 mins)
Lincoln City Match Statistics: Possession: 46%; Shots: 14; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 9; Fouls: 13.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 54%; Shots: 6; Shots On Target: 1; Corners: 2; Fouls: 9.
Referee: Scott Oldham (Lancashire). Assistants: David Plowright (Nottinghamshire) and Robert Atkin (Lincolnshire). Fourth Official: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).
Attendance: 9,014 (with 154 Yeovil Town supporters)
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