Yeovil Town gained a priceless three points at the County Ground this afternoon after they beat Swindon Town 3-2 on their own patch, to lift themselves out of the relegation zone and leapfrog their hosts. Goals from the unlikely sources of Craig Alcock and Lee Peltier saw the Glovers gain a two goal lead, only for the Robins to roar back with two goals on either side of half time. An end-to-end second half saw the Glovers have the last laugh though, with Gavin Tomlin's shot being turned past his own keeper by Jerel Ifil to win the match for Yeovil.
An emotional finish saw four Yeovil players reveal messages under their shirts for Darren Way and Bruce James on the final whistle, with a result that was greeted with extreme passion by manager Russell Slade and his players, who at least were able to raise a smile on the back of a rotten week.
The Glovers went into the match making two changes as Gifton Noel-Williams returned from tonsilitus and Craig Alcock came back from an ankle injury. Gavin Tomlin was displaced to the bench, whilst Aidan Downes failed to make the sixteen, possibly due to an injury sustained last weekend. The Glovers got off to a timid stuttering start, immediately under the cosh, and with it not being clear how they would respond to the midweek shock news of Darren Way's car crash injury, the worry was that psychologically the green-and-whites might cave in. But sometimes teams can get dramatic and welcome lifts and that came for Yeovil 10 minutes into the game through their first attack.
A Danny Schofield corner was met by a great header by Craig Alcock, ghosting in late and planting a six yard shot that went in off the underside of the bar for his first ever first team goal. The strike saw the whole Yeovil side lift their game up several notches as the Robins reacted with shock to conceding such an early goal.
By the time Yeovil got 28 minutes into the first half, they were well on top. Danny Schofield's clever flick into the path of Lee Peltier beat the Swindon offside trap by a whisker and the midfielder swept the ball home to double Yeovil's lead. Peltier's celebration revealed a message under his shirt for Darren Way, but referee Graham Salisbury decided to be the Christmas Scrooge by booking Peltier for that 'offence'. Sometimes the letter of the law that officials have to stick to can be an arse.
A 2-0 half time lead seemed to be on the cards. However, right on the final kick of the first period, Swindon got themselves a route back into the game. Two minutes into injury time, Terrell Forbes fouled five yards outside the area, and Michael Timlin produced maximum punishment as he evaded Josh Wagenaar's outstretched arm to score direct and bring matters back to a more balanced 1-2 half time scoreline.
Two minutes after the break, Swindon's comeback was complete, and for the second time, Josh Wagenaar was left wanting. A cross into the box saw the Yeovil keeper come out to punch, but his failure to make serious contact saw the ball fall into the path of Jon-Paul McGovern who had the easiest of chances to fire the ball into a gaping net.
Michael Timlin could have put Swindon in front as Yeovil stumbled onto the ropes, reeling backwards at having lost the two goal lead so quickly, but thankfully Timlin fired over the bar. Then Terrell Forbes produced a wonderful block from a Craig Easton chance to deny Swindon again. The game eventually switched to an utterly frenetic match, running from end-to-end at the pace of a tornado, with Swindon applying the pressure, but Yeovil looking dangerous on the break.
With 18 minutes remaining, Terry Skiverton showed the touch of a masterclass midfield playmaker as he chipped the ball into the path of Gavin Tomlin, who had come on for a tiring Gifton Noel-Williams. Tomlin chested the ball down and fired in on goal, with Jerel Ifil getting the last touch and turning the ball past his own keeper.
With now Yeovil holding the upper hand at 3-2, Swindon immediately introduced Barry Corr as a substitute, going into a 4-3-3 formation, and manager Russell Slade also responded by getting Lee Peltier to perform a man-to-man marking job on the tall Irishman. Terrell Forbes produced his second stunning block on a Swindon striker, stopping Simon Cox in his tracks as he aimed to pull the trigger.
As the clock ticked down, Simon Cox almost got a late equaliser, when Paul Warne's sloppy pass to Craig Alcock was intercepted, but their top scorer didn't have his shooting boots on and skewed wide from just 12 yards out. Cox almost got the ball again from a set piece after Josh Wagenaar failed to come for the ball from close range but again the Glovers escaped. The game could have been all over right on the 90 minutes mark at the other end when Luke Rodgers broke through clean on goal, but his audacious chip went wide of the goal frame. Then Danny Schofield broke clear on goal, only for Phil Smith to save his shot on goal.
The game by now could have been 3-3 or 5-2 such was the end-to-end nature of it, with neither sides defences having an easy ride across the 90 minutes. However, whilst last week's match against Stockport went against Yeovil, this week's game went for them, with three minutes of injury time being eased out in a professional manner. The final whistle understandably was greeted like a cup final victory - not so much for the result itself, but for the emotions that the club has been put through during the week. Sometimes there can be a happy ending, and as broad grins broke out on and off the field, let's hope two people in Yeovil and Dorchester Hospitals were also able to raise a smile.
Final Score: Swindon Town 2 Yeovil Town 3.
Scorers: Craig Alcock (0-1, 10 mins), Lee Peltier (0-2, 28 mins), Michael Timlin (1-2, 45 mins), Jon-Paul McGovern (2-2, 47 mins), Jerel Ifil (2-3, own goal, 72 mins)
Swindon Town: (4-4-2)
1. Phil Smith
2. Jack Smith 5. Jerel Ifil 6. Hasney Aljofree 30. Callum Kennedy
10. Jon-Paul McGovern 8. Craig Easton 4. Michael Timlin 11. Anthony McNamee
31. Simon Cox 32. Lee Peacock
12. Peter Brezovan (GK) 9. Barry Corr (74 mins for Anthony McNamee) 19. Michael Pook 21. Blair Sturrock (83 mins for Callum Kennedy) 25. Sean Morrison (20 mins for Hasney Aljofree)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
13. Josh Wagenaar
12. Craig Alcock 4. Terry Skiverton 6. Terrell Forbes 28. Nathan Smith
14. Paul Warne 16. Gary Roberts 27. Lee Peltier 11. Danny Schofield
15. Luke Rodgers 25. Gifton Noel-Williams
3. Nathan Jones 9. Andy Welsh 10. Gavin Tomlin (65 mins for Gifton Noel-Williams) 18. Keiran Murtagh 23. Aaron Brown
Swindon Bookings: None.
Yeovil Bookings: Lee Peltier (revealing message under shirt, 30 mins), Terrell Forbes (foul, 45 mins), Gary Roberts (kicking ball away, 68 mins), Gavin Tomlin (blocking off goalkeeper, 90 mins)
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire). Assistants: Richard Kendall (Bedfordshire) and Richard Smith (West Midlands). Fourth Official: James Cox (Worcestershire).
Link: 2008-09 Latest League One Table.
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