Yeovil Town mathematically guaranteed League One Football for the 2008-09 season after they sensationally beat League One Champions Swansea City on their home patch today at the Liberty Stadium.
Club captain Terry Skiverton and winger Aidan Downes were the heroes as they put the Glovers into a commanding position with a goal in each half. An Andy Robinson strike ensured 15 minutes of jangled nerves at the end, but the Glovers held their nerve and Carlisle United's last minute defeat to Southend United meant that at the end both teams were celebrating in Wales.
The Glovers went into the game relatively injury free, with Nathan Jones a surprise inclusion on the bench, whilst club captain Terry Skiverton was fit enough to start the match. They adopted largely a 4-5-1 formation, although with Jaime Peters given a roving role to move across the front of the midfield and head up to support lone striker Marcus Stewart when needed.
Swansea predictably started strongly with the jubilant home crowd, still savouring last week's promotion, on a high, creating a swirling atmosphere at the Liberty Stadium. A free header from centre-back giant Dennis Lawrence went over the bar from a set piece, but Swansea were finding the majority of their early pressure was ending in long range punts that either went wide, or were comfortable for goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall, who had been a doubt up until the start of the match with an upset stomach that required Darren Behcet to take to the bench for the second game running.
The Glovers rode the early pressure and gradually levelled out the match and ultimately had the cheek to take the lead, slightly against the run of play. Strong build-up from Jaime Peters and Marc Bircham who combined to set away Marvin Williams down the flank, breaking past Swansea full-back Kevin Austin. His cross went into the box and was met perfectly by the head of Terry Skiverton to put Yeovil 1-0 up with 23 minutes gone and to threaten to spoil Swansea's promotion party.
The Glovers grew hugely in confidence following the goal and could have even doubled their lead when Jaime Peters got a cross in from the opposite flank and Marcus Stewart did well to create space and get in a header that home keeper Dorus De Vries did well to get down and block.
Yeovil had to deal with a succession of Swansea corners as they tried to wind down the clock towards the half time break, but again they created the best of the opportunities as the outstanding Nathan Smith broke from defence, dancing past Swansea defenders, nutmegging one, interchanging with Jaime Peters, then getting the ball back and pushing the ball through to Anthony Barry. Unfortunately for the central midfielder he didn't keep his composure and failed to get a firm connection with the ball to convert a golden opportunity. No matter because the Glovers would have taken a 1-0 half time lead under any circumstances.
A quiet start to the second half saw the first true action occurring on the hour mark, and again the Glovers proved they could create the better chances of the game. The move ended with Marcus Stewart creating his own space inside the penalty box, showing his experience inside the box. His header from six yards out though was met by an outstanding reflex save from Dorus De Vries to keep the scoreline down to a single goal.
But the respite for the league leaders lasted only a minute with the Glovers incredibly doubling their lead. Aidan Downes, who was making his full debut, received the ball on the left side of the field and he fired in from the edge of the box for his first Glovers goal and to put the Glovers into dreamland at 2-0 up. Swansea's supporters were stunned into silence.
The game looked to be ending in a comfortable win for the Glovers as Swansea ran out of ideas, but with 11 minutes remaining, Swansea got a lifeline when they converted from one of their many corners - Andy Robinson firing low through a crowded penalty box to bring it back to 1-2 and a nerve-jangling final period of the game.
The game was on a knife-edge and once again Anthony Barry could have sealed it on the break when he was put clean through - Lloyd Owusu setting him away eight yards out but Barry screwed the ball two yards wide of the target, leaving the Liverpudlian with his head in his hands. He knew it should have been game over.
Five minutes worth of injury time only served to extend the agony, with Gillingham now drawing against Bristol Rovers meaning that all Yeovil had to do was to hold on to guarantee a third season of League One football. Swansea seemed to have run out of steam, and some of their fans astonishingly headed for the exits - when you are in the position Swansea are in, why would anyone want to leave a football ground early?
The final whistle blew to jubilant scenes at the away end of the stadium ... and then after a brief pause to celebrations at the home end of the stadium as well! A 90th minute goal for Southend United had scuppered any chance Carlisle United had of catching Swansea, and barring any overturn of Leeds United's points deduction, League One's main silverware was going to Wales, leaving all 18,321 spectators delighted at the final outcome. Whilst the Glovers management and team have come under heavy fire from supporters in recent weeks, they deserve huge credit for the effort they put in today and the way they held their nerve under immense pressure. Now mathematically safe, Yeovil Town must now turn attention towards their plans for the 2008-09 season, and hopefully enjoy the final two matches of the current season with all the immediate worries and concerns now firmly lifted.
Final Score: Swansea City 1 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Terry Skiverton (23 mins, 0-1), Aidan Downes (60 mins, 0-2), Andy Robinson (79 mins, 1-2).
Swansea City: (4-4-2)
21. Dorus De Vries
36. Ashley Williams 5. Alan Tate 15. Dennis Lawrence 3. Kevin Austin
7. Leon Britton 8. Darren Pratley 18. Andy Robinson 28. Thomas Butler
29. Febian Brandy 9. Jason Scotland
Subs: 16. Garry Monk 17. Owain Tudur-Jones 23. Guillem Bauza (70 mins for Kevin Austin) 24. Darren Way 26. Paul Anderson (71 mins for Thomas Butler)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-1-1)
1. Steve Mildenhall
27. Lee Peltier 4. Terry Skiverton 6. Terrell Forbes 28. Nathan Smith
33. Aidan Downes 8. Anthony Barry 20. Marc Bircham 32. Marvin Williams
16. Jaime Peters
10. Marcus Stewart
Subs: 5. Scott Guyett 9. Lloyd Owusu (83 mins for Marc Bircham) 3. Nathan Jones (76 mins for Aidan Downes) 13. Darren Behcet (GK) 24. Andy Kirk
Swansea Bookings: Guillem Bauza (86 mins, foul), Red Card: Darren Pratley (90 mins, professional foul).
Yeovil Bookings: Terry Skiverton (20 mins, foul), Lee Peltier (57 mins, foul), Aidan Downes (64 mins), Marc Bircham (65 mins, foul), Marvin Williams (69 mins, dissent), Steve Mildenhall (89 mins, timewasting)
Referee: Mike Russell (Hertfordshire). Assistants: RJ Martin and Lee Swabey (Devon). Fourth Official: Adrian Matthews (Wiltshire).
Attendance: 18,321 (including 359 Yeovil supporters).
Link: 2007-08 Latest League One Table.
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