Match Details: 13/04/2013
Stevenage Borough 0-2 Yeovil Town
npower League One
Yeovil Goals: Sam Foley (53), James Hayter (81)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Marek Stech, 2. Luke Ayling, 5. Byron Webster, 6. Dominic Blizzard, 8. Ed Upson, 9. James Hayter, 14. Sam Foley, 17. Paddy Madden, 18. Daniel Burn, 20. Joe Edwards, 22. Kevin Dawson
Subs: 3. Jamie McAllister, 4. Richard Hinds, 10. Gavin Williams, 12. Gareth Stewart, 15. Lewis Young, 16. Nathan Ralph,
Substitutes Used: Richard Hinds for James Hayter (89 mins)
Bookings: Daniel Burn (Foul, 44), James Hayter (Foul, 75), , Kevin Dawson (Foul, 90)
Yeovil Town secured their third win in a row on Saturday afternoon, as they beat Stevenage at Broadhall Way. Second half goals from Sam Foley and James Hayter saw the Glovers remain in fourth place in the League One table, as they guaranteed a play-off place. Despite the late dismissal of Dan Burn for delaying the taking of a throw-in, Stevenage didn't show too many signs of getting back into the game, leading to a relatively comfortable win once the first goal went in.
Team selection saw the Glovers made two changes to their starting line-up - one on the teamsheet and one that materialised after the game had kicked off. Sam Foley replaced Angelo Balanta who was suffering from a stomach bug. However although Matthew Dolan was named on the teamsheet, he didn't make kick-off, with a knee injury in the warm-ups taking him out of the match, as Dominic Blizzard took his place in the line-up that actually started the game.
The first half was a fairly scrappy affair, although Luke Ayling could have opened up the scoring when he narrowly fired over the crossbar from the corner of the area. Then Paddy Madden's shot was deflected wide of the target for a corner, following good running by Joe Edwards to set him up. The Glovers did have the ball in the back of the net when a James Hayter header was parried by goalkeeper Steve Arnold, with Edwards following in the rebound, but a linesman's flag had gone up for offside, chalking it off before the ball had hit the back of the net.
Stevenage had a fair balance of play during the first half, with James Dunne firing at Marek Stech's near post, to find the Czech Republic keeper parrying the attempt relatively comfortably. Of course we had the experience of 'Westley tactics' to endure as well - something that had already been experienced three times this season through Preston North End matches was the tendency for home players to writhe around in 'agony' on a repeated basis, and to repeatedly slow down play, whilst their team-mates did their best to cajole the match referee into producing yellow cards. Thankfully referee James Linington is one of League One's less excitable referees, and had a calm approach to proceedings, ultimately clocking up four minutes of first half injury time to recognise all the delays.
As the half closed up, Stevenage began to put some pressure on the Glovers, and Marek Stech had to be on hand to produce a stunning save from a Daniel Lopez header, with Lucas Akins having had the opportunity to plant a free header back across the box to his fellow striker. That was undoubtedly the best chance of the opening 45 minutes, acting as a wake-up call in a half that hadn't been the greatest, either from Yeovil's point of view, or in terms of the flow of the game. The game was also reaching a point where players frustrations were starting to boil over, notably when former Glover Bondz N'Gala went in with a thunderous midfield tackle on Ed Upson that took the Yeovil player out, provoking a melee that saw N'Gala fortunate to gain only a yellow, but crucially Dan Burn pick up a yellow card for getting involved in the afters. A bit of calming down and focus would be needed at the break.
Stevenage opened up the half getting a lot of possession, and former Glover Luke Freeman fired over the bar early on. However, eight minutes into the half the Glovers took the lead, as Sam Foley scored his first goal 2013. Kevin Dawson fed James Hayter, who could have had a strike on goal himself, but instead the striker fed Foley, who cut inside to get the ball onto his right foot, planting a looping curling ball into the top right hand corner for a superb opening goal. 0-1 up and the valuable break-through.
