Yeovil Town finished their 2018-19 season with a 0-0 draw against a Carlisle United side who ultimately failed to climb into the play-off positions on the final day. The Glovers had to spend 70 minutes showing dogged defending as the visitors created a large number of chances, notably early in the second half when Hallam Hope broke behind the defence only to find keeper Stuart Nelson in the way. In the closing stages, the Glovers finally got into gear with chances for Alex Dobre, Alex Fisher and Jake Gray, but had to settle for their third consecutive draw, with them finishing bottom of the Football League, as Notts County joined them in the National League for the 2019-20 campaign.
The Glovers went into the match making two changes to their starting line-up. Both were enforced with goalkeeper Nathan Baxter and midfielder Sessi D'Almeida having picked up knocks that ruled them out. They were replaced by Stuart Nelson and Alefe Santos, with Tommy Scott and Devon Arnold co-opted onto the bench to provide four players from the Academy set-up on the teamsheet.
The first half was one-way traffic - entirely. Carlisle attacked the home end of the ground and there were various points where the Glovers struggled to get the ball out of their own half. Former Hartlepool United winger Nathan Thomas planted a ball into the box with Hallam Hope got on the end of, but Stuart Nelson got in the way of the attempt. Then Thomas tried one from 25 yards out, with Nelson getting his body behind the ball well. Callum O'Hare dragged his shot wide, and the concern was that Yeovil weren't doing an awful lot to stretch Carlisle and give them something to think about at the other end.
Carlisle needed to win the match to have any hope of making the play-offs and they continued their pressure by working a short corner into the path of Stefan Scougall, which was drilled wide. Next Michael Jones tried his luck from distance, but again Stuart Nelson was comfortable in getting behind the shot. Carlisle finished the half with more efforts from Scougall, Jones and Nathan Thomas and perhaps the pattern was that a lot of their chances were coming from distance, as once they got into the box the Glovers defence was standing firm, with Bevis Mugabi particularly looking rock solid in how he forced Carlisle away from goal.
Initially, when the second half commenced, it looked like more of the same. Nathan Thomas had a shot saved before Carlisle got their best chance of the game, as a Michael Jones ball through the middle found Hallam Hope behind the back four. However, Stuart Nelson stood up well to block the shot, and although it squirmed behind him, a Glovers defender cleared the loose ball to safety.
It took 57 minutes, but at that point the Glovers actually had their first shot of the game! Jake Gray had just had a cross into the box blocked out for a corner, and from the resulting set-piece, the ball was only half cleared with a cross from Courtney Duffus finding Alex Dobre, whose header was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar for a second corner. Almost as if a penny had dropped within the Glovers ranks, Dobre tried his luck again two minutes later - this time the shot from the edge of the box was well over the crossbar, but it began to change the tone of the game, with two teams now in the match, rather than one.
The balance of the match was also influenced by a series of substitutions. Alefe Santos made way for Yoann Arquin, meaning that Jake Gray moved into the middle to cover the central position, whilst Arquin took up Gray's wide role. Then Ryan Seager replaced Tristan Abrahams, as Alex Dobre dropped into the other wide position. These changes seemed to energise Yeovil, who played out the remainder of the match as the better team. Alex Pattison's shot around the penalty box wasn't strong enough to worry Adam Collin, but Yeovil quickly followed it up with a Tom James near post header that showed great movement as the ball whistled wide of the goal.
As Alex Fisher became the final substitution of the afternoon, replacing Courtney Duffus, he almost scored with his first touch, as his glancing header went across to the far post, with Anthony Gerrard almost making a mess of it as he tried to clear the ball but came close to nudging it into his own net. From his new central position, Jake Gray then produced two fierce shots that saw keeper Adam Collin make two flying parried saves in quick succession as the first attempt rebounded back out to Gray for a second go. But Yeovil couldn't quite convert this flurry of late chances, even though in injury time Ryan Seager produced an excellent angled header that surprised Collin, forcing him to leap to his left to stop the ball.
It stayed goalless in what ultimately was a game of two halves - or perhaps of two-thirds and a third, where once Yeovil woke up and started playing, they deserved a goal from that final half hour play. What they got instead was their third consecutive draw, which guaranteed they finish bottom of the Football League. National League football awaits, and if they are to be successful at that level, they need to find players who can turn the sort of play we saw in the final 30 minutes into goals.
Link: 2018-19 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Carlisle United 0.
1. Stuart Nelson
8. Matt Worthington 5. Bevis Mugabi 6. Omar Sowunmi (Capt) 23. Tom James
10. Jake Gray 17. Alex Pattison 30.Alefe Santos 16. Tristan Abrahams
11. Courtney Duffus 25. Alex Dobre
31. Tommy Scott (GK) 9. Alex Fisher (80 mins for Courtney Duffus) 15. Gabriel Rogers 18. Yoann Arquin (70 mins for Alefe Santos) 26. Daniel Ojo 27. Ryan Seager (76 mins for Tristan Abrahams) 28. Devon Arnold
30 Adam Collin
4 Gary Liddle 5 Anthony Gerrard 6 Tom Parkes 2 Gary Miller
8 Michael Jones 15 Regan Slater 17 Callum O'Hare
16 Nathan Thomas 9 Hallam Hope 22 Stefan Scougall
7 Jason Kennedy 10 Jamie Devitt 11 George Glendon 12 Macaulay Gillesphey 13 Mark Cullen (70 mins for Regan Slater) 29 Louis Gray
Yeovil Bookings: Alex Pattison (foul, 24 mins), Jake Gray (foul, 88 mins)
Carlisle United Bookings: Anthony Gerrard (foul, 69 mins), Michael Jones (foul, 77 mins)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 57%; Shots: 7; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 5; Fouls: 7.
Carlisle United Match Statistics: Possession: 43%; Shots: 18; Shots On Target: 8; Corners: 6; Fouls: 4.
Referee: Matthew Donohue (Manchester). Assistants: Justin Amey (Dorset) and Marvyn Amphlett (Worcestershire). Fourth Official: Richard Hulme (Somerset).
Attendance: 3,418 (with 358 Carlisle United supporters).
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