Match Details: 12/04/2008
Yeovil Town 0-3 Crewe Alexandra
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Steve Mildenhall, 5. Scott Guyett, 6. Terrell Forbes, 9. Lloyd Owusu, 10. Marcus Stewart, 16. Jaime Peters, 20. Marc Bircham, 24. Andy Kirk, 26. Stephen Maher, 27. Lee Peltier, 28. Nathan Smith,
Subs: 4. Terry Skiverton, 13. Darren Behcet, 15. Liam Bridcutt, 32. Marvin Williams, 33. Aidan Downes
Substitutes Used: Aidan Downes for Stephen Maher (62 mins), Terry Skiverton for Andy Kirk (62 mins), Marvin Williams for Jaime Peters (74 mins)
Bookings: Marc Bircham (Foul, 62)
Yeovil Town went down to an emphatic 0-3 home defeat this afternoon to fellow relegation-battlers Crewe Alexandra at Huish Park. Two goals from the impressive Nicky Maynard and a late tap-in from Tom Pope lifted Crewe away from the relegation zone and in doing so renewed concerns within the Glovers camp as to their own fate.
The week's big talking point resulted in Steve Mildenhall making his comeback between the sticks, with reserve keeper Darren Behcet only making it onto the bench. Elsewhere there were few surprises in the Glovers line-up, with Matthew Rose missing with a thigh injury, and the viruses sustained by Terry Skiverton and Anthony Barry still sufficient to keep the former out of the eleven and the latter out of the sixteen entirely.
The first half was, in terms of possession and chances, a bright one for the Glovers as they dominated the first 45 minutes, putting Crewe on the back foot. Unfortunately although the visitors rarely attacked, they had a potent weapon in striker Nicky Maynard, who was head and shoulders above any of the other 21 players on the pitch today. He had already threatened three minutes into the game when he turned and lost his marker on the edge of the box, firing a shot that went wide of the posts. But just eight minutes into the game he proved he could do that trick more than once, receiving the ball with his back to goal and then turning Terrell Forbes and firing into the far corner to shock the Huish Park crowd.
The Glovers thankfully recovered from that early set-back and they went on to dominate the first period, albeit with Crewe occasionally threatening on the break. Lloyd Owusu had the ball in the back of the net with a sharp turn and shot from 10 yards out, but the linesman's offside flag denied him. Andy Kirk forced Crewe keeper Ben Williams into a smart save, and Williams even managed to trump that one towards the end of the half with an outstanding parry at the foot of his right post when left-back Nathan Smith overlapped and broke into the box. The only disappointment was that Yeovil didn't deliver from one of their first half chances - certainly on the balance of play they should not have been going in a goal down.
The second period opened with the game far more even, and Crewe squeezing and crowding the midfield to an extent that often you could see all 20 outfield players within a 20 yard strip around the halfway line. Both defences pushed high up the field, and the end result was deadlock. The flow of the game was not being helped by some awful decisions by referee Russell Booth - not that the Glovers could complain because for every gaffe he made that went against them, there was another one that inexplicably went in their favour.
Out of that deadlock though, Crewe managed to fashion a second goal with a moment of opportunist brilliance from Nicky Maynard. Marc Bircham and Marcus Stewart got in each others way in midfield and Steven Schumacher took advantage, lobbing a ball forward for Maynard to chase. Terrell Forbes looked favourite to get there, but the Crewe striker is in top form and he poked a boot around the body of Forbes and in the same move neatly chipped the ball over Steve Mildenhall, allowing the ball to drop right under the crossbar to double Crewe's lead.
At that point, the Glovers appeared to mentally get up and leave the ground. Demoralised and dispirited, they allowed Crewe to show their passing game for the final 30 minutes of the game. Manager Russell Slade made a double substitution, taking off Andy Kirk and Stephen Maher, the former of which provoked derision from the home terrace. Terry Skiverton and Aidan Downes were the replacements, with Yeovil shuffling their pack into a conventional 4-4-2 formation to try and stretch the Crewe defence - Lee Peltier moved up into midfield, whilst Marcus Stewart went up front, but the game was gone already.
Injury was added to insult when Lloyd Owusu went down in a nasty collision that saw him stretchered off. Thankfully the early diagnosis is that of bruising rather than any fracture, but the net result was that with Marvin Williams having come on as a third substitute for the tiring Jaime Peters, the Glovers were forced down to 10 men, and that pretty much became nine with Marc Bircham clearly struggling to make it through the final 10 minutes after being on the end of a firm challenge.
The loss of Owusu forced Terry Skiverton up front as Yeovil gambled, pretty much reducing themselves to just Guyett and Forbes at the back, and when Crewe pushed forward on the break, and Forbes over-committed himself, that left Guyett trying to cover three Crewe attackers, and there was only going to be one outcome - Tom Pope netting a final minute tap-in that saw a flood of Glovers fans heading for the exits with the game now well and truly over. It could have been worse were it not for two further blocks from Steve Mildenhall to deny Maynard the match ball and an outstanding defensive block from Nathan Smith - you sensed there were only half a dozen Yeovil players out there still trying to stop the damage from getting worse.
In the end despite dominating the first period, Yeovil were well beaten, both from a mental point of view and from the scoreboards above the stands. Thankfully Gillingham's defeat at home to Swansea City ensured that Yeovil's five point gap from the relegation zone is maintained, with of course one less game for all sides to play. But it is the pattern of Yeovil's games in the past couple of months that are particularly concerning. In games that do not go their way, matches appear to reach a tipping point where the team, almost collectively, give up and go home. Clearly some of that will be down to their own self-confidence, but these are games where giving up is not an option and where games last 90 minutes, and not the 45 played out by many today.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Crewe Alexandra 3.
Scorers: Nicky Maynard (0-1, 8 mins), Nicky Maynard (0-2, 58 mins), Tom Pope (0-3, 90 mins)
Yeovil Town: 4-3-1-2
1. Steve Mildenhall
27. Lee Peltier 5. Scott Guyett 6. Terrell Forbes 28. Nathan Smith
16. Jaime Peters 20. Marc Bircham 26. Stephen Maher
10. Marcus Stewart
9. Lloyd Owusu 24. Andy Kirk
Subs: 13. Darren Behcet (GK) 4. Terry Skiverton (62 mins for Andy Kirk) 15. Liam Bridcutt 32. Marvin Williams (74 mins for Jaime Peters) 33. Aidan Downes (62 mins for Stephen Maher)
1. Ben Williams 28. George Abbey 14. Chris McCready 6. Julien Baudet 30. Patrick Boyle 4. Gary Roberts 7. Steven Schumacher 34. Kenny Lunt 9. Nicky Maynard 15. Tom Pope 35. Joe Anyinsah
Subs: 21. Owain fon Williams (GK) 23. Daniel O'Donnell (90 mins for Joe Anyinsah) 18. Byron Moore 36. Dean Morgan 17. Mark Carrington
Yeovil Bookings: Marc Bircham (62 mins, foul)
Crewe Bookings: None
Referee: Russell Booth (Nottinghamshire). Assistants: K Johnson and Andrew Sainsbury (Wiltshire). Fourth Official: Roger Vaughan (North Somerset).
Attendance: 4,785 (including approx 150 Crewe fans).