Match Details: 20/04/2013
Yeovil Town 1-0 Crewe Alexandra
npower League One
Yeovil Goals: Joe Edwards (1)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Marek Stech, 2. Luke Ayling, 5. Byron Webster, 8. Ed Upson, 9. James Hayter, 13. Vitalijs Maksimenko, 14. Sam Foley, 16. Nathan Ralph, 17. Paddy Madden, 20. Joe Edwards, 22. Kevin Dawson,
Subs: 4. Richard Hinds, 10. Gavin Williams, 12. Gareth Stewart, 15. Lewis Young, 29. Angelo Balanta
Substitutes Used: Lewis Young for Byron Webster (20 mins), Angelo Balanta for Nathan Ralph (26 mins), Gavin Williams for Angelo Balanta (48 mins)
Bookings: Kevin Dawson (Foul, 73)
Yeovil Town won their final home match of the standard 2012-13 season, as they defeated Crewe Alexandra by a single goal. You had to be in the ground on time to witness it, with Joe Edwards netting after just 51 seconds as he shot low into the bottom left hand corner to give an ultra early lead. That was the way the match was won as well, with the only downside of the afternoon being a hamstring injury for Byron Webster, followed by a knee injury for Nathan Ralph that will undoubtedly put both on the treatment table over the coming week. Bournemouth's 3-1 win today means that the Glovers will have to battle for promotion through the play-offs, but at least the remainder of the walking wounded proved that they could cope with a decent passing Crewe side.
The Glovers went into the match making two changes to their starting line-up following the midweek defeat at Oldham Athletic. Nathan Ralph came in as a left-back, as Angelo Balanta dropped to the bench, whilst Vitalijs Maksimenko was given a home debut in preference to Richard Hinds. Only five players were named on the bench, with Jamie McAllister being left out of the matchday squad, whilst Dominic Blizzard's illness continued to keep him out of the side.
Hopefully all of the 5,293 spectators had set up their positions in the ground before referee Brendan Malone started the match - if not then they would have been left rather disappointed. As the Glovers took the kick-off, they managed to also take the lead, just 51 seconds into the match. Luke Ayling's ball up field was chested down by James Hayter and into the path of Joe Edwards, who raced forward and fired the ball into the bottom left hand corner for a sensational start to the match.
This was a fairly open half of football in which Crewe played their part though, with Marek Stech forced to brilliantly palm a Kelvin Mellor effort over his bar, following some very clever one-touch return play from Crewe that allowed him to break into the box. At the other end Abdul Osman gave the ball away to Paddy Madden, but the Glovers top scorer rather scuffed his shot wide from the edge of the box.
Yeovil suffered a double blow during six crazy minutes midway through the half that disrupted the flow of the game. Bradden Inman's pace left the Glovers back line stretched - literally - as he powered his way through the middle. His shot eventually cut wide of the target, but not without cost, as Byron Webster's attempts to keep up with him saw him immediately pull up in pain, clutching his hamstring. Physio Mike Micciche immediately signalled for a sub, with Lewis Young replacing him as Luke Ayling switched into the centre.
Things then went from bad to worse, as Nathan Ralph went down, needing treatment on his knee before being helped off the field. With Angelo Balanta replacing him, that meant that Joe Edwards had to switch to the left-back position, as Kevin Dawson moved more centrally as the eleven players shuffled again. Further disruption took place when referee Brendan Malone went off with his own hamstring problem, replaced by fourth official Adam Bromley. During these delays the home support chanted "Bring on the Skivo" - with the assistant manager feigning to pull off his tracksuit top - if Yeovil get many more injuries between now and the play-offs, that might become a more serious question!
Unsurprisingly, the double change didn't help the game, although the Glovers were largely on top in terms of the balance. James Hayter put into the side netting. Then Angelo Balanta's weaving run into the box, as he cut in from the wing produced a cross/shot that flew across the face of an open goal, with Hayter inches away from connecting with Crewe's keeper stranded at his near post. Kevin Dawson then fired over the bar. Crewe were not out of the game though, and Max Clayton had two good attempts - one that forced Marek Stech into a strong save low down to his left, and another that was not quite so accurate. Despite a bobbly uneven pitch, both sides were doing their best to play it along the deck in an open half.
The second period opened with yet another injury. Angelo Balanta had been engaged in some half time stretching, watched closely by the Glovers coaching staff - when three minutes had passed, they obviously decided that whatever the problem was, it wasn't worth risking, and he was replaced by Gavin Williams as the final Yeovil substitution, with just 48 minutes gone.
Not too surprisingly, Yeovil appeared to play a little within themselves during the second period - they couldn't afford a fourth injury! With Crewe stuck in a solid midtable position they didn't have too much to play for either, although that still didn't stop them from showing some serious intent. They looked to be level when Chuks Aneke fired low to the bottom left of goal from close range. The net rippled, but that was only by the momentum of Marek Stech's body, as he flung himself to his right, brilliantly saving for one of his best of the season so far - and that's saying something.
At the other end, Yeovil's best chances came from set pieces. A Gavin Williams attempt deflected through the bottom of the Crewe wall, but ended up going wide for a corner. From that move, Luke Ayling was inches away from finally opening up his Yeovil tally - a bullet header that had easily beaten Crewe keeper Steve Phillips, but didn't allow for defender Matt Tootle being on the goal line - heading the attempt away as the home terrace prepared to celebrate.
With Bournemouth having taken a 3-1 lead against Carlisle down at Dean Court, there was no further need for the Glovers to stretch themselves. Play-off place already guaranteed, but the Cherries win putting them top of the division meant that was as far as they could go. Far better to just play the game out with the single goal victory, and hope that those knocks to Byron Webster, Nathan Ralph and Angelo Balanta do not turn out to be too serious. We could be seeing some 'squad rotation' next weekend at Bury in order to protect those players and give them maximum recovery time for the big games in a fortnight's time.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Crewe Alexandra 0.
Scorers: Joe Edwards (1-0, 1 min)
Yeovil Town: (4-4-2)
1. Marek Stech
2. Luke Ayling 5. Byron Webster (Capt) 13. Vitalijs Maksimenko 16. Nathan Ralph
22. Kevin Dawson 20. Joe Edwards 8. Ed Upson 14. Sam Foley
9. James Hayter 17. Paddy Madden
12. Gareth Stewart 4. Richard Hinds 10. Gavin Williams (48 for Angelo Balanta) 15. Lewis Young (20 mins for Byron Webster) 29. Angelo Balanta (26 mins for Nathan Ralph)
1. Steve Phillips 14. Kelvin Mellor 5. Mark Ellis 3. Harry Davis 2. Matt Tootle 31. Bradden Inman 19. Abdul Osman 11. Byron Moore 10. AJ Leitch-Smith 7. Max Clayton 26. Chuks Aneke
13. Alan Martin 12. Oliver Turton (86 mins for Max Clayton) 17. George Ray 23. Michael West 27. Ryan Colclough (63 mins for Chuks Aneke) 32. Nathan Ellington (65 mins for AJ Leitch-Smith) 34. Kevin Stewart
Yeovil Bookings: Kevin Dawson (73 mins, foul)
Crewe Bookings: Harry Davis (77 mins, foul/dissent), Abdul Osman (84 mins, foul)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 49%; Shots: 15; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 3; Fouls: 15.
Crewe Match Statistics: Possession: 51%; Shots: 18; Shots On Target: 10; Corners: 5; Fouls: 10.
Referee: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire). Assistants: Adam Hopkins (Devon) and Dan Robathan (Surrey). Fourth Official: Adam Bromley (Devon).
Attendance: 5,293 (with 188 Crewe fans).