Match Details: 10/01/2012
Sheffield United 4-0 Yeovil Town
npower League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Rene Gilmartin, 2. Luke Ayling, 5. Paul Huntington, 7. Andy Williams, 8. Ed Upson, 9. Steve MacLean, 10. Gavin Williams, 12. Ryan Dickson, 14. Max Ehmer, 20. Paul Wotton, 29. Jonathan Obika
Subs: 3. Nathan Jones, 4. Bondz N'Gala, 18. Kieran Agard, 21. Gavin Massey, 24. Gareth Stewart,
Substitutes Used: Gavin Massey for Steve MacLean (46 mins), Bondz N'Gala for Paul Wotton (46 mins), Nathan Jones for Gavin Williams (89 mins)
Bookings: Gavin Williams (Foul, 41)
New manager Gary Johnson's start to his second spell with Yeovil Town ended in disappointment at Bramall Lane yesterday evening, as promotion chasing Sheffield United easily swept his side away. The 4-0 scoreline was overall what the Glovers deserved as a brace from Lee Williamson, plus goals from Richard Cresswell and Michael Doyle gave the Blades an emphatic win, even if the Glovers rallied slightly during the second period, following a poor first half.
All eyes were on what sort of personnel and formation the new boss would select. The answer was that the team chosen didn't look too much different to that favoured by former boss Terry Skiverton, with Johnson stating in his pre-match interview that they given he had only seen one training session they had decided to run with the starting eleven that Skiverton had been working with prior to him being told of the change in management. In came the midfield pair Paul Wotton and Ed Upson, who were back from their suspensions, whilst there was a debut for left-back Ryan Dickson, who had arrived from Southampton for a month, just before the decison was made to bring in Johnson. The 4-4-1-1 formation was retained, with Steve MacLean playing just behind Jonathan Obika.
The opening 15 minutes started well, and although it was fairly obvious that the home side had the edge on class, the Glovers were a bit more attack-minded than they had been in recent away fixtures, with Gavin Williams putting a long range shot just wide of the post early on. At the other end, strong defensive blocks by Paul Huntington stopped Ched Evans and Kevin McDonald from getting shots on goal. Then Jonathan Obika's mazey run produced a cross-cum-shot that fizzed across the face of goal, just missing the incoming Andy Williams.
The home side were gradually getting in plenty of pressure on flanks, particularly putting pressure on Ryan Dickson's side, although it was on the opposite wing that they fashioned their opening goal. Stephen Quinn skinned Glovers full-back Luke Ayling a bit too easily, and when his cross landed in the penalty box, no-one was marking Richard Creswell, who planted a free header into the back of the net. 1-0 down and a bit disappointing given the brightish start.
That was the cue for the Blades to dominate the half, stretching Yeovil with their flank-to-flank play, and leaving wide open spaces. It was therefore no surprise when they doubled their lead on 36 minutes. A little flick by Stephen Quinn put the ball into the path of Michael Doyle on the edge of the box, and no-one was able to close him down before his accurate shot into Rene Gilmartin's right-hand corner doubled the Blades lead, with the Irish goalkeeper being somewhat unsighted by one of his own team-mates.
Half time couldn't come soon enough, with Yeovil going into their shells somewhat - they still had plenty of shots on goal which gave a hint to some of the instructions they'd been given by the new manager - but these were wayward and generally caused those in the home end at Bramall Lane more danger than Steve Simonsen's goal. Conversely far too many crosses were getting into the box from the home side, and the Glovers were not dealing with them when they got into the box, with the odd point of desperation creeping into their attempts to get the ball out of the danger zone.
Gary Johnson has always been one for making bold substitutions, and having seen 45 minutes of what was largely his predecessor's line-up and formation, he changed things around, taking off captain Paul Wotton and striker Steve MacLean. In came Bondz N'Gala and Gavin Massey, provoking a big shuffle around, as Bondz went into the centre of defence, Max Ehmer moved out to a right-back position, and Luke Ayling moved into Wotton's midfield position, whilst Gavin Massey came on as a right-winger as Andy Williams formed a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation alongside Jonathan Obika.
Whatever change that was meant to provoke was wiped out under three minutes into the second period. Right-back Matthew Lowton found Lee Williamson and the winger planted a glorious shot from the area, with the ball curling from the corner of the box into Rene Gilmartin's top left hand corner, once again giving the keeper no chance of getting near the ball. 3-0 and game most certainly over.
To be fair to the Glovers, they made a good fist of it, not giving up and with the second half seeing them looking far more organised and comfortable, gaining a bit more possession of the ball, even if their shooting was still rather wayward. Andy Williams and Jonathan Obika both shot wide of the target when they probably should have done better. The best attack of the half came when left-back Ryan Dickson - who had a bit of a shaky debut, but gradually settled into the game during the second period - put in a peach of a cross, that was met by the head of Obika, but goalkeeper Steve Simonsen got down well to keep the chance out of the net.
The Glovers did have one lengthy worry, after a Paul Huntington header almost found the net, with the ball just looping onto the top of the goal frame. As Hunts landed he seemed to fall awkwardly onto his neck, causing a five minute delay as the club doctor and stretcher bearers were brought on. Thankfully Hunts gingerly got to his feet under his own steam, with physio Phil Cole walking him gently around the pitch, checking for concussion, and then sending him back on. When various players are underperforming this season, the least the Glovers could afford would be one of their most consistent performers disappearing out of the line-up - thankfully he was to complete 90 minutes, although struggled to get from box-to-box on further set pieces.
Just in the last 10 minutes of the match, the Blades gradually began to turn the screw again, as the Glovers began to tire and run out of steam. With three minutes remaining, Stephen Quinn once again set up another goal for the home side, as Lee Williamson netted from an extreme narrow angle, with the ball taking a possible deflection on its way into the net. An unfortunate end to the game, as Yeovil's effort and endeavour during the second period deserved at least a consolation goal. Instead they got a bit of a deflating end to the match.
Although there was always likely to be a huge gap between the two sides regardless of the circumstances, if Gary Johnson hadn't worked out the size of the job that he had before he took the job at Huish Park, after 90 minutes of watching that, he certainly will have by now. On the plus side, there was a bit more attacking intent than there has been in many games this season, even if it failed to find the target most of the time. But on the minus side, the back four looked nervous and unprotected particularly during the first period, and there will be plenty for Johnson to chew on in the coming days.
Final Score: Sheffield United 4 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Richard Creswell (18 mins, 1-0), Michael Doyle (36 mins, 2-0), Lee Williamson (48 mins, 3-0), Lee Williamson (87 mins, 4-0)
1. Steve Simonsen
2. Matthew Lowton 19. Harry Maguire 15. Neill Collins 3. Lecsinel Jean-Francois
14. Lee Williamson 27. Kevin McDonald 8. Michael Doyle 28. Stephen Quinn
9. Ched Evans 17. Richard Cresswell
25. George Long (GK) 4. Nick Montgomery (89 mins for Lee Williamson) 10. James Beattie (81 mins for Ched Evans) 21. Chris Porter (81 mins for Richard Creswell) 30. Marcus Williams
Yeovil Town: (4-4-1-1)
1. Rene Gilmartin
2. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 14. Max Ehmer 12. Ryan Dickson
7. Andy Williams 8. Ed Upson 20. Paul Wotton 10. Gavin Williams
9. Steve MacLean
29. Jon Obika
3. Nathan Jones (89 mins for Gavin Williams) 4. Bondz N'Gala (46 mins for Paul Wotton) 18. Kieran Agard 21. Gavin Massey (46 mins for Steve MacLean) 24. Gareth Stewart
Sheffield United Bookings: Kevin McDonald (foul, 86 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Gavin Williams (foul, 41 mins)
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire). Assistants: Paul Graham (Manchester) and Tony Peart (North Yorkshire). Fourth Official: Alf Greenwood (North Yorkshire).
Attendance: 15,965 (including approx 175 Yeovil Town fans)