Match Details: 23/01/2010
Yeovil Town 2-1 Exeter City
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Stefan Stam (6), Ryan Mason (41)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Alex McCarthy, 2. Craig Alcock, 3. Nathan Jones, 4. Stefan Stam, 5. Steven Caulker, 9. Sam Williams, 13. Ryan Mason, 14. Dean Bowditch, 21. Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala, 25. Shaun MacDonald, 26. Jonathan Obika,
Subs: 6. Terrell Forbes, 8. Keiran Murtagh, 11. Andy Welsh, 16. Scott Murray, 17. Aidan Downes, 28. Nathan Smith, 33. Ben Roberts
Substitutes Used: Keiran Murtagh for Ryan Mason (60 mins), Andy Welsh for Jonathan Obika (67 mins), Nathan Smith for Dean Bowditch (90 mins)
Yeovil Town picked up a valuable three points this afternoon at Huish Park as they leapfrogged above local rivals Exeter City in a tight match that saw all three goals scored during the first half. Stefan Stam netted his first for the Glovers with a 6th minute header, before Adam Stansfield did the inevitable and netted against his former club midway through the first period. But the eventual winner came four minutes before the break when Ryan Mason accepted a tap-in after a Sam Williams strike had been blocked on the line.
The Glovers went into the match making just the one change to Tuesday night's line-up with Sam Williams coming in for Keiran Murtagh as Yeovil entirely changed their shape, lining up in a 4-2-1-3 formation, as Williams became an additional striker on the field.
Yeovil missed Williams' physical presence on Tuesday night, and six minutes into the first half he won a free kick after he battled his way for the ball. That set piece was sent in by Jean-Paul Kalala, Stefan Stam got the faintest of touches with his head and that was enough to deceive visiting keeper Paul Jones, who let the ball roll between his legs and into the net. Back in August, Stam opened the scoring at St James Park in the equivalent fixture - this time he picked the right net, and Jones was the one looking rather embarrassed by what was a fairly soft goal.
Exeter had started slightly the better side, and although the goal set them back somewhat they gradually grew in confidence, and by the time they equalised midway through the first half they probably deserved it. The inevitable scorer had to be Adam Stansfield, turning his marker from a Ryan Harley pass and rolling the ball into the net. 1-1 and to his credit, Stansfield chose to merely trot away from goal, rather than celebrate in front of his former supporters.
From there, the Grecians grabbed full control of the game, with Yeovil struggling to pick up Ryan Harley in midfield, whilst Stansfield's off the ball running was a permanent thorn in Yeovil's side. As the half closed up, it seemed that the Glovers would be glad to go into the break with a 1-1 scoreline, but instead of that they netted a second.
A Nathan Jones cross into the box bobbled around in the area, Exeter fail to clear their lines and the ball dropped to Sam Williams inside the box. His shot was cleared off the line by an Exeter defender, but the rebound fell nicely to Ryan Mason who landed a tap-in with the keeper on the deck, and the goal gaping. 2-1 at the break, and probably a little fortunate to be that way.
That said, it could still have easily been 2-2 with Marcus Stewart of all people failing to get a shot on target from a Ryan Harley pass - from 10 yards out he skewed his golden opportunity wide. Like Stansfield, Stewart had got a good reception from the Glovers supporters, but they let him know what they thought of that miss at that point.
The second period turned into more of the same, with Exeter dominating possession, dominanting chances, but failing to make that count. It was a bit of a cat and mouse affair, with Yeovil's wider strikers of Bowditch and Obika getting dragged back into winger possessions as Sam Williams was left more and more isolated as 4-2-1-3 almost shrank to a 4-5-1 by virtue of how many players were left in midfield when Yeovil regained possession.
As Exeter began to press the gamble button further, finally gaps began to open up for Yeovil to relieve the pressure with their own counter-attacking. Keiran Murtagh who was on as a substitute, spurned a great opportunity to put the Glovers 3-1 up on the break after Dean Bowditch won position on the halfway line and Yeovil caught the visitors on the break. Bowditch's ball in the box was well placed for Murtagh, but the midfielder wasted the chance by trying to pass the ball rather than shoot. Sometimes the Glovers can be guilty of trying to walk the ball into the net, and this was one such case.
Later on though, Murtagh redeemed himself ten minutes later by remembering to take the ball on himself and producing a powerful drive that Paul Jones parried away. Jones came to Exeter's rescue again as Yeovil caught Exeter napping at the back - a ricochet off a Nathan Jones block putting Sam Williams free, and Exeter waited for an offside flag that was never going to come. Unfortunately for Williams, he shot too close to the advancing Jones and another chance went begging.
At the other end, Exeter's possession wasn't being capitalised upon, with Marcus Stewart in a surprisingly wasteful mood as he struggled to make the impact that Stansfield had against his former club, twice sending second half shots wide. Bertrand Cozic was left unmarked inside the box after Steven Caulker landed on the deck and no-one covered for him, but the Exeter midfielder shot against the advertising boards.
During injury time both Keiran Murtagh and Sam Williams got involved in a comedy moment when they both had a succession of opportunities to net, with the ball continually falling back to their feet on the rebound, but neither quite getting the ball away in a free enough position to grab the goal that would have sealed the game. But it was enough to keep the ball in Exeter's penalty box for a vital 60 seconds and wind the clock down significantly.
At last the final whistle blew, and whilst this was not a vintage performance by any stretch of the imagination, a win's a win and three points catapults the Glovers up to the dizzy heights of 12th in the League One table - an odd statistic given that they started the day just two points off the relegation spots. There's still a long long way to go, but after a frustrating start to 2010, at least the first win of the year is now in the bag.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 2 Exeter City 1.
Scorers: Stefan Stam (6 mins, 1-0), Adam Stansfield (22 mins, 1-1), Ryan Mason (41 mins, 2-1)
Yeovil Town: (4-2-1-3)
1. Alex McCarthy
2. Craig Alcock 4. Stefan Stam 5. Steven Caulker 3. Nathan Jones
21. JP Kalala 25. Shaun MacDonald
13. Ryan Mason
14. Dean Bowditch 9. Sam Williams 26. Jonathan Obika
33. Ben Roberts (GK) 6. Terrell Forbes 8. Keiran Murtagh (60 mins for Ryan Mason) 11. Andy Welsh (67 mins for Jonathan Obika) 16. Scott Murray 17. Aidan Downes 28. Nathan Smith (90 mins for Dean Bowditch)
27. Paul Jones
6. Matthew Taylor 29. Troy Archibald-Henville 3. Richard Duffy
2. Steve Tully 4. Alex Russell 7. Ryan Harley 14. Bertrand Cozic 11. Scott Golbourne
9. Adam Stansfield 16. Marcus Stewart
1. Andy Marriott (GK) 12. Barry Corr (82 mins for Marcus Stewart) 20. Richard Logan (68 mins for Troy Archibald-Henville) 21. James Dunne 22. Liam Sercombe 28. Joe Burnell 45. Stuart Fleetwood (81 mins for Adam Stansfield)
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Exeter Bookings: Richard Duffy (foul)
Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset). Assistants: Andrew Bennett (Devon) and Ceri Richards (Carmarthenshire). Fourth Official: William Bull (Hampshire).
Attendance: 6,282 (including 2,020 Exeter supporters).