Match Details: 07/11/2009
Oxford United 1-0 Yeovil Town
FA Cup First Round
Yeovil Line-Up: 2. Craig Alcock, 3. Nathan Jones, 5. Steven Caulker, 6. Terrell Forbes, 8. Keiran Murtagh, 9. Sam Williams, 11. Andy Welsh, 13. Ryan Mason, 15. Richard Martin, 25. Shaun MacDonald, 26. Jonathan Obika,
Subs: 7. George O'Callaghan, 14. Dean Bowditch, 18. Andy Lindegaard, 23. Danny Hutchins, 31. Rhys Baggridge, 33. Ben Roberts, 34. Robert Clowes
Substitutes Used: Danny Hutchins for Nathan Jones (56 mins), George O'Callaghan for Andy Welsh (62 mins)
Bookings: Terrell Forbes (Foul, 41), Ryan Mason (Foul, 48), Keiran Murtagh (Foul, 66)
Yeovil Town were knocked out of the FA Cup this afternoon by a resolute Oxford United side, with a single goal deciding the tie. That strike came 55 minutes into a match of few chances with Jack Midson lobbing goalkeeper Richard Martin after the Oxford striker won a chipped ball over the top of the Glovers back line that was typical of the home side's attacking play on the afternoon.
The Glovers lined up with two changes from last weekend's game against Leeds United, with Alex McCarthy blocked from playing in the FA Cup by his parent club Reading, whilst Jean-Paul Kalala's suspension saw Keiran Murtagh get a starting spot in the centre of midfield. Scott Murray and Gavin Tomlin continued their absences through injury, but one surprise was the sight of Dean Bowditch amongst the substitutes, even though he did not take to the field of play.
The first half saw both clubs compete well in a relatively even game, although it was Oxford who gradually began to come out on top in the two boxes. Ryan Mason was the Glovers chief threat, firing one attempt over the bar, whilst another was well saved by Oxford keeper Ryan Clarke. But at the other end, the home side were playing a clever long-ball system, with the ball getting aimed at the head of James Constable and their supporting midfielders running onto the second balls.
Matt Green had penalty appeals turned down when he went down in the box with what looked to be the faintest of clipped ankles as he ran at pace at the Yeovil defence, but fortunately referee Steven Cook couldn't make up his mind whether to give the penalty or book Green for diving, and so gave neither. A fairly nasty collision between Damian Batt and Nathan Jones saw Oxford's full-back booked as he charged in late on Jones after the ball was gone, and this was presumably a factor in why Jones ultimately failed to complete the game.
Actual cast iron chances were few and far between, but Oxford had the edge and Jack Midson had the best chance of the half - receiving a cut-back from James Constable, but seeing his shot from eight yards out easily saved by Richard Martin. This hadn't been a particularly impressive first half Yeovil performance but at least they were still in the game.
If there had been hopes that a half time dressing down by Terry Skiverton might galvanise the troops, that wasn't to happen. In fact the second period opened up with more of the same - a big physical battle that Oxford were more suited to than the Glovers. And 10 minutes into that half, the deadlock was broken. A lobbed ball in from the right-hand flank from Adam Murray was allowed to bounce on the edge of the box, and there was a certain amount of dithering amongst Yeovil's defence that allowed Jack Midson to react first and lob the ball over the advancing Richard Martin to put Oxford 1-0 up in front of their home fans.
In theory this was where Yeovil should have thrown the kitchen sink at their hosts in an effort to drag the game back. In terms of pushing players forward they did so - Andy Welsh was once again the sacrificial lamb as Yeovil switched from the 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1 that had left Sam Williams far too isolated, and on came George O'Callaghan to produce a 4-3-1-2 formation as Jonathan Obika went up front, having done little to impress on the right wing.
As the game closed down, Craig Alcock became pretty much a wing-back, hammering in cross-after-cross but with far too many of them merely hitting the front defender. Blocked attempts for Shaun MacDonald and Ryan Mason, including one that deflected narrowly wide of the target, and another from Jonathan Obika that Ryan Clarke swallowed up, were as good as it got, but overall there wasn't enough pressure on the Oxford back line and they looked largely composed and able to crowd out any attempt Yeovil had to try to weave their way through the middle.
In the end Yeovil's lack of conviction in front of goal cost them dearly, with not enough players attacking the ball when crosses were delivered, and far too many static players when the man in possession attempted to bring the ball forward. As such they made things far too easy for Oxford to deal with, although credit has to go to the home side's organisation at the back and the way they neutered the Yeovil attack. Although it was only a single goal that won the game, and they could have sneaked an equaliser at the death, Yeovil Town can't have too many complaints about the final scoreline. Time to concentrate on the league, and hope that the cost of going out of all three cup competitions at the first round stage again does not cause too much financial grief over the coming six months.
Final Score: Oxford United 1 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorer: Jack Midson (55 mins, 1-0).
Yeovil Town: (4-4-1-1)
15. Richard Martin
2. Craig Alcock 5. Steven Caulker 6. Terrell Forbes 3. Nathan Jones
26. Jonathan Obika 25. Shaun MacDonald 8. Keiran Murtagh 11. Andy Welsh
13. Ryan Mason
9. Sam Williams
33. Ben Roberts (GK) 7. George O'Callaghan (62 mins for Andy Welsh) 18. Andy Lindegaard 23. Danny Hutchins (56 mins for Nathan Jones) 14. Dean Bowditch 31. Rhys Baggridge 34. Rob Clowes
21. Ryan Clarke 2. Damian Batt 5. Luke Foster 6. Mark Creighton 22. Steven Kinniburgh 4. Dannie Bulman 8. Adam Murray 11. Simon Clist 24. Matthew Green 9. James Constable 10. Jack Midson
1. Billy Turley (GK) 3. Kevin Sandwith 7. Adam Chapman 16. Rhys Day 17. Ross Perry (69 mins for Jack Midson) 20. Sam Deering (86 mins for Adam Murray) 25. Jamie Cook (79 mins for Matthew Green)
Yeovil Bookings: Terrell Forbes (foul, 41 mins), Ryan Mason (foul, 48 mins), Keiran Murtagh (foul, 66 mins)
Oxford Bookings: Damian Batt (foul, 18 mins), Jack Midson (foul, 45 mins), James Constable (unsporting behaviour, 90 mins)
Referee: Steven Cook (Surrey). Assistants: Chris Knowles (Northamptonshire) and David Rock (Hertfordshire). Fourth Official: Mathew McLaughlin (Bedfordshire).
Attendance: 6,144 (including 769 Yeovil fans)