Match Details: 09/02/2008
Walsall 2-0 Yeovil Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Steve Mildenhall, 3. Nathan Jones, 4. Terry Skiverton, 5. Scott Guyett, 10. Marcus Stewart, 12. Matthew Rose, 15. Liam Bridcutt, 16. Jaime Peters, 17. Simon Church, 24. Andy Kirk, 27. Lee Peltier
Subs: 8. Anthony Barry, 9. Lloyd Owusu, 14. Paul Warne, 19. Craig Alcock, 25. Zoltán Stieber,
Substitutes Used: Craig Alcock for Steve Mildenhall (46 mins), Lloyd Owusu for Jaime Peters (64 mins), Paul Warne for Simon Church (78 mins)
Bookings: Simon Church (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 64), Paul Warne (Foul, 79)
Yeovil Town went down 2-0 at the Bescot Stadium today, leaving them still without a win in 2008. However unlike last week's somewhat suspect performance against Huddersfield Town, this was a match that had far more bright moments and encouragement as the Glovers attempted to get their season back on track, showing plenty of grit and spirit in doing so.
The Glovers went into the game with what manager Russell Slade cryptically described on the radio as a "4-5-1ish" formation. In practice that meant that when the Glovers attacked, the likes of Simon Church, Marcus Stewart and Jaime Peters were encouraged to support the lone striker of Andy Kirk, but when they defended, everyone bar Kirk was expected to muck in.
On the whole the formation restricted chances for the home side down to a small handful, with Steve Mildenhall only drawn into one 'exhibition save' - the sort that is made for the cameras to pick off, than truly make him break sweat. At the other and Andy Kirk sent a swivel-and-shoot attempt down the throat of home keeper Clayton Ince, whilst new loan signing Liam Bridcutt showed great signs of being a good asset when he broke forward and forced Ince to tip over the bar.
The one negative moment of the half was Walsall striker Tommy Mooney's robust challenge on Glovers keeper Steve Mildenhall. Whilst it earned Mooney a yellow card, it caused Mildy to fall awkwardly, jarring his knee and leaving him in extreme pain on the deck. After a lengthy delay, the keeper chose to continue, although it was quite plain that he could not kick the ball. Somehow Walsall failed to take further advantage, although a couple of further barges on the Glovers keeper on crosses could have done with better protection from referee Michael Oliver, with little doubt that Walsall were trying to further aggravate Mildenhall's problems.
The second half opened up with a surprise - the sight of right-back Craig Alcock donning the gloves and Mildy failed to reappear. Craig is not the tallest player in the side, but perhaps Slade preferred to keep the back four settled, where they had shown great composure, especially following the Mildenhall injury.
Although Alcock dropped the first ball that came his way, he gained confidence, and the Glovers continued their pressing game. However midway through the second half, those signs of improvement counted for little as Walsall took the lead with a little bit of fortune to go with it. Lee Holmes put a ball out onto the wing towards Kevin Betsy but misplaced his pass. The loose ball seemed to be the bait to draw the Glovers defence out, but Betsy got to it first and returned it to Holmes, who 12 yards out managed to strike the ball past Alcock in the Yeovil goal. Not even Mildy would have dealt with that one.
The Glovers tried a number of minor tactical tweaks to try and get themselves back into the game, but the match was sealed in the final minute, when substitute Alex Nicholls managed to beat the offside trap and powered through on goal. Alcock managed to put in a superb blocking save to stop Nicholls grabbing the glory, but the ball ran straight into the path of Kevin Betsy - and the former Glovers loan star put the final nail in the day's coffin.
In the one sense, another week without a win is of obvious concern as defeat saw the Glovers slip down to 15th in the table, albeit by still conserving the same margin between themselves and the relegation slots. And the injury to Steve Mildenhall, coupled with pre-match groin injuries for Marvin Williams, Terrell Forbes, Wilfried Domoraud and Marc Bircham - all sustained on the training ground - will also be of concern. However, this was a much improved performance, and that must be what Yeovil take into Tuesday's game against Northampton.
Final Score: Walsall 2 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Lee Holmes (67 mins), Kevin Betsy (90 mins).
1. Clayton Ince
2. Rhys Weston 5. Anthony Gerrard 6. Ian Roper 23. Paul Boertien
28. Kevin Betsy 22. Edrissa Sonko 7. Darren Wrack 16. Lee Holmes
10. Tommy Mooney 19. Troy Deeney
Subs: 4. Alassane N'Dour 12. Ishmel Demontagnac 13. Bertrand Bossu (GK) 17. Alex Nicholls (56 mins for Troy Deeney) 26. Richard Taundry (50 mins for Darren Wrack)
Yeovil Town: 4-5-1
1. Steve Mildenhall
27. Lee Peltier 4. Terry Skiverton 5. Scott Guyett 3. Nathan Jones
17. Simon Church 12. Matty Rose 10. Marcus Stewart 15. Liam Bridcutt 16. Jaime Peters
24. Andy Kirk
Subs: 8. Anthony Barry 9. Lloyd Owusu (64 mins for Jaime Peters) 14. Paul Warne (78 mins for Simon Church) 19. Craig Alcock (46 mins for Steve Mildenhall) 25. Zoltan Stieber
Walsall Bookings: Tommy Mooney (36 mins, foul), Lee Holmes (81 mins, unsporting behaviour), Kevin Betsy (84 mins, unsporting behaviour)
Yeovil Bookings: Simon Church (65 mins, unsporting behaviour), Paul Warne (79 mins, foul)
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland). Assistants: Mark Hutchinson (Nottinghamshire) and Geoff Law (Leicestershire). Fourth Official: Nigel Smith (Derbyshire).