Match Details: 12/03/2013
Yeovil Town 2-2 Crawley Town
npower League One
Yeovil Goals: Byron Webster (5), Paddy Madden (18)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Marek Stech, 2. Luke Ayling, 3. Jamie McAllister, 5. Byron Webster, 8. Ed Upson, 9. James Hayter, 17. Paddy Madden, 18. Daniel Burn, 19. Ben Gordon, 20. Joe Edwards, 22. Kevin Dawson
Subs: 4. Richard Hinds, 6. Dominic Blizzard, 10. Gavin Williams, 12. Gareth Stewart, 15. Lewis Young, 16. Nathan Ralph, 21. Wes Fletcher,
Substitutes Used: Nathan Ralph for Jamie McAllister (24 mins), Dominic Blizzard for Ben Gordon (67 mins), Gavin Williams for James Hayter (78 mins)
Bookings: Byron Webster (Foul, 74)
Yeovil Town left a two goal lead slip in an enthralling end-to-end encounter at Huish Park tonight, as they ended up having to share the points with Crawley Town. In the proverbial 'game of two halves' the Glovers led through an early Byron Webster header and a Paddy Madden strike. However, after the break it was the visiting side that dominated, and they deserved their quickfire response as Joe Walsh netted 46 seconds into the second period, then Matthew Sparrow caught the Glovers on the break. With both sides hitting the woodwork there could have easily been more goals, but instead Yeovil dropped a place down to 6th, with an end result they really didn't want.
The Glovers went into the match introducing Ben Gordon for his debut, after Sam Foley dropped out of the squad with a hip problem sustained on Saturday at Hartlepool. Gordon took the left-wing berth, thus allowing a straight swap - otherwise the bench and the rest of the starting eleven were unchanged.
Ben Gordon's debut got off to a bit of a flyer. After the Glovers had forced a couple of early corners, one of those was only half cleared, and the ex-Chelsea player picked the ball up, put it onto his stronger left foot, and whipped in a cross that Byron Webster attacked with venom, driving through the penalty area to put the Glovers 1-0 up with an excellent headed goal, of the sort that assistant manager Terry Skiverton would have seen as having his trademark stamped all over it.
Crawley created their own first half chances, even if they were on the back foot for the opening 45 minutes - a Jamie Proctor shot went just wide of the post, which was followed up by the same player forcing Dan Burn to clear his lines. But they went further behind when Luke Ayling's cross into the box with just 18 minutes played went through the Crawley defence giving Paddy Madden the opportunity to convert his 20th goal of the 2012-13 season from close range. 2-0 up and seemingly coasting.
The visitors though showed enough to suggest that they were capable of getting back into the match, and Yeovil were not helped by captain Jamie McAllister having to limp off midway through the first half, with it being likely that his recent ankle problems had made this one a game too far for him. Yeovil reorganised by sending on Nathan Ralph, who fitted into the left-back slot behind Ben Gordon.
Crawley's best two chances of the half came via two of their strikers. Billy Clarke's free kick after Dan Burn had fouled was superbly flighted, but struck the crossbar, with Joe Edwards hacking the loose ball clear. Then Paul Hayes - signed on loan from Brentford for the Sussex club - was guilty of an awful miss as he fired over the bar from close range. Those should have been the warning signs for the Glovers at the break that they were 2-0 up, but against a capable side, who would be dangerous if they got their shooting boots on.
The next goal would be crucial and it came just 46 seconds into the second period. Mat Sadler's free kick free kick for a foul by Ed Upson on Billy Clarke, saw the ball headed back across goal by Paul Hayes, and former Yeovil Town trialist Joe Walsh, who played in a pre-season friendly for the club at Hereford, nodded home from close range to put the scores back to 2-1.
