Match Details: 26/12/2009
Yeovil Town 4-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Keiran Murtagh (36), Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala (71), Jonathan Obika (74), Sam Williams (87)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Alex McCarthy, 2. Craig Alcock, 4. Stefan Stam, 5. Steven Caulker, 8. Keiran Murtagh, 9. Sam Williams, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 13. Ryan Mason, 14. Dean Bowditch, 21. Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala, 28. Nathan Smith
Subs: 3. Nathan Jones, 6. Terrell Forbes, 11. Andy Welsh, 15. Richard Martin, 16. Scott Murray, 23. Danny Hutchins, 26. Jonathan Obika,
Substitutes Used: Jonathan Obika for Dean Bowditch (67 mins), Scott Murray for Gavin Tomlin (75 mins), Andy Welsh for Ryan Mason (81 mins)
Bookings: Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala (Foul, 68), Scott Murray (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 83)
Yeovil Town served up the perfect Boxing Day treat for their supporters yesterday by seeing off relegation-threatened Wycombe Wanderers by a 4-0 scoreline. To be fair to the visitors, the scoreline belied how tight the game had been for 70 minutes, with goalkeeper Alex McCarthy winning the Sponsor's Man of the Match for a string of saves whilst only Keiran Murtagh's strike from the edge of the box in the first half separated the two sides. But when Jean-Paul Kalala tapped in on 71 minutes, the floodgates opened, and Yeovil's counter-attacking saw Jonathan Obika and Sam Williams polishing off the afternoon's work.
With Shaun MacDonald back at Swansea City, manager Terry Skiverton chose to preserve his formation, and slot Keiran Murtagh into the midfield. Gavin Tomlin and Ryan Mason frequently swapped positions throughout the game - whether that was a predefined tactic, or whether it was because both players had their best moments 'in the hole' and their weakest moments in central midfield won't be revealed of course, but it showed a first half, where Yeovil took time to work out their positions in midfield, and it was the visitors, marshalled by former Glover Tommy Doherty, that were bossing the central areas, albeit without creating too much.
Wycombe's early dominance in midfield was partially due to them slotting an extra man in that area, preferring to opt for a 4-4-1-1 formation in the absence of their striker John Akinde, rather than allow Matt Harrold to face his former club. They carved out chances through John Mousinho, who shot into the arms of Alex McCarthy, a scuffed shot from Jon-Paul Pittman that went wide of the target, and an angled drive that McCarthy saved again, after Scott Davies had managed to roll off the shoulder of Steven Caulker. The middle chance was inadvertantly started by referee Roger East, who twice blocked Glovers attempts to clear the ball by the official's dreadful sense of positioning. It was just as well or Mr East's blushes that Pittman's swing with his unfavoured foot was poor.
At the other end, a stunning block by Lewis Hunt prevented Dean Bowditch from getting through on goal, after he outpaced Craig Woodman down the flank. Gavin Tomlin attempted to lob from 40 yards when Scott Shearer's goal clearance landed at his feet with Shearer well out of his goal. Tomlin also looped a header wide of the target that he probably should have done better with, whilst Nathan Smith got up field to push a shot wide of the target. Overall though, this was a fairly even first half, with Yeovil probably edging it in terms of possession.
The first goal finally came 36 minutes into the game, after a Ryan Mason corner was met by a Yeovil head, then a Wycombe head, only for the ball to drop to the edge of the box and to Keiran Murtagh. Those who saw his goal at Huddersfield Town earlier this season knew what was coming - a sweetly struck volley from the edge of the box that crashed into the net, via a Wycombe defender on the goal-line and the woodwork. 1-0 and the Yeovil players began to relax a bit, playing their best football of the half following the goal, with a Ryan Mason long range effort dipping just over the bar.
Early in the second half, Keiran Murtagh should have doubled his tally and Yeovil's tally when Ryan Mason's low cutback from the left ran into the path of the midfielder, but from eight yards out, his shot struck Craig Woodman close to the goal-line rather than the back of the net. Wycombe weren't out of it yet though, and as Yeovil's frustration grew that they couldn't grab the second goal to close the game out, so did the visiting side's own confidence and attacking prowess. Jon-Paul Pittman was denied by an outstanding block from Craig Alcock as he broke past Yeovil's central pairing. Then came the two saves of the match, with former Glover Luke Oliver and his defensive partner Chris Westwood, both producing looping headers that saw Alex McCarthy bend and stretch his body to get fingertip saves over the crossbar. At 1-0, these three incidents were to prove crucial, with the game now on a knife edge.
