Match Details: 29/12/2012
Portsmouth 1-2 Yeovil Town
npower League One
Yeovil Goals: Dominic Blizzard (15), Byron Webster (38)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Marek Stech, 2. Luke Ayling, 3. Jamie McAllister, 4. Richard Hinds, 5. Byron Webster, 6. Dominic Blizzard, 8. Ed Upson, 9. James Hayter, 10. Gavin Williams, 17. Paddy Madden, 18. Daniel Burn,
Subs: 11. Reuben Reid, 12. Gareth Stewart, 19. Gozie Ugwu, 23. Will Agbo, 24. Mitch Brundle
Substitutes Used: Gozie Ugwu for Paddy Madden (90 mins)
Bookings: James Hayter (Foul, 42), Gavin Williams (Foul, 90)
Two first half goals gave Yeovil Town their sixth away win of the 2012-13 season, as they finished 2012 on a high with a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Portsmouth. Strikes from the unlikely sources of Dominic Blizzard and Byron Webster as they capitalised on loose balls following set pieces, were enough to guarantee the points. Pompey fought back in the second half, scoring through Paul Benson and later hitting the woodwork twice, but Yeovil hung in there to claim the win on their first ever visit to Fratton Park.
Team selection saw the Glovers name an unchanged starting line-up, with Sam Foley still not having recovered from a hamstring problem that kept him out on Boxing Day. On the bench, Keanu Marsh-Brown was 'not selected' for the match despite boss Gary Johnson indicating that he was not injured - suggesting that his future in a green and white shirt may be limited. Will Agbo made up the numbers as his replacement.
Yeovil have not always been able to grab wins against the 'bigger' clubs in League One, but Pompey are struggling with them going into today's game not having won in 12 matches. Yeovil were better in the opening stages though, with Ed Upson firing narrowly wide, and Gavin Williams cheekily trying to lob goalkeeper Simon Eastwood after he came off his line to clear the ball, but was then caught badly out of position. The returned ball landed on top of the goal frame.
The Glovers took the lead 15 minutes into the match when a Jamie McAllister free kick was taken, with Gavin Williams having been fouled by Liam Walker. Pompey made a hash of clearing their lines from the set piece, with Adam Webster's poor header reaching Dominic Blizzard, and the midfielder deftly fired into the bottom corner to give Yeovil the lead.
Some of Portsmouth's tackling was desperate, as they began to clock up bookings, without really threatening as an attacking force. The nearest they came was from a spot of dithering in the Yeovil defence as Marek Stech and Luke Ayling got in a muddle when a ball drifted into the penalty box, with Stech thumping the ball against the body of Liam Walker's body and fortunately out for a goal kick. Stech then redeemed himself after he produced a terrific punch out to thwart Paul Benson, leaving the striker on the deck in the aftermath. Complaints from Izale McLeod about the challenge ensured he landed in the book.
Yeovil extended their lead further, via another Jamie McAllister free kick, seven minutes before the break. Dominic Blizzard had this time been fouled 30 yards from goal, and when the free kick was swung in, again Yeovil were the quickest to react to the second ball when it dropped, as Byron Webster hooked the ball home from close range for a 2-0 lead that sent the 785 travelling fans into delight.
The half ended with Adam Webster committing a shocking foul on Gavin Williams out on the halfway line, with referee Fred Graham deciding to only brand a yellow card for the offence. The home side were loudly booed off at the break, and it wasn't too surprising to find interim boss Guy Whittingham producing a double substitution at half time to liven things up.
The second period was, as expected, a different prospect. Whilst Pompey weren't exactly rampant at the start, they did look a stronger force. Having moved Liam Walker across to Yeovil's slightly more vulnerable left-flank, and Pompey's right, the winger began to get more space to move, and it was his cross into the box that saw Adam Webster react, playing the ball back across the area for Paul Benson to finish from inside the box.
Now it was game on, and for the first time in the match, we started to hear something approaching a Fratton Park atmosphere. Some serious pressure from the home side threatened a quick equaliser, with Benson again running close from another Walker ball into the box. The danger was that Yeovil would cave in, and it took them 10 minutes or so to regain their composure in the game.
When they did break, they frustratingly couldn't keep possession, with James Hayter twice trying to find Paddy Madden in such moves, only to find both players crowded out by the Pompey back four. As the game ticked into the final ten minutes, Portsmouth began to ramp up the pressure again. Paul Benson forced Marek Stech into a flying save from another Walker cross, as the keeper saved at his near post. Then he had to tip a Lubomir Michalik effort onto the same post as the game ticked into the final minute.
Somehow Yeovil held out, although it was possible to criticise them for going far too deep during the final ten minutes. The effort and workrate was certainly there but they didn't help themselves by at times playing with all eleven players back inside their own box which invited pressure that they couldn't relieve. The late introduction of Gozie Ugwu was used partly to deal with that and partly to waste a little bit of time, and thankfully they held on for all three points.
Link: 2012-13 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Portsmouth 1 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Dominic Blizzard (0-1, 15 mins), Byron Webster (0-2, 38 mins), Paul Benson (1-2, 54 mins)
13. Simon Eastwood
2. Mustapha Dumbuya 20. Lubomir Michalik 33. Ricardo Rocha 22. Adam Webster
7. Lee Williamson 19. Darel Russell 8. Brian Howard 6. Liam Walker
14. Paul Benson 9. Izale McLeod
1. Phil Smith 18. Johannes Ertl (65 mins for Ricardo Rocha) 21. Ashley Harris (46 mins for Brian Howard) 23. Scott Allan (46 mins for Izale McLeod) 26. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing 35. Jed Wallace
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Marek Stech
2. Luke Ayling 5. Byron Webster 4. Richard Hinds 18. Daniel Burn
10. Gavin Williams 8. Ed Upson 6. Dominic Blizzard 3. Jamie McAllister
17. Paddy Madden 9. James Hayter
12. Gareth Stewart 11. Reuben Reid 19. Gozie Ugwu (90 mins for Paddy Madden) 23. Will Agbo 24. Mitch Brundle
Portsmouth Bookings: Lubomir Michalik (19 mins, foul), Izale McLeod (33 mins, dissent), Adam Webster (45 mins, foul), Richardo Rocha (51 mins, foul)
Yeovil Bookings: James Hayter (42 mins, foul), Gavin Williams (90 mins, foul)
Portsmouth Match Statistics: Possession: 51%; Shots: 12; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 8; Fouls: 15.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 49%; Shots: 11; Shots On Target: 3; Corners: 5; Fouls: 14.
Referee: Fred Graham (Essex). Assistants: Andrew Turner (Devon) and Nicholas Kinseley (Essex). Fourth Official: Paul Kelly (Kent).
Attendance: 12,370 (including 785 Yeovil fans).