That was to set the game up as Crawley came out having switched from their initial 4-3-3 formation to a conventional 4-4-2, and that seemed to give them far more forward play, with Mat Sadler in particular giving Kevin Dawson plenty to think about as the full-back pressed forward more. Sadler's one-two with Paul Hayes set him free on goal, with Marek Stech blocking the chance well. Then Byron Webster had to clear off the line from a Hayes attempt.
The outcome of the game could have been so different on 62 minutes. Luke Ayling's floated free kick saw James Hayter become the latest player to hit the woodwork as Yeovil were inches away from going 3-1 up. Having committed so many players forward, that was to kill them, as Crawley hit Yeovil on the counter-attack. Sergio Torres slipped the ball through to former Leyton Orient midfielder Matt Sparrow and he slotted the ball home, meaning that instead of a 3-1 lead, 30 seconds later, we had a 2-2 scoreline on our hands.
Both managers rang the changes - Gary Johnson bringing on the more defensive-minded Dominic Blizzard to try to block out some of Crawley's midfield control, whilst the visitors brought on attacking midfielder Nicky Adams as they refreshed their formation yet again. Twice Crawley nearly broke the offside trap on runs through the back line. At the other end, Joe Edwards hit the post, whilst Blizzard had penalty appeals waved away after Mat Sadler blocked his cross into the box. Then Mike Jones became the fourth player to hit the woodwork, whilst Yeovil's defence cleared the ball off the goal-line yet again as the visitors dominance of the second half threatened the winner.
Into four minutes of injury time, and controversy reigned when Nicky Adams swung a ball into the box, which appeared to strike the raised arm of Kevin Dawson. Up went vociferous appeals which turned to anger when referee James Adcock waved them away - eventually producing a yellow card for one dissenting Crawley player. Instead he blew the final whistle, which then gave the visitors a further opportunity to surround him and voice their complaints. Whilst the Glovers will consider it two points dropped against a mid-table side, particularly with a two goal lead in their grasp, that last minute decision showed it could have ended up a whole lot worse. Thankfully it didn't, and with nine games to go they lie in sixth place - perhaps though, a little bit of pressure is starting to creep into the situation now.
Link: 2012-13 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 2 Crawley Town 2.
Scorers: Byron Webster (1-0, 5 mins), Paddy Madden (2-0, 18 mins), Joe Walsh (2-1, 46 mins), Matt Sparrow (2-2, 62 mins).
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Marek Stech
2. Luke Ayling 5. Byron Webster 18. Daniel Burn 3. Jamie McAllister
22. Kevin Dawson 8. Ed Upson 20. Joe Edwards 19. Ben Gordon
9. James Hayter 17. Paddy Madden
12. Gareth Stewart 4. Richard Hinds 6. Dominic Blizzard (67 mins for Ben Gordon) 10. Gavin Williams (78 mins for James Hayter) 15. Lewis Young 16. Nathan Ralph (24 mins for Jamie McAllister) 21. Wes Fletcher
1. Paul Jones
2. Mustapha Dumbuya 12. Joe Walsh 6. Connor Essam 3. Mat Sadler
8. Sergio Torres 10. Matthew Sparrow 15. Dannie Bulman
7. Billy Clarke 14. Jamie Proctor 28. Paul Hayes
4. Mark Connolly 13. David Hunt 16. Nicky Adams (70 mins for Sergio Torres) 17. Jake Taylor 19. Aiden O'Brien (76 mins for Jamie Proctor) 21. Mike Jones (85 mins for Billy Clarke) 25. Johnny Maddison
Yeovil Bookings: Byron Webster (74 mins, foul).
Crawley Bookings: Joe Walsh (36 mins, foul), Paul Hayes (39 mins, foul), Dannie Bulman (90 mins, dissent).
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 50%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 5; Fouls: 12.
Crawley Match Statistics: Possession: 50%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 3; Fouls: 9.
Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire). Assistants: Richard Hulme (Somerset) and Mark Russell (Somerset). Fourth Official: Michael Mullarkey (Devon).
Attendance: 3,338 (with 109 Crawley fans).