Match Details: 20/08/2011
Walsall 1-1 Yeovil Town
npower League One
Yeovil Goals: Gavin Williams (42)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Jed Steer, 2. Luke Ayling, 4. Bondz N'Gala, 5. Paul Huntington, 7. Andy Williams, 8. Ed Upson, 10. Gavin Williams, 14. Max Ehmer, 17. Alan O'Brien, 20. Paul Wotton, 29. Jonathan Obika,
Subs: 9. Steve MacLean, 11. Anthony Edgar, 12. Abdulai Bell-Baggie, 19. Curtis Haynes-Brown, 37. Rory Fallon
Substitutes Used: Curtis Haynes-Brown for Bondz N'Gala (51 mins), Anthony Edgar for Alan O'Brien (69 mins), Rory Fallon for Andy Williams (76 mins)
Bookings: Paul Wotton (Foul, 70)
A goal a-piece in the first half saw Yeovil Town and Walsall share the spoils in a relatively even game at the Bescot Stadium this afternoon. The 1-1 draw saw the Saddlers open the scoring with a superbly struck Jonathan Macken goal, but that was cancelled out just before the break when Gavin Williams levelled the scores, and despite both sides having a number of second half chances, neither club could seal the three points, producing what was probably a fair outcome.
Yeovil Town made three changes to the starting line-up, plus a formation change, after they lost both wing-backs to injury. Kerrea Gilbert's hamstring strain and a broken shoulder bone for Nathan Jones meant that both had to withdraw - Bondz N'Gala and Alan O'Brien took their places although there was a bit of shuffling around to allow Max Ehmer to take up a left-back slot in a 4-4-2. Up front, Jonathan Obika had recovered from his ankle injury and displaced Steve MacLean in the starting line-up.
The Glovers went behind after 19 minutes, despite having made an excellent start, with Andy Williams having gone close early on, and looking good for the opening period. However, the experience of Jonathan Macken gave the home side their opener, as he received a ball from Claude Gnakpa, and unleashed a terrific shot from just outside the box that beat Jed Steer's in vain dive to put the Saddlers a goal up.
That opener came against the run of play, but it sparked Walsall into life, going on to look like the better side for the first time in the game. Alan O'Brien shot over the bar, whilst Max Ehmer had a shot blocked that went out for a corner, but much of the game was going Walsall's way, with Yeovil not helping themselves with some defensive sloppiness - twice Max Ehmer's clearances ricocheted back off players, putting Walsall in on goal. One allowed Jonathan Macken to run clean through, only for Steer to save, whilst another looped over Steer, but fortunately over his crossbar.
Five minutes before the break, Yeovil abandoned their 4-4-2, switching back to the 3-4-1-2, and manager Terry Skiverton would have been giving himself a pat on the back when it almost immediately produced an equalising goal. The move of Gavin Williams didn't seem to be picked up by the Saddlers back line, and Paul Wotton's ball over the top just evaded the head of Jonathan Obika, but was perfect for Williams to run onto, and he slotted the ball home for a 1-1 scoreline - rather like Walsall's opener somewhat against the run of play, but on that basis a deserved leveller.
The second half was an odd one in that frequently there wasn't a clear pattern of play, with both sides having their periods of pressure, but with both providing swift counter-attacking against that pressure which meant that it was hard to suggest that one team was firmly on top at any given time. The start showed that 'pattern' of sorts, with Alan O'Brien racing clear and forcing a corner, but then Walsall substitute Alex Nicholls doing the same at the other end.
Both sides had their chances to win it - Jonathan Obika had the ball in the back of the net from a Gavin Williams square ball, but was ruled offside before he got the ball over the line. But then Paul Huntington had to rescue his team-mates when a free header looped over Jed Steer, yet Hunts was perfectly positioned to loop the header over the crossbar. Then a ricochet almost gave Jonathan Macken a second goal, only for Max Ehmer's final touch to put the ball out for a corner.
The chances at both ends continued right up until the 90th minute, when Alex Nicholls had two chances to score - one put wide and another saved by Jed Steer. But Anthony Edgar, on as a substitute as Yeovil again switched back to a 4-4-2 in the closing stages, forced Jimmy Walker into an excellent save. The final shout in this topsy-turvy game went to another Walsall substitute, Ryan Jarvis, whose stretching attempt went over the crossbar from close range, but it would have been tough on the Glovers to have come away with nothing - even if both sides could have stated their case in the end as to why they deserved to win the match.
Link: 2011-12 Latest League One Table.
Full Time: Walsall 1 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Jonathan Macken (19 mins, 1-0), Gavin Williams (42 mins, 1-1)
1. Jimmy Walker
2. Darryl Westlake 4. Andy Butler 5. Oliver Lancashire 3. Mat Sadler
18. Claude Gnakpa 14. Richard Taundry 11. Kevan Hurst 19. Anton Peterlin
9. Will Grigg 10. Jonathan Macken
21. David Grof (GK) 6. Emmanuele Smith 8. Ryan Jarvis (80 mins for Jonathan Macken) 12. Lee Beevers 16. Alex Nicholls (46 mins for Kevan Hurst)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2):
1. Jed Steer
2. Luke Ayling 4. Bondz N'Gala 5. Paul Huntington 14. Max Ehmer
10. Gavin Williams 20. Paul Wotton 8. Edward Upson 17. Alan O'Brien
7. Andrew Williams 29. Jonathan Obika
9. Steven MacLean 11. Anthony Edgar (69 mins for Alan O'Brien) 12. Abdulai Bell-Baggie 19. Curtis Haynes-Brown (51 mins for Bondz N'Gala) 37. Rory Fallon (76 mins for Andy Williams)
Walsall Bookings: Andy Butler (foul, 90 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Paul Wotton (foul, 70 mins)
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire). Assistants: Danny Markham (Tyne & Wear) and Kevin Mattocks (Lancashire). Fourth Official: Marvyn Amphlett (Worcestershire).
Attendance: 4,247 (including 235 Yeovil fans).