Yeovil Town were badly beaten on Tuesday night, as relegation rivals Port Vale inflicted a 3-0 defeat on them in a six-pointer at Vale Park. The Glovers were out-played throughout the 90 minutes and fell behind when Manny Oyeleke got a free header from a corner. On the hour mark Tom Conlon's 25 yard dipping strike produced the goal of the game, and the match was finished off by substitute Cristian Montano who needed just a minute on the pitch to score his third goal of the season against the Glovers. That defeat left Darren Way's side in deep trouble in 22nd place after Morecambe and Notts County also picked up wins, leaving them just four points off the relegation spots and looking cut off from those above them.
The Glovers started the match by naming an unchanged starting line-up from the team that had played at Lincoln City on the Friday night, with the only change being the inclusion of Sessi D'Almeida on the bench, with Alex Fisher dropping out with an ankle injury. There was a more subtle change, with Friday night's 4-1-3-2 being changed to a flat 4-4-2, possibly on the basis that the Vale Park pitch is one of the wider ones in the division. Former Glover Ben Whitfield sat on the bench for the opposition, and was not to play any part in the game, whilst in theory there was a boost as Tom Pope was absent - the Valiants striker who had netted five goals against the Glovers in their last seven meetings.
The game's first effort on goal saw Tom James fire a free kick high and wide of the target, quickly followed by a Tristan Abrahams effort that was also about as accurate. Remarkably that was to be the highlight of the 45 minutes from a Yeovil point of view. After a slightly slow start, it was the home side that got onto the front foot, with an excellent bit of defending from Omar Sowunmi stopping Ricky Miller from getting on the end of a Valiants cross. Miller then put over the crossbar, with David Worrall doing the same after he was set up by Luke Joyce, who was pulling the strings in midfield.
With the centre of the park clearly causing Yeovil a problem, midway through the first half, they abandoned their 4-4-2 approach by moving back to something close to the Friday night formation at Lincoln, with Rhys Browne ending up as a right-back again whilst Tom James becoming the holding midfielder. But before they could settle into that new shape, they ended up going a goal down. David Worrall's corner into the six yard area looked simple enough, but there was zero marking on Vale's Manny Oyeleke, who was able to plant a simple header into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The intention of the formation change just before the goal didn't appear to have plugged the problem, as the home side maintained full control of the centre of the park. Luke Hannant burst through the middle only to have his shot saved by the exposed Nathan Baxter, with the Glovers winning very few first balls, let alone second balls. Matters weren't helped by Rhys Browne's brief switch to right-back ending after he went down with a hamstring injury. That meant that the formation changed for a third time, with Tom James heading into the right-back slot for the second time in the game, whilst Sessi D'Almeida made his first appearance for the club since early February, coming on in the centre of the park.
Yeovil still showed few signs of getting any foothold into the match, with Leon Legge heading wide just before halftime, and so it wasn't a huge surprise to find a half time substitution. Alefe Santos was the man sacrificed, with Francois Zoko coming on. That meant that Tristan Abrahams moved into a wide position on the right flank, to allow Zoko to go up front, giving Yeovil their fourth formation of the match, with only 45 minutes played - a measure of what they had shown during that half.
The second period showed vague signs of the Glovers showing an improvement at first, but they weren't helping themselves by getting tied up in a lot of non-football issues. Referee Geoff Eltringham is in theory a Select Group 2 professional referee, but for five or ten minutes he looked as though he wasn't in control of the game. An incident involving Vale's Leon Legge led to a whole load of pushing and shoving, but after he talked to his Fourth Official no action was taken. When something else broke out five minutes later, the home crowd howled with disgust, but again the match official seemed clueless as to who had started the friction, leading to frustrated fans and frustrated players.
It was Port Vale who took advantage of this distraction. A long ball up field from Vale keeper Scott Brown bounced once and wasn't dealt with, and as the resulting ball was hooked into the path of Tom Conlon by Luke Hannant, the Glovers midfield and defence seemed to be a yard off the pace in their recognition of the danger. One man who definitely was full of sharp thinking was Conlon, who took the ball from Hannant on the bounce and then lashed in a 25 yard shot into the roof of the net for a 2-0 lead, and despite the lack of any attempt by anyone in green and white to stop the build-up, a bit of a stunning finish.
Port Vale were back on top of the game again, and Ricky Miller forced Nathan Baxter into another strong save, with the loose ball getting blocked by Tom Jams as Luke Hannant tried to follow up. Yeovil brought on Ryan Seager in the closing stages, and he was to create their best chance of the whole night within minutes of coming on, as a Tom James free kick was flicked on in his direction, with his shot being denied by the hand of Scott Brown, who pushed it for a corner.
But the Glovers barely deserved even a goal out of the game, let alone any thoughts of a comeback. Those were gone within a minute of Cristian Montano's appearance as a substitute. Having already scored twice against Yeovil this season, it was a slight surprise that he wasn't starting the game, but he made up for lost time as a David Worrall ball into the box saw Omar Sowunmi make a bit of a hash of his attempt to clear the ball, and Montano was behind him to convert the third goal of the night to give Vale a 3-0 advantage.
That was the end of a dire match, with Yeovil well off the pace throughout the whole 90 minutes, and worryingly a significant distance behind a club that until this weekend were below them in the League Two table. With Vale winning, Morecambe's recent form pushing themselves up the table and even Notts County gaining a shock away win against play-off chasers Carlisle United, it was a good night for their rivals and a terrible night for the Glovers. They are now isolated in 22nd place, with Notts County now four points away from them, with Saturday's opponents Macclesfield Town taking the night off due to a waterlogged pitch. The weekend fixture now looms very large indeed.
Link: 2018-19 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Port Vale 3 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Manny Oyeleke (1-0, 26 mins), Tom Conlon (2-0, 62 mins), Cristian Montano (3-0, 84 mins)
1 Scott Brown
23 Mitchell Clark 15 Nathan Smith 5 Leon Legge 14 Adam Crookes
8 Manny Oyeleke 4 Luke Joyce 22 Tom Conlon
7 David Worrall 10 Ricky Miller 11 Luke Hannant
2 James Gibbons 3 Cristian Montaņo (83 mins for Luke Hannant) 6 Antony Kay (90 mins for Tom Conlon) 12 Sam Hornby 19 Mark Harris (87 mins for Ricky Miller) 24 Ben Whitfield 33 Kyle Howkins
12. Nathan Baxter
23. Tom James 2. Adel Gafaiti 6. Omar Sowunmi (Capt) 21. Josh Grant
7. Rhys Browne 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 13. Francois Zoko (46 mins for Alefe Santos) 20. Sessi D'Almeida (39 mins for Rhys Browne) 27. Ryan Seager (73 mins for Courtney Duffus) 28. Devon Arnold
Port Vale Bookings: Mitchell Clark (diving, 49 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Sessi D'Almeida (foul, 56 mins), Tristan Abrahams (foul, 64 mins), Adel Gafaiti (foul, 76 mins)
Port Vale Match Statistics: Possession: 63%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 4; Fouls: 11.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 37%; Shots: 4; Shots On Target: 3; Corners: 3; Fouls: 13.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne and Wear). Assistants: James Wilson (Cheshire) and Jonathan Hunt (Merseyside). Fourth Official: Matthew Donohue (Manchester).
Attendance: 3,430 (with 76 Yeovil Town supporters)
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