Yeovil Town clocked up their fifth win in six matches as Gary Johnson's magic wand continues to do its work during the second half of the season. The past month has seen the Glovers pick up 15 points out of their last 18, with three of those wins coming on the road, and at Boundary Park, goals from Gavin Williams and Andy Williams contributed to that run, with a Zander Diamond header briefly putting the Latics back level during the second half. Now up to 15th place in the table, and eight points clear, matters are a far cry away from their position at the foot of the table late last year.
Going into the match, Johnson made two changes to his starting line-up with the suspended Dean Parrett dropping out of the squad, whilst Lawson D'Ath slotted in on the bench. Replacing them were Jonathan Franks and Jonathan Obika; the first in a right-wing position, whilst the second came back into the side as a second striker as the more familiar 4-4-2 formation was restored. Curtis Haynes-Brown dropped out of the squad entirely, as Kieran Agard returned from suspension, though only as far as the bench.
The game started with Oldham forcing a series of early corners, with one seeing Andy Williams standing deep to clear the ball, much in the same way that matters had started on Tuesday night. A weak Sam Walker punch forced another corner kick, with the home side doing well in the way that they charged down their opponents, preventing Yeovil from being able to easily play the ball out from the back.
The opening goal came through the first shot that the Glovers had on the Latics goal; Reece Brown was dispossessed via a block tackle in midfield, and that set Gavin Williams through on goal - his shot from 25 yards out was planted into the top goal for a superb opener and for the first goal scored at Boundary Park in matches between the two sides for three and a half years.
Inevitably back came Oldham, forcing more corners, but they struggled to create clear-cut chances. Their best of the opening 45 minutes came when Shefki Kuqi shot just wide of the target with Sam Walker scrambling for ground, then a James Tarkowski header just before the stroke of half time where the centre-back really should have got his attempt on target; instead lifting the ball over the bar. The unusual feature of the half was that of head injuries - Jonathan Obika shrugged his off, but Zander Diamond and Dominic Blizzard both withdrew temporarily with head wounds, coming back with Terry Butcher style turbans that made them easy to spot for the remainder of the game.
The second half saw Gavin Williams fire wide of the target, whilst Jonathan Obika's lack of confidence in front of goal saw him scuff an attempt into the hands of home keeper Alex Cisak. But Oldham were continuing to look dangerous from set pieces, and they got their equalising goal from that source - a Filipe Morais corner that Zander Diamond got far too much room inside the box to plant his header home and suddenly lift the quiet Boundary Park crowd.
Shefki Kuqi could have made it 2-1 very quickly, when he was put clean through, but he seemed to either trip over his own feet, or lose his way on the crumbling pitch, and instead he ended up looking a bit embarrassed. Instead it was the Glovers who provided the next blow. Ten minutes after the Diamond header, Ed Upson and Jonathan Obika combined, with the latter providing the assist for Andy Williams, who continued his extraordinary run of form by rounding goalkeeper Alex Cisak, and firing the ball into the back of the net for his eighth goal in eight games, and his ninth strike since the return of Gary Johnson to Huish Park.
Both sides went for the next goal - Alex Cisak did better the next time Andy williams drew him out of his goal for another one-on-one, as the striker's tiring legs perhaps meant he lost out on the battle - Cisak gathering the ball at the second attempt. Then in the closing stages a succession of Oldham subs forced pressure on the Glovers goal - their closest chance coming when a Filipe Morais free kick was flicked on by James Tarkowski, whose header missed everyone at the back stick, including most importantly the goalframe itself.
Five minutes of signalled injury time increased to nearly seven from referee Jock Waugh, who otherwise had another good game in the middle. But Oldham couldn't force an equaliser despite their late pressure, and those tired Yeovil legs held on for another win. Five wins in six matches, or seven in the last ten if you prefer - the momentum is going the Glovers way, and with only Tranmere winning of the sides below them, for once a win has made a big difference - up to 15th and eight points clear of the drop. There's still work to be done, notably with the home pairing of Scunthorpe United and Walsall coming up during the coming week, but there should be more pressure on their visitors to win than there will be on Yeovil Town, who stand now on 42 points - around eight short of the psychological target they need to continue to aim at.
Link: 2011-12 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Oldham Athletic 1 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Gavin Williams (0-1, 10 mins), Zander Diamond (1-1, 55 mins), Andy Williams (1-2, 65 mins)
1. Alex Cisak
19. Kieran Lee 5. Zander Diamond 16. James Tarkowski 29. David Mellor
7. Filipe Morais 6. Reece Brown 11. Tom Adeyemi 18. Chris Taylor
9. Reuben Reid 32. Shefki Kuqi
13. Dean Bouzanis (GK) 2. Jean Yves Mvoto 14. Matt Smith (79 mins for Shefki Kuqi) 20. Youssouf M'changama (69 mins for Reece Brown) 26. Carl Winchester (87 mins for Chris Taylor)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Sam Walker
2. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 28. Richard Hinds 17. Jonathan Grounds
16. Jonathan Franks 8. Ed Upson 6. Dominic Blizzard 10. Gavin Williams
7. Andy Williams 29. Jonathan Obika
24. Gareth Stewart (GK) 4. Bondz N'Gala (88 mins for Dominic Blizzard) 12. Michael Woods 14. Lawson D'Ath 18. Kieran Agard
Oldham Bookings: Shefki Kuqi (73 mins, dissent)
Yeovil Bookings: Richard Hinds (81 mins, kicking ball away), Jonathan Obika (90 mins, foul)
Referee: Jock Waugh (South Yorkshire). Assistants: Jonathan Hunt (Liverpool) and Paul Thompson (Chesterfield). Fourth Official: Gordon Johnson (Liverpool).
Attendance: 4,689 (including 180 Yeovil fans)
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