Match Details: 02/10/2010
Walsall 0-1 Yeovil Town
npower League One
Yeovil Goals: Adam Virgo (70)
Yeovil Line-Up: 5. Paul Huntington, 6. Nathan Smith, 8. Luke Ayling, 9. Sam Williams, 10. Dean Bowditch, 11. Andy Welsh, 13. Stephen Henderson, 19. Adam Virgo, 20. Owain Tudur Jones, 24. Gavin Williams, 25. Shaun MacDonald
Subs: 2. Craig Alcock, 7. Andy Williams, 16. Ed Upson, 17. Craig Calver, 18. Luke Freeman, 22. Ben Roberts, 23. Billy Gibson,
Substitutes Used: Andy Williams for Andy Welsh (68 mins), Craig Alcock for Gavin Williams (87 mins)
Bookings: Owain Tudur Jones (Foul, 80)
Yeovil Town gained a valuable three points at the Bescot Stadium today, with a 1-0 win over Walsall that lifted them out of the relegation zone. Adam Virgo's third goal of the season and his second in a week, won the points midway through the second half. In what was a stop-start match, the Saddlers occasionally threatened, but looked short of confidence as they slipped to the foot of the table.
The Glovers made one tactical change for the starting line-up with Sam Williams replacing Andy Williams in the team, as they switched to a 4-4-2, with Big Sam going up front with Dean Bowditch, and Super Gav switching out to the right-wing. On the bench, captain Craig Alcock returned, whilst Luke Freeman was preferred to Cameron Stewart, who slipped out of the squad due to the rules on loans.
It was Terry Skiverton's side who got off to the best start, largely dominating the first period, but without finding the net. An early chance for the Glovers saw Luke Ayling and Dean Bowditch combine well to set up Gavin Williams into his new wide right position, with the Welshman firing over the crossbar. The Saddlers were struggling to find their way into the match, with an Andy Welsh header going wide of the target.
Sam Williams grabbed two chances in 60 seconds, as he turned left-winger, weaving his way past two Walsall players and firing through on goal, with his final attempt being blocked. Almost immediately, Dean Bowditch fed a ball into the box, which Williams slid in for a second chance, with home keeper Jon Brain once equal to the attempt.
Glovers keeper Stephen Henderson had been a near spectator throughout the opening 25 minutes, but he was alert to make a good save from Julian Gray as he came out to block at the winger's feet. Then Jonathan Macken found the Glovers defence caught out of shape when he was able to beat Sam Williams trying to cover the full-back slot, and Reuben Reid's header was saved by Henderson. But overall the away side were the dominant one, with the Saddlers going in at the break to a chorus of boos from their fans, giving a barometer of how well Yeovil had done during the opening period.
The second half opened with Walsall looking a lot more lively, with Stephen Henderson making an excellent double-save from first Matt Richards then Alex Nicholls, and was fortunate to find the third shot by Jonathan Macken deflecting wide for a corner. Then Ryan McGivern forced Henderson into his third save inside five minutes as the Saddlers finally started to look dangerous.
Despite that, the Glovers got themselves a strong early chance, 10 minutes into the half, by breaking on the home side superbly. Walsall's back line got caught out as they appealed for an offside flag that never came, as Shaun MacDonald raced through on goal. His shot was blocked well by Saddlers keeper Jon Brain, and Andy Welsh's opportunity to put the ball into an empty net on the rebound was wasted as he fired the loose ball over the bar.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Andy Welsh was withdrawn for Andy Williams, leaving three Williams players on the pitch. Gavin swapped flanks to allow Andy to move to the right flank, whilst Gavin headed to the left. Almost immediately, Yeovil won a free kick for a foul on Shaun MacDonald, with Gavin Williams given the chance to take it. His set piece delivery earlier in the match hadn't been too clever before that, but this time he got it spot on, as he found Adam Virgo, who powered home a classic centre-half set-piece header, to put Yeovil 1-0 up, and to finally throw down the gauntlet to the largely pedestrian Walsall side.
The big surge never really happened, with Walsall's best chance coming in the closing stages as Jonathan Macken fired across the face of goal to draw the breath of the 227 noisy travelling fans. As the minutes ticked down Craig Alcock replaced Gavin Williams, and there were a few late concerns as Stephen Henderson spent the last couple of minutes of the game limping around with what appeared to be a thigh or hamstring problem. But he got through the three minutes injury time, and the Glovers celebrated a deserved three points.
The win lifts the Glovers out of the drop zone by two places, ending the day in 19th position. With a difficult looking five games coming up, a rare away win was priceless, to ease the pressure. Walsall, who sank to the foot of the table today, were a poor side, but you can only beat what is put in front of you, and the Glovers did that with a great deal of professionalism.
Final Score: Walsall 0 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Adam Virgo (0-1, 70 mins).
Yeovil Town (4-4-2):
13. Stephen Henderson
8. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 19. Adam Virgo 6. Nathan Smith
24. Gavin Williams 20. Owain Tudur Jones 25. Shaun MacDonald 11. Andy Welsh
9. Sam Williams 10. Dean Bowditch
22. Ben Roberts (GK) 7. Andy Williams (68 mins for Andy Welsh) 2. Craig Alcock (87 mins for Gavin Williams) 16. Edward Upson 17. Craig Calver 18. Luke Freeman 23. Billy Gibson
1. Jon Brain
3. Aaron Lescott 6. Emmanuele Smith 5. Oliver Lancashire 23. Ryan McGivern
11. Alex Nicholls 26. David Davis 8. Matthew Richards 18. Julian Gray
10. Jonathan Macken 22. Reuben Reid
21. David Bevan (GK) 2. Darryl Westlake 4. Clayton McDonald (83 mins for Oliver Lancashire) 12. Paul Marshall 15. Jamie Paterson (78 mins for Alex Nicholls) 19. William Grigg (68 mins for Reuben Reid) 20. Sean Geddes
Walsall Bookings: None.
Yeovil Bookings: Owain Tudur Jones (80 mins, foul).
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire). Assistants: Rob Merchant (Staffordshire) and Neil Radford (Worcester). Fourth Official: Daniel Meeson(Staffordshire).
Attendance: 3,172 (with 227 Yeovil fans)