The fact that Wanderers were bringing their central pairing into attacking positions though, gave a clue as to the risks they were taking, and minutes after Jonathan Obika had been introduced as a substitute for a limping Dean Bowditch, Yeovil's counterattacking play was to rip apart the Wycombe defence. A quick throw-in under the Cowlin Stand saw Ryan Mason and Jonathan Obika combine down the left, and Wycombe's defence were caught napping as a low pass across the box from Obika found Jean-Paul Kalala racing into the box, and not even Scott Shearer's desperate looking dive vaguely in the direction of Kalala was going to deny him his first goal of the season. The relief in the ground went off the scale.
Three minutes later and 2-0 became 3-0. Jean-Paul Kalala produced a low pass through the middle for Jonathan Obika to race onto, and the striker looked cool and composed as he slotted the ball under Scott Shearer's body to leave Wycombe looking stunned at how quickly their grip on the game had been lost.
With Obika having already been introduced as a substitute, Scott Murray and Andy Welsh were also introduced to the field, replacing the tired legs of Gavin Tomlin and Ryan Mason. Welsh has been the 'assist king' since his arrival at Huish Park, and he needed just six minutes of action to prove that point yet again - his run down the left produced a low ball across the face of the box, and with Wycombe's defence now in disarray, and their heads going down, not even Sam Williams treading on the ball and then losing sight of it under his own feet, could deny him the time to eventually work out what he'd done with it, and to toe-poke the ball over the line for the fourth and final goal.
A crazy afternoon of football, and rather like the Norwich game, stopping the clock on the hour mark, nothing would have prepared those present for the final half hour of football. The game was summed up when the sponsors named Alex McCarthy as their Man of the Match - his saves at 1-0 were crucial and pivotal to the course of the game. Had Wycombe equalised at 1-1 then the end result could have been very different. But the more that Wycombe pressed the gamble button by pushing men forward, the more that Yeovil exposed them on the counter-attack. Wycombe may at times have looked like the 23rd-placed side that they currently are, but the Glovers did their job well, and will go into Monday's game at Swindon Town in high spirits.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 4 Wycombe Wanderers 0.
Scorers: Keiran Murtagh (36 mins, 1-0), Jean-Paul Kalala (71 mins, 2-0), Jonathan Obika (74 mins, 3-0), Sam Williams (87 mins, 4-0)
Yeovil Town: (4-1-2-1-2)
1. Alex McCarthy
2. Craig Alcock 5. Steven Caulker 4. Stefan Stam 28. Nathan Smith
21. JP Kalala
13. Ryan Mason 8. Keiran Murtagh
10. Gavin Tomlin
14. Dean Bowditch 9. Sam Williams
15. Richard Martin (GK) 3. Nathan Jones 6. Terrell Forbes 11. Andy Welsh (81 mins for Ryan Mason) 16. Scott Murray (75 mins for Gavin Tomlin) 23. Danny Hutchins 26. Jonathan Obika (67 mins for Dean Bowditch)
1. Scott Shearer
2. Lewis Hunt 23. Chris Westwood 6. Luke Oliver 3. Craig Woodman
18. Matt Phillips 20. John Mousinho 8. Tommy Doherty 29. Kevin Betsy
22. Scott Davies
16. Jon-Paul Pittman
12. Jamie Young (GK) 5. Michael Duberry 10. Matt Bloomfield 15. Stuart Green 24. Stuart Beavon (63 mins for Matt Phillips) 30. Kadeem Harris (78 mins for John Mousinho) 9. Matt Harrold (73 mins for Jon-Paul Pittman)
Yeovil Bookings: Jean-Paul Kalala (68 mins, foul), Scott Murray (83 mins, taking free kick too quickly)
Wycombe Bookings: Luke Oliver (22 mins, foul)
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire). Assistants: Brett Huxtable (Devon) and Richard Martin (Somerset). Fourth Official: Mark Pottage(Somerset).
Attendance: 5,055 (including approx 300 Wycombe fans).