Match Details: 23/02/2010
Walsall 0-1 Yeovil Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Sam Williams (5)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Alex McCarthy, 2. Craig Alcock, 5. Steven Caulker, 6. Terrell Forbes, 9. Sam Williams, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 14. Dean Bowditch, 20. Owain Tudur Jones, 21. Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala, 25. Shaun MacDonald, 28. Nathan Smith
Subs: 7. Arron Davies, 8. Keiran Murtagh, 11. Andy Welsh, 15. Richard Martin, 16. Scott Murray, 17. Aidan Downes, 23. Danny Hutchins,
Substitutes Used: Arron Davies for Gavin Tomlin (90 mins)
Bookings: Terrell Forbes (Foul, 23), Nathan Smith (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 42)
Yeovil Town gained a hugely valuable three points at the Bescot Stadium tonight, as a Sam Williams goal scored five minutes into the match proved enough to bring home Yeovil's third away win of the season. Against a Walsall side who didn't seem to have their shooting boots on, the Glovers dominated the first half, and even when the Saddlers tried to put pressure on during the second period, they blocked out well, and frustrated the home side into just trying long range shots in an attempt to level the scores.
The Glovers made two changes to Saturday's side, with both wingers scrapped as Aaron Davies and Andy Welsh dropped to the bench, and Gavin Tomlin and Jean-Paul Kalala came into the starting line-up after their recent illnesses. Ryan Mason was fit to play, but once again sat the game out as the 'sixth loanee'.
The game itself got off to a flyer with both sides getting chances inside the first minute. Thirty seconds into the match, Dean Bowditch broke the offside trap from an Owain Tudur Jones through-ball, but Clayton Ince saved well. Straight down the other end and Troy Deeney broke through, but he found his ball into the box blocked by Craig Alcock.
But five minutes into the match, the Glovers got off to a dream start, as a Gavin Tomlin shot was met by Sam Williams. Clayton Ince managed to parry the striker's initial attempt, but with the target man lying on the deck, he was still the first player to meet the rebound and hook the ball into the net from a short distance to leave Ince looking a little sheepish. 1-0 up and a dream start.
Walsall were suffering from a double injury blow on the night, with two full-backs out with Rhys Weston and Darryl Westlake missing through injury. Replacement Emmanuele Smith was clearly struggling in the right-back position, with the Glovers frequently getting in behind their opponents via that flank. Owain Tudur Jones had a shot blocked by a defender, whilst Gavin Tomlin received a cross from Nathan Smith that Tomlin could only head straight at Clayton Ince. Then four minutes before the end of a Yeovil dominated first half, a Jean-Paul Kalala drive forced Ince to parry the ball for a corner, as the home crowd muttered to themselves, and Walsall's front line struggled to get any service in the opening 45 minutes. A Shaun MacDonald shot during injury time was turned out for a corner, as the home crowd booed their side off the field, having failed to muster an on-target shot during the whole of the first half.
Walsall were bound to get a rocket at half time, and so it was little surprise to find them creating the first of many second half chances early on after the break. Troy Deeney turned Terrell Forbes and got the ball into the box, but Alex Nicholls spurned his chance to level the scores. Then at the other end, Dean Bowditch managed to get a cross in that came at Sam Williams very fast, only for him to spoon the ball over the bar as he over-balanced.
The second period saw Walsall gain a lot more possession, with the Glovers looking far less likely to extend their lead. That said, the Saddlers were struggling to get in behind the Glovers back line, largely reduced to pot shots, with plenty of them, but Alex McCarthy largely a spectator in terms of actual shots on goal. At times, the Saddlers seemed to be struggling to hit the proverbial barn door - plenty of attempts at goal, but very few on goal.
As the game wore on, and Walsall even pushed giant centre-back Clayton McDonald up front in a 3-4-3 formation, Yeovil began to carve out their own chances on the break. Steven Caulker of all people almost extended Yeovil's lead as he drove out of defence, then on the break both Sam Williams and Dean Bowditch went close, with Williams forcing Clayton Ince into a strong save, whilst Bowditch's attempt to round Ince saw him run out of room and shoot into the advertising boards.
Three minutes of injury time were nervous moments, but only because Yeovil had held their lead for so long during the night. A total of 85 long minutes for the Glovers to defend a lead is quite some going, but the reality was that Walsall really didn't bring their shooting boots, and it would have been a bit of a travesty if they'd got anything out of the game. Instead, the Glovers got all three points, and lift themselves up to 13th in the League One table, and with a six point gap opening up between themselves and Oldham Athletic, who lost tonight, they can relax a bit during next weekend's match against MK Dons. They aren't quite there yet, but four or five wins between now and the end of the season ought to just about hit the target. Fingers crossed that those can come sooner rather than later.
Link: 2009-10 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Walsall 0 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Sam Williams (0-1, 5 mins)
1. Clayton Ince
6. Emmanuele Smith 19. Jamie Vincent 28. Clayton McDonald 20. Matthew Richards
11. Alex Nicholls 14. Richard Taundry 15. Josh O'Keefe 24. Julian Gray
27. Darren Byfield 10. Troy Deeney
21. Rene Gilmartin (GK) 3. Netan Sansara 5. Mark Hughes 12. Mark Bradley 17. Richard Davies 22. William Grigg 23. Sam Adkins (84 mins for Julian Gray)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Alex McCarthy
2. Craig Alcock 5. Steven Caulker 6. Terrell Forbes 28. Nathan Smith
10. Gavin Tomlin 21. JP Kalala 20. Owain Tudur Jones 25. Shaun MacDonald
9. Sam Williams 14. Dean Bowditch
15. Richard Martin (GK) 7. Arron Davies (90 mins for Gavin Tomlin) 8. Keiran Murtagh 11. Andy Welsh 16. Scott Murray 17. Aidan Downes 23. Danny Hutchins
Walsall Bookings: Alex Nicholls (foul, 42 mins), Clayton McDonald (foul, 50 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Terrell Forbes (foul, 23 mins), Nathan Smith (unsporting behaviour, 42 mins)
Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire). Assistants: Wayne Barratt (Worcestershire) and Russell Fletcher (Derbyshire). Fourth Official: Sian Massey (West Midlands).
Attendance: 2,929 (including 147 Yeovil fans).