Match Details: 10/02/2015
Crewe Alexandra 1-0 Yeovil Town
Skybet League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Joe Edwards, 9. James Hayter, 10. AJ Leitch-Smith, 11. Sam Foley, 12. Artur Krysiak, 13. Kieffer Moore, 20. Ben Nugent, 25. Gozie Ugwu, 26. Stephen Arthurworrey, 32. Liam Shephard
Subs: 8. James Berrett, 14. Sam Hoskins, 15. Seth Nana Omuri-Twumasi, 18. Jamar Loza, 22. Gareth Stewart, 28. Alex Smith, 29. Adam Morgan,
Substitutes Used: James Berrett for Joe Edwards (46 mins), Sam Hoskins for James Hayter (71 mins), Jamar Loza for Kieffer Moore (85 mins)
Bookings: Stephen Arthurworrey (Foul, 59), James Berrett (Foul, 69)
Yeovil Town were beaten by a single goal at Gresty Road on Tuesday night, as Crewe Alexandra triumphed in the club's second relegation six-pointer in three days. A Nicky Ajose goal on 38 minutes saw him convert a Marcus Haber cross from close range during a first half that Yeovil had started well in, but had gradually allowed the home side to assume control. A formation change and an end-to-end second half saw the Glovers throw men forward, but at the risk of being done on the break, and Ajose was again the man who came the closest as he hit the woodwork during the closing stages, leaving Yeovil still in 22nd place and four points adrift of safety, with sixteen games remaining.
The Glovers went into the match selecting the same starting eleven that recorded a 2-1 win over Crawley Town on the weekend. The only change was on the bench, where James Berrett had sufficiently recovered from a hamstring strain to replace Fergