Match Details: 18/08/2009
Exeter City 1-1 Yeovil Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Ryan Mason (72)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Alex McCarthy, 2. Craig Alcock, 4. Stefan Stam, 5. Steven Caulker, 7. George O'Callaghan, 9. Sam Williams, 11. Andy Welsh, 13. Ryan Mason, 22. Danny Schofield, 26. Jonathan Obika, 28. Nathan Smith,
Subs: 3. Nathan Jones, 6. Terrell Forbes, 8. Keiran Murtagh, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 15. Richard Martin, 16. Scott Murray, 32. Andre McCollin
Substitutes Used: Terrell Forbes for Stefan Stam (17 mins), Gavin Tomlin for Andy Welsh (29 mins), Keiran Murtagh for Jonathan Obika (71 mins)
Bookings: Stefan Stam (Foul, 16)
Yeovil Town salvaged a point from St James Park tonight as a brilliant piece of opportunism from Tottenham Hotspur loan player Ryan Mason ensured a 1-1 draw against Exeter City. An own goal from Stefan Stam had been sending all three points Exeter's way in a game with few chances, but a poor clearance from goalkeeper Paul Jones landed the ball at Mason's feet from 35 yards out and he instantly powered the ball past the out of position keeper for the sort of goal that deserves to be featured on a few football highlights programmes over the coming week.
The Glovers went into the game making four changes - all of which appeared to be tactical. Gone were both full-backs replaced by Craig Alcock and Nathan Smith, whilst Danny Schofield made a quick return from his hip-flexor muscle problem. Meanwhile Jonathan Obika got his first start of his second spell with the Glovers, displacing Gavin Tomlin.
Obika nearly made an instant impact from a corner - heading goalward just 10 minutes into the match, but only to find his attempt blocked on the line. However, it was Exeter who were by far on top in the first half - in particular skinning Yeovil down the right flank on numerous occasions as Nathan Smith was left exposed by Exeter doubling up on him time and time again. One such move brought Exeter's opening goal. Former Glover Marcus Stewart had a blinder during the first half, and it was his assist through to Liam Sercombe that put the winger clean through on the flank. Sercombe's cross was whipped in and dangerous and all Stefan Stam could do was to slice the ball into his own net.
Stam had looked uncomfortable throughout the opening quarter hour, and when he fouled James Norwood out on the wing, he went down in a heap, and he had to retire injured, with the final insult being a booking for the foul as he left the field. Exeter's raids down Yeovil's left side continued, with Andy Welsh looking a virtual passenger. It was little surprise that Welsh came off after half an hour, but perhaps the unexpected part was Gavin Tomlin replacing him, as Yeovil abandoned their wingers entirely - switching to the 4-1-2-1-2 diamond formation used frequently last season, with O'Callaghan at the base, and Tomlin on top.
As far as the first half was concerned, it didn't really change matters too much - the best Yeovil could offer following that early Obika effort was a Steven Caulker header that went across the face of goal, missing the far post by a foot. But for the second match running the Glovers had come out of the blocks very slowly indeed and Exeter deserved their lead.
Whether a half time team talk did the trick, or whether Exeter gradually ran out of ideas and began to sit on their lead, the second period appeared to disappear into nothingness. Both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances, despite Yeovil forcing a number of corners that home keeper Paul Jones was often left flapping at. Jones wasn't faring much better with his kicking - once producing an almighty slice for a corner, where he was fortunate that his miscue happened wide of his own goalposts. Hence it shouldn't have come as too much surprise when the keeper's somewhat iffy performance gifted Yeovil their equaliser.
A Richard Duffy passback was poorly cleared by Jones, straight into the path of Ryan Mason. The Spurs teenager had a split second to decide what to do. With Jones out of position but scrambling back, the moment would be lost if he dithered, but instead he whacked the ball back from 35 yards out and perfectly into the opposite corner from where Jones was trying to recover his ground. Mason's second goal in two games, and this one had pretty much come out of nothing.
The last 10 minutes saw some frantic end to end play from both sides as they pushed up for the winning goal, but they both lacked an incisive touch. Marcus Stewart faded badly in the second half, whilst the Glovers blocked out far more emphatically than they had done during the first period, and the end result was a share of the points for the Glovers and one that given their overall performance on the night, they would probably gladly take and run.
Final Score: Exeter City 1 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Stefan Stam (14 mins, 1-0, own goal), Ryan Mason (72 mins, 1-1)
Yeovil Town (4-4-2):
1. Alex McCarthy
2. Craig Alcock, 4. Stefan Stam, 5. Steven Caulker, 28. Nathan Smith
22. Danny Schofield, 13. Ryan Mason, 7. George O'Callaghan, 11. Andy Welsh
26. Jonathan Obika, 9. Sam Williams
15. Richard Martin (GK) 3. Nathan Jones 6. Terrell Forbes (17 mins for Stefan Stam) 8. Keiran Murtagh (71 mins for Jonathan Obika) 10. Gavin Tomlin (29 mins for Andy Welsh) 16. Scott Murray 32. Andre McCollin
Exeter City (4-4-2):
27. Paul Jones
2. Steve Tully 6. Matthew Taylor 29. Troy Archibald-Henville 3. Richard Duffy
4. Alex Russell 14. Bertrand Cozic 7. Ryan Harley 22. Liam Sercombe
16. Marcus Stewart 31. James Norwood
1. Andy Marriott (GK) 10. Craig McAllister (79 mins for Bertrand Cozic) 11. Scott Golbourne (85 mins for Steve Tully) 15. Rob Edwards 18. Neil Saunders 20. Richard Logan (79 mins for James Norwood) 28. Joe Burnell
Exeter Bookings: None.
Yeovil Bookings: Stefan Stam (16 mins, foul).
Referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire). Assistants: Kevin Johnson (Somerset) and Eamonn Smith (Surrey). Fourth Official: Lee Swabey (Devon).
Attendance: 6,650 (including 1,116 Glovers).