Match Details: 24/01/2009
Southend United 0-1 Yeovil Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Aaron Brown (6)
Yeovil Line-Up: 6. Terrell Forbes, 9. Andy Welsh, 11. Danny Schofield, 12. Craig Alcock, 13. Josh Wagenaar, 14. Paul Warne, 15. Luke Rodgers, 17. Aidan Downes, 23. Aaron Brown, 27. Lee Peltier, 28. Nathan Smith
Subs: 3. Nathan Jones, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 18. Keiran Murtagh, 19. Andre McCollin, 25. Lee Cox,
Substitutes Used: Gavin Tomlin for Paul Warne (30 mins), Keiran Murtagh for Lee Peltier (46 mins), Nathan Jones for Andy Welsh (67 mins)
Bookings: Luke Rodgers (Foul, 34), , Craig Alcock (Foul, 65)
Yeovil Town gained a priceless three points at Roots Hall this afternoon, as a single goal from Aaron Brown just six minutes into the match proved to be the divide between both sides in a feisty encounter. Whilst the result leaves the Glovers four points clear of the drop zone, injuries to Paul Warne and Lee Peltier in the first half, and a red card for Aidan Downes early in the second period for a midfield tackle will give manager Russell Slade something to think about on the way home.
The Glovers went into the game making just two changes in their sixteen. Lee Peltier, who was back from suspension, was a straight swap for the injured Gary Roberts, whilst new loan signing Lee Cox displaced Jordan Street on the bench. They came up against a Southend side featuring four former Yeovil Town players in the starting line-up.
They got off to a flyer, with it taking just six minutes for the deadlock to be broken. Andy Welsh's cross into the box was only flicked at by former Glovers keeper Steve Mildenhall, and Aaron Brown showed a surprising amount of goal-awareness for a central defender, by hooking the ball over his shoulder with his back to goal, to set up a 1-0 early lead.
This wasn't a game for finnesse or silky skills. This was a game for the midfield battler, where both sides went in for full-blooded tackles in an effort to gain their side an advantage. Territorially at least, the Shrimpers held the upper hand, even if most of their chances went wide of the target, or ran out of juice once they reached the brick wall of the Arron Brown and Terrell Forbes partnership in the heart of Yeovil's defence. Southend's main aerial threat came from Adam Barrett - their equivalent of Skivo in both boxes - but Brown was marking him superbly throughout.
The Glovers suffered two injury blows during the first period - a knee injury to Paul Warne, and an awful tackle on Lee Peltier by Kevin Betsy right on the stroke of half time, with the former Glovers loan player perhaps lucky that the card for the late tackle was not a different colour. Either way, Shrimpers manager Steve Tilson took his own action - Betsy did not reappear for the second period, whilst Peltier was also missing and will require an x-ray to determine just how bad the injury is. The problems meant that Yeovil had already been forced to introduce former Fisher duo Keiran Murtagh and Gavin Tomlin before the second half commenced.
Matters got worse eight minutes into the half when some more frenetic midfield tackling ended with Aidan Downes going in for a crunching tackle on Southend's Johnny Herd. Referee Paul Taylor charged in about one nano-second later, like an Olympic torch-bearer, brandishing a red card before anyone - including himself - could have considered whether the tackle was worthy of such punishment. Certainly you have to wonder how Betsy's first half chopping down on Peltier that took the Yeovil midfielder out of the game could be any less of a foul. Unfortunately referee Taylor had a stinker throughout, ultimately leading to both sets of fans heckling him for a series of odd-ball decisions.
Inevitably the man advantage allowed Southend the ability to surge forward, and the Glovers had keeper Josh Wagenaar to thank for two or three superb saves during this period, to ensure his clean sheet remained intact. Blocks and parries from chances involving Theo Robinson, Franck Moussa and Damian Scannell were the pick, with one being a brilliantly brave block at the Southend player's feet as he prepared to pull the trigger.
In the end, the Glovers could have made it safe, as Luke Rodgers began to take advantage of the wide open spaces Southend were leaving at the back as they pressed forward. With several late balls being banged down the channels for him to chase, Keiran Murtagh and Gavin Tomlin almost took advantage of balls into the box, but a two goal win in such circumstances would have been just plain greedy.
This was a monumental backs-against-the-wall performance at times. Never polished, never fluent and often devoid of chances; Yeovil have played far better this season and lost matches. However, when you are already missing Marc Bircham, Darren Way, Terry Skiverton and Gary Roberts and suffer the loss of Paul Warne, Lee Peltier and Aidan Downes, leaving the side playing with almost the last 10 available players in their squad, it takes guts and togetherness to not throw in the towel. Once again, the attitude was superb; the three points priceless. At the end, Russell Slade celebrated by throwing his jacket into the crowd of the delirious away end - let's hope the club don't bill him for it! The only worry is how many bodies will be left for Tuesday night's match against Huddersfield Town. Just how paper-thin can a paper-thin squad get before some action has to be taken?
Final Score: Southend United 0 Yeovil Town 1
Scorer: Aaron Brown (6 mins, 0-1)
1. Steve Mildenhall 15. Osei Sankofa 2. Simon Francis 6. Adam Barrett 18. Johnny Herd 21. Kevin Betsy 7. Anthony Grant 20. Jean Francois Christophe 14. Franck Moussa 9. Lee Barnard 10. James Walker
24. Ian Joyce (GK) 12. Damian Scannell (83 mins for Osei Sankofa) 17. Theo Robinson (46 mins for Kevin Betsy) 19. Charles Ademeno 30. Stuart O'Keefe (82 mins for Jean-Francois Christophe)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
13. Josh Wagenaar
12. Craig Alcock 23. Aaron Brown 6. Terrell Forbes 28. Nathan Smith
17. Aidan Downes 27. Lee Peltier 11. Danny Schofield 9. Andrew Welsh
14. Paul Warne 15. Luke Rodgers
3. Nathan Jones (67 mins for Andy Welsh) 10. Gavin Tomlin (30 mins for Paul Warne) 18. Keiran Murtagh (46 mins for Lee Peltier) 19. Andre McCollin 25. Lee Cox
Southend Bookings: Kevin Betsy (44 mins, foul), James Walker (90 mins, foul)
Yeovil Bookings: Luke Rodgers (34 mins, foul), Craig Alcock (65 mins, foul). Red Card: Aidan Downes (53 mins, serious foul play)
Referee: Paul Taylor (Hertfordshire). Assistants: Lee Betts (Norfolk) and Chris Francis (Cambridgeshire). Fourth Official: Warren Atkin (West Sussex).
Attendance: 6,409 (including approx 200 Yeovil supporters).