Match Details: 01/12/2009
Yeovil Town 1-3 Walsall
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Jonathan Obika (30)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Alex McCarthy, 2. Craig Alcock, 5. Steven Caulker, 6. Terrell Forbes, 7. George O'Callaghan, 11. Andy Welsh, 13. Ryan Mason, 16. Scott Murray, 23. Danny Hutchins, 25. Shaun MacDonald, 26. Jonathan Obika,
Subs: 4. Stefan Stam, 8. Keiran Murtagh, 9. Sam Williams, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 14. Dean Bowditch, 15. Richard Martin, 28. Nathan Smith
Substitutes Used: Dean Bowditch for Andy Welsh (61 mins), Sam Williams for Jonathan Obika (70 mins), Nathan Smith for Danny Hutchins (77 mins)
Bookings: Danny Hutchins (Foul, 37)
Yeovil Town crashed to their second home league defeat of the season, as clinical finishing by Walsall saw them go down by a 1-3 scoreline. In another match played in poor weather and driving rain, another poor start saw Darren Byfield and Steve Jones grab a two goal lead. Jonathan Obika pulled one back before the break, in theory setting up a grandstand second half, but Yeovil huffed'n'puffed and never really got anywhere, with Sam Parkin killing the game off a minute from time.
Two changes were made to the side that lost at Gillingham a week ago, with Jean-Paul Kalala suspended and replaced by George O'Callaghan and a tactical switch as Stefan Stam dropped to the bench for Terrell Forbes. The Glovers got off to a fairly horrendous start - with Walsall twice threatening Yeovil's goal in the opening couple of minutes, but with less than five minutes on the clock, the visitors were deservedly ahead, when a right-wing cross from Steve Jones was met by the head of Darren Byfield who had all the time and space he needed to head home, with the Glovers back line left looking at each other.
Walsall looked far more confident than their hosts, dipping chipped balls over the top of the Glovers back line and attempting to use the conditions to their advantage by running onto the loose ball. Scott Murray on his 500th career appearance threatened briefly at the other end when Clayton Ince smothered his shot, but the Midlands side only needed 20 minutes on the clock before they repeated their opening goal. Another ball in from the right flank - this time from Troy Deeney, saw Steve Jones arrive late and plant a second header past Alex McCarthy, despite the keeper this time getting a hand to the ball.
Scott Murray had another good chance to score on his milestone game, as he put an Andy Welsh crossfield pass across the face of goal. But 10 minutes after Walsall scored, Yeovil finally came to life, with a bursting run from Craig Alcock, whose inside pass to Jonathan Obika was perfect for the striker. His shot on target was saved by goalkeeper Clayton Ince but Obika was alert enough to bundle the rebound and put Yeovil firmly back into the game.
The goal put Yeovil's tails up and they finally began to play the football they had been lacking up until Obika's strike. Ryan Mason curled a shot just wide of the target as the Glovers finished the half looking far more promising. That said, Yeovil still looked wobbly at the back, giving away a few too many free kicks in their defensive third, but at least kept the gap down to a single goal, with the promise of the wind at their backs in the second period.
That second half saw Yeovil in the ascendancy albeit without creating a huge glut of chances. Walsall were living on the edge of whatever they could get away with in terms of slowing the game down, swapping players taking throw-ins and free-kicks whenever they could, with referee James Linington doing little to persuade them to speed up play, and this took away a lot of Yeovil's momentum. The lack of an electronic substitution board wasn't exactly helping the speed of the substitutions either.
Bringing Dean Bowditch and Sam Williams into play, with Andy Welsh and Jonathan Obika making way, they preserved their starting formation, albeit with an additional striker on the pitch. But the substitutions didn't really have their desired outcome, with the Glovers struggling to build up a head of steam. With five minutes left, a Ryan Mason free kick was flicked on by a Walsall head and out for a corner, and from the resultant Scott Murray corner, Shaun MacDonald couldn't get past Clayton Ince. That was to be Yeovil's best second half chance, aside from a penalty appeal after Ryan Mason appeared to be tripped inside the box.
With just a minute left of the ninety, it was two of Walsall's substitutes who proved the more effective, with Alex Nicholls outpacing Yeovil's final change in Nathan Smith and for the third time in the match, a cross in from the right found Walsall substitute Sam Parkin sliding in to finish from close range, with Yeovil's defence all at sea in the rapidly decaying weather conditions. Game over at 1-3.
The result sees Yeovil slip down to 14th in the League One table in front of their third lowest Football League crowd. Those that didn't show up didn't miss too much - the second half saw barely any chances from either side, whilst another slow start from the Glovers ultimately condemned them to their fourth defeat in their last six games. Slowly but surely Yeovil have got themselves into a bit of a rut, and with MK Dons and Norwich City the next two opponents, they will have to play well to drag themselves back into the form that they had a few weeks ago.
Link: 2009-10 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Walsall 3.
Scorers: Darren Byfield (0-1, 5 mins), Steve Jones (0-2, 20 mins), Jonathan Obika (1-2, 30 mins), Sam Parkin (1-3, 89 mins)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1)
1. Alex McCarthy
2. Craig Alcock 5. Steven Caulker 6. Terrell Forbes 23. Danny Hutchins
16. Scott Murray 7. George O'Callaghan 25. Shaun MacDonald 11. Andy Welsh
13. Ryan Mason
26. Jonathan Obika
15. Richard Martin (GK) 4. Stefan Stam 8. Keiran Murtagh 9. Sam Williams (70 mins for Jonathan Obika) 10. Gavin Tomlin 14. Dean Bowditch (61 mins for Andy Welsh) 28. Nathan Smith (77 mins for Danny Hutchins)
1. Clayton Ince
2. Rhys Weston 6. Emmanuele Smith 5. Mark Hughes 3. Netan Sansara
7. Steve Jones 12. Mark Bradley 8. Dwayne Mattis 20. Matthew Richards
10. Troy Deeney 27. Darren Byfield
21. Rene Gilmartin (GK) 9. Sam Parkin (84 mins for Darren Byfield) 11. Alex Nicholls (88 mins for Troy Deeney) 15. Josh O'Keefe (73 mins for Matthew Richards) 16. Darryl Westlake 18. Peter Till 28. Clayton McDonald
Yeovil Bookings: Danny Hutchins (37 mins, foul)
Walsall Bookings: None.
Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight). Assistants: Mark Philpott (Cornwall) and Andrew Turner (Devon). Fourth Official: Adam Nunn (Wiltshire).
Attendance: 3,508 (including 122 Walsall fans).