As with Yeovil's recent match against Preston North End at Huish Park that saw Graham Westley sacked as their manager, the Glovers goal ensured that the tempo of the game changed, and it changed to Yeovil's clear advantage. Paddy Madden almost doubled Yeovil's lead when a superb through ball saw him get in behind the Stevenage defence who were now having to push out a little more, but keeper Steve Arnold made a textbook save by narrowing what Madden had to aim at and blocking well at his near post.
With nine minutes remaining, the Glovers got the crucial goal that they needed, as Sam Foley and James Hayter combined once again, only with Foley providing the assist this time around. Ed Upson and Kevin Dawson were involved in the mop-up from a Yeovil corner that Stevenage could only half clear. The ball was put wide to Foley out on the left flank, his shot could only be parried by goalkeeper Steve Arnold, and gobbling up the rebound from close range was Hayter, who notched his 15th goal of the 2012-13 season - quietly totting up an impressive tally given that most of the spotlight has been on his strike partner during the past six months.
The game was successfully closed out, although in the 90th minute we saw one of the most bizarre red cards that you'll ever witness. Dan Burn, already on a yellow card, picked up the ball for a throw-in, and then dithered and dithered, until referee James Linington decided that he was witnessing some timewasting. Up went a second yellow card, and Burn had to walk off the pitch, leaving Yeovil Town down to ten men. A possible advantage though, was that the dismissal actually benefited Burn - reducing what would have been a two match ban for ten yellow cards down to a one match ban for a sending off - such are the complexities of the FA's disciplinary system.
Thus three more valuable points were obtained, and with Tranmere losing, Milton Keynes Dons losing, Swindon losing and Walsall drawing, the results meant that the win at Broadhall Way was enough to guarantee a position in the top six for the 2012-13 season, with three games to spare. The question remaining now, is can the Glovers achieve the improbable and go one better by sneaking an automatic spot?
Final Score: Stevenage 0 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Sam Foley (0-1, 53 mins), James Hayter (0-2, 81 mins)
1. Steve Arnold
2. David Gray 29. Bondz N'Gala 14. Mark Roberts 35. Max Ehmer
10. Filipe Morais 8. James Dunne 7. Anthony Grant 15. Luke Freeman
11. Lucas Akins 23. Dani Lopez
16. Chris Day 3. Lee Hills (75 mins for Anthony Grant) 9. Marcus Haber (62 mins for Dani Lopez) 18. Gavin Mahon 22. Miguel Comminges 30. Sam Hoskins (71 mins for Filipe Morais) 34. Roarie Deacon
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Marek Stech
2. Luke Ayling 5. Byron Webster (Capt) 18. Daniel Burn 20. Joe Edwards
22. Kevin Dawson 8. Ed Upson 6. Dominic Blizzard 14. Sam Foley
9. James Hayter 17. Paddy Madden
12. Gareth Stewart 3. Jamie McAllister 4. Richard Hinds (89 mins for James Hayter) 10. Gavin Williams 15. Lewis Young 16. Nathan Ralph
Stevenage Bookings: Bondz N'Gala (44 mins, foul)
Yeovil Bookings: Dan Burn (44 mins, off the ball incident), James Hayter (75 mins, foul), Kevin Dawson (90 mins, foul). Red Card: Dan Burn (90 mins, second bookable offence).
Stevenage Match Statistics: Possession: 40%; Shots: 6; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 3; Fouls: 11.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 60%; Shots: 10; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 7; Fouls: 10.
Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight). Assistants: Paul Harris (Kent) and Guy Stretton (Leicestershire). Fourth Official: Ian Rathbone (Northamptonshire).
Attendance: 3,516 (with approx 500 Yeovil supporters).
Footnote: Matthew Dolan was originally named in the starting line-up for this fixture. His place upon kick-off was taken by Dominic Blizzard, who had been named on the bench.