Match Details: 26/02/2011
Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Yeovil Town
npower League One
Yeovil Goals: Oli Johnson (77)
Yeovil Line-Up: 5. Paul Huntington, 6. Nathan Smith, 7. Andy Williams, 8. Luke Ayling, 9. Sam Williams, 12. Oli Johnson, 13. Stephen Henderson, 14. Max Ehmer, 16. Ed Upson, 18. Andrew Tutte, 20. Paul Wotton,
Subs: 1. Richard Martin, 2. Craig Alcock, 10. Dean Bowditch, 15. Alex Russell, 17. Craig Calver, 21. Antonio German, 25. Danny Fitzsimons
Substitutes Used: Dean Bowditch for Andy Williams (67 mins), Craig Alcock for Andrew Tutte (85 mins)
Bookings: Luke Ayling (Foul, 18)
Yeovil Town picked up a priceless three away points against Tranmere Rovers this afternoon in a low quality encounter at Prenton Park. In a match where both sides struggled to create good football, it took a single moment of brilliance by Oli Johnson to pull the win out of the bag when he struck from 30 yards out to ensure a win in Terry Skiverton's 100th game as first team manager.
The Glovers went into the game with an unchanged starting line-up, but with a bit of tactical tinkering, as they flooded the midfield, in a formation that was loosely a 4-3-3 but could easily be seen as a 4-1-4-1 at times, with Paul Wotton sitting in front of the defence, and Oli Johnson and Andy Williams acting as wide strikers that sometimes acted as wingers. Sam Williams was finally restored to his favoured position as a target man.
On a difficult pitch, and in difficult playing conditions after heavy overnight rain, both sides scrapped it out in midfield, carving out next to no chances during the opening half. The main point of interest was the battle between Yeovil right-back Luke Ayling and Tranmere striker Lateef Elford-Alliyu, with the latter having the upper hand. Ayling picked up a booking when he fouled his opponent and from the resulting free kick the ball fizzed across the face of the area without anyone getting on the end of it. Then the same two players did battle, with Ayling perhaps wisely not over-committing himself and Elford-Alliyu shot into the side-netting with half the stadium rising to their feet in the vain hope that the scoring had been opened.
At the other end, it took Yeovil 26 minutes to have any sort of a chance, but the deflected shot from Sam Williams was more than easy for Tony Warner to pick up. Andy Williams put a header over the bar, whilst Sam put another wide. There was the old moment when the Glovers threatened to do something with the ball, but most of the time, the move ended with a dreadful pass, although perhaps in mitigation, trying to pass the ball on the Prenton Park pitch was not going to be easy. Just before the break, Luke Ayling went down in the box, with some half-hearted appeals for a penalty, but wasn't the most likely of ones to be given. Entertainment value pretty much nil. The less said about the opening 45 minutes the better.
The second half didn't get much better, although there were at least a few more chances from both sides. Lateef Elford-Alliyu forced Stephen Henderson into a superb save as the striker shot from the edge of the box, and Hendo turned it low around his post for a corner. The home side were grabbing a few free kicks where they could have been dangerous, but in all honesty were making a mess of them. They did have one half-chance when Henderson came off his line a little too rashly, inviting Enoch Showumni to lob him, but his first time attempt went wide of the target.
Both sides tried to introduce change to a dour game, with Dean Bowditch replacing Andy Williams, whilst former Swansea City attacking midfielder Andy Robinson came on to change things for the home side. The Glovers nearly got in there when Ed Upson fed Oli Johnson on the break, only for the Norwich City striker to fire wide of the target. But when Johnson got his second chance a few minutes later it was a real peach. Home keeper Tony Warner had to come out of his area to head the ball clear, and when it fell to Johnson, he fired the ball straight past the stranded keeper from 30 yards out for a wonderful goal of supreme quality - about as out of context with the overall game as it was possible to be.
The goal gave the Glovers confidence, as the home fans began to get twitchy with just 13 minutes remaining. Tranmere substitute Adam McGurk forced Stephen Henderson into a strong save with the keeper just about recovering in time to clutch the ball at the second attempt as Enoch Showumni came steaming in. Then McGurk had a second attempt as time ticked over towards four minutes of injury time. Tranmere threw the kitchen sink a little during injury time, but with Yeovil getting in some valuable defensive blocks to stop them turning into genuine chances. They failed to turn one in, and so Yeovil Town gained their first ever win at Prenton Park to pull them further away from the relegation zone.
It wasn't pretty on the eye at all, with only that moment from Oli Johnson worthy of the five pound entrance money. However, for the travelling Glovers fans it was three priceless points, and with Dagenham, Bristol Rovers and Swindon all losing, and only Plymouth Argyle winning, it was another important step further clear of the bottom five sides, and Terry Skiverton will look back upon his 100th game in charge and see his side are now five points clear of the bottom four. With three tricky looking games coming up, that buffer is going to prove important.
Link: 2010-11 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Tranmere Rovers 0 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Oli Johnson (0-1, 77 mins)
1. Tony Warner
17. Michael Kay 5. Ian Goodison 6. Mark McChrystal 24. Zoumana Bakayogo
10. Robbie Weir 8. John Welsh 12. Ash Taylor 27. Lucas Akins
7. Enoch Showunmi 35. Lateef Elford-Alliyu
13. Joe Collister (GK) 2. Tim Cathalina 9. Andy Robinson (70 mins for Robbie Weir) 14. Nick Wood 18. Maxime Blanchard 26. Adam McGurk (76 mins for Lucas Akins) 28. Sammy Morrow
Yeovil Town (4-3-3):
13. Stephen Henderson
8. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 14. Max Ehmer 6. Nathan Smith
20. Paul Wotton
18. Andrew Tutte 16. Edward Upson
12. Oli Johnson 9. Sam Williams 7. Andrew Williams
1. Richard Martin (GK) 2. Craig Alcock (85 mins for Andrew Tutte) 15. Alex Russell 17. Craig Calver 21. Antonio German 10. Dean Bowditch (67 mins for Andy williams) 25. Daniel Fitzsimons
Yeovil Bookings: Luke Ayling (18 mins, foul)
Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire). Assistants: Paul Hodskinson (Lancashire) and Kevin Mattocks (Lancashire). Fourth Official: Peter Wright (Merseyside).
Attendance: 8,016 (including 266 Yeovil fans).