Match Details: 22/09/2012
Yeovil Town 0-1 Sheffield United
npower League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Marek Stech, 2. Luke Ayling, 3. Jamie McAllister, 4. Richard Hinds, 5. Byron Webster, 6. Dominic Blizzard, 8. Ed Upson, 9. James Hayter, 10. Gavin Williams, 14. Sam Foley, 21. Korey Smith,
Subs: 7. Keanu Marsh-Brown, 11. Reuben Reid, 12. Gareth Stewart, 15. Lewis Young, 16. Nathan Ralph, 19. Gozie Ugwu, 22. Joe Edwards
Substitutes Used: Reuben Reid for James Hayter (69 mins), Joe Edwards for Sam Foley (76 mins), Keanu Marsh-Brown for Dominic Blizzard (82 mins)
Yeovil Town slipped to their fourth defeat in a row, as they were narrowly edged out by a strong but unflamboyant Sheffield United side. The Blades got their breakthrough from a set piece, as Neill Collins headed home Paul Gallagher's corner in a game where neither side particularly dominated but where the Glovers struggled to strongly test visiting keeper Mark Howard. An improved second half couldn't stop the home side slipping to 13th in the League One table as they struggle to recover the August form that shot them briefly to the top of the table.
Manager Gary Johnson rang the changes once again, making four changes to the rather experimental line-up that had taken to the field against Leyton Orient. Three of the back four were changed, as Luke Ayling, Richard Hinds and Jamie McAllister were recalled, with the latter grabbing back the captain's armband after a three match suspension. Elsewhere, there was a surprise as Gavin Williams returned to the side for the first time this season, having sat out two months with a calf muscle problem. He played on the right of a five man midfield, doubtless designed to plug some of the gaps that had been appearing in the middle of the park in recent games.
The first period was an inert one, with both sides struggling to create chances. Tony McMahon forced Marek Stech to tip over a free kick for a corner, whilst the visitors saw a glancing headers from Dave Kitson go wide. It took about half an hour for Yeovil Town to create their own chances - Korey Smith and Ed Upson were at the heart of them when they happened, with Smith weaving his way to the byline before pulling the ball back for Upson, only for the midfielder to scuff his shot somewhat allowing Mark Howard to block the ball. Then Smith turned and shot himself, forcing Howard to parry.
The Blades still had their own chance to open the scoring though, with Neill Collins planting a header wide, whilst Paul Gallagher's attempt to lob Marek Stech almost saw the goalkeeper lose the ball, just about gaining control as it threatened to go over the line. The half ended with Tony McMahon forcing Stech into a parried save as Luke Ayling hacked the loose ball away. This wasn't a classic 45 minutes by any stretch of the imagination, with the visitors very marginally the more dangerous side, although 0-0 summed up the half fairly well.
The Glovers commenced the second half in better style, but that still didn't stop them falling behind ten minutes into the half. A tendency to concede from set pieces has often seen them lose matches - Paul Gallagher's corner saw Blades captain Neill Collins make a powerful run, and he headed home at the front post to give the away side the lead, with Yeovil's marking looking rather absent. 0-1 down against a team the Glovers have never scored against.
There was plenty of endeavour to get back into the match, as Dominic Blizzard's cross into the box squeezed between the far post and the incoming James Hayter, whilst a Sam Foley chipped shot was saved by Mark Howard. Unsurprisingly Gary Johnson introduced plenty of attacking options to try to upset the resolute Blades back line, with Reuben Reid coming in up front, Joe Edwards being introduced in a wide position, and eventually Keanu Marsh-Brown coming in as the final throw of the dice as he played up front for the final ten minutes.
Sheffield United seemed largely content to soak it up, and hold their 1-0 lead, with Marek Stech rarely tested - one rare shot on target from the Blades saw Richard Cresswell force the keeper to save at his near post, whilst at set pieces their height and physical strength made them dangerous. But Yeovil couldn't quite find the killer touch for an equaliser - Marsh-Brown's cross into the box saw Joe Edwards attempt to head home, but again he couldn't quite get the clean contact he needed. In the end it was just one set piece that divided the sides, but that's been far too often the story when Yeovil have come up short against the division's 'bigger' sides over the years.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Sheffield United 1.
Scorers: Neill Collins (0-1, 55 mins)
Yeovil Town: (4-5-1)
1. Marek Stech
2. Luke Ayling 4. Richard Hinds 5. Byron Webster 3. Jamie McAllister (Capt)
10. Gavin Williams 6. Dominic Blizzard 21. Korey Smith 8. Ed Upson 14. Sam Foley
9. James Hayter
12. Gareth Stewart 7. Keanu Marsh-Brown (82 mins for Dominic Blizzard) 11. Reuben Reid (69 mins for James Hayter) 15. Lewis Young 16. Nathan Ralph 19. Gozie Ugwu 22. Joe Edwards (76 mins for Sam Foley)
1. Mark Howard 5. Harry Maguire 6. Matthew Hill 10. Nick Blackman 11. Kevin McDonald 14. Dave Kitson 15. Neill Collins (Capt) 16. David McAllister 17. Richard Creswell 23. Paul Gallagher 29. Tony McMahon
2. Darryl Westlake 9. Chris Porter (64 mins for Dave Kitson) 12. Shaun Miller 19. John Cofie 25. George Long 26. Callum McFadzean 30. Marcus Williams (79 mins for Paul Gallagher)
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Sheffield United Bookings: Harry Maguire (45 mins, kicking ball away)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 50%; Shots: 7; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 3; Fouls: 4.
Sheffield United Match Statistics: Possession: 50%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 5; Fouls: 15.
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire). Assistants: John Farries (Oxfordshire) and Gavin Muge (Bedfordshire). Fourth Official: Robert Lewis (Shropshire)
Attendance: 4,117 (with 859 Sheffield United fans).