Match Details: 22/01/2011
Yeovil Town 0-1 Rochdale
npower League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 5. Paul Huntington, 6. Nathan Smith, 7. Andy Williams, 8. Luke Ayling, 9. Sam Williams, 10. Dean Bowditch, 11. Andy Welsh, 13. Stephen Henderson, 14. Max Ehmer, 16. Ed Upson, 20. Paul Wotton,
Subs: 1. Richard Martin, 12. Oli Johnson, 15. Alex Russell, 17. Craig Calver, 19. Adam Virgo, 23. Billy Gibson, 31. Rhys Baggridge
Substitutes Used: Oli Johnson for Sam Williams (63 mins), Alex Russell for Ed Upson (71 mins), Craig Calver for Andy Williams (84 mins)
Bookings: Andy Welsh (Foul, 83)
Yeovil Town went down to their first defeat of 2011 when a Gary Jones goal proved enough to seal all three points for a resolute organised Rochdale side. His strike came 17 minutes into the match, as a deflected drive found its way through into the back of the net. The Glovers, who had not really woken up in the first period, came back into the game in the second period, forcing pressure on the Rochdale goal, but failed to create the gilt-edged chances that could bring them an equalising goal.
The game got off to a very slow start, with few chances for either side during the opening quarter-hour. Andy Welsh put Andy Williams through for Yeovil's first chance of the day, and the striker's attempt to lob Owain fon Williams was well anticipated with the visitors goalkeeper pedalling back to catch the ball. At the other end, Rochdale's Gary Jones forced Stephen Henderson into his first save, but one that most keepers would have hoped to have made.
It was Rochdale who opened the scoring though, ending Yeovil Town's run without conceding a goal after 521 minutes of play, with a Brian Barry-Murphy corner being claimed by Gary Jones. Rochdale's top scorer had room to tee up a shot that appeared to take a deflection, which was enough to put the visitors 1-0 up with 17 minutes gone and put the Glovers into the unusual position of being a goal down in a game for the first time in 2011.
They were almost 2-0 down within minutes of kick-off. Brian Barry-Murphy's cross was met by the head of Craig Dawson, forcing Stephen Henderson to make a brilliant save to push the ball away from goal and prevent the visitors from doubling their lead. This was Rochdale's best period of the half, albeit without achieving too much.
The Glovers were struggling to get in behind an organised Rochdale back line, with most of their chances restricted to either the hopeful or the long range. Nathan Smith shot from the angle over the bar, whilst Andy Williams managed a pair of chances - one that sliced wildly off his boot and wide and then another just before half time that was on target but easily smothered by Owain fon Williams. They weren't out of the match by any means, but needed to frighten their opponents a little more than they were doing during the opening 45 minutes.
The second period saw the Glovers come out in positive fashion, looking their most energetic since the game began. Luke Ayling put one over in the opening seconds, whilst an Andy Welsh free kick went wide and a Sam Williams header went over the bar. Not that these were gilt-edged chances, but it was more that Yeovil were now winning balls they hadn't been winning in the opening 45 minutes, which in turn raised the noise of the crowd upwards in anticipation.
The football was definitely in one direction - with the Glovers on the ascendancy - but they struggled to create the on target clear cut chance that their approach play threatened, making for a frustrating match, where the word 'nearly' could be applied to almost everything. Oli Johnson and Alex Russell were introduced for Sam Williams and Ed Upson, but again the Glovers struggled to get the ball on target, with Rochdale now employing a firm rear-guard action.
Dale could have sealed the game when Gary Jones broke out of defence, only to fire wide, and this was typical of the way the visitors threatened in the second period - only having one other chance of note when Chris O'Grady broke from deep forcing Stephen Henderson to save at his near post. Otherwise they were keen to pack men behind the ball, and almost dare the Glovers to break them down.
Sadly, Yeovil didn't quite have the invention/skill/luck (delete as applicable) to do that although in the five minutes of injury time, Owain fon Williams produced an outstanding point-blank save from Nathan Smith inside the box, and perhaps this told the Glovers that it was not going to be their day. Plenty of good approach play, but without the Phil Jevons style player to get in there at the right place at the right time to bring them the reward of an equaliser. If you were a Rochdale fan you'd consider this a perfect away performance - grab the goal and defend it, and they certainly did that with great aplomb.
The result pushes the Glovers back down to 22nd, with wins for Bristol Rovers, Tranmere Rovers and Leyton Orient making for a bad day for Yeovil Town. However, they need to look at the bigger picture. Three wins, one draw and one defeat in January and you would have snapped someone's hand off for that at the start of New Year's Day. It may be one step back today, but the month so far has been two steps forward. No time for dwelling on today, with a big trip to Hillsborough to come on Tuesday night, where they will face a shellshocked Sheffield Wednesday side who lost 4-0 to Leyton Orient today in London.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Rochdale 1.
Scorers: Gary Jones (17 mins, 0-1).
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
13. Stephen Henderson
8. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 14. Max Ehmer 6. Nathan Smith
11. Andrew Welsh 16. Edward Upson 20. Paul Wotton 10. Dean Bowditch
9. Sam Williams 7. Andrew Williams
1. Richard Martin (GK) 17. Craig Calver (84 mins for Andy Williams) 19. Adam Virgo 23. Billy Gibson 12. Oli Johnson (63 mins for Sam Williams) 15. Alex Russell (71 mins for Ed Upson) 31. Rhys Baggridge
13. Owen Fon Williams
2. Scott Wiseman 4. Marcus Holness 26. Craig Dawson 3. Joe Widdowson
6. Brian Barry-Murphy 7. Jason Kennedy 8. Gary Jones 15. Joe Thompson
19. Chris O'Grady 20. Liam Dickinson
21. Matthew Edwards (GK) 18. Josh Thompson 11. Matt Done 12. Alan Goodall 29. Nicky Adams 16. Will Atkinson (54 mins for Liam Dickinson) 14. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro
Yeovil Bookings: Andy Welsh (83 mins, foul)
Rochdale Bookings: Owen Fon Williams (77 mins, timewasting), Josh Thompson (89 mins, foul), Scott Wiseman (90 mins, foul)
Referee: Danny McDermid (Hampshire). Assistants: Stephen Daly (Middlesex) and Adam Nunn (Wiltshire). Fourth Official: Mark Russell (Gloucestershire).
Attendance: 3,711 (including 218 Rochdale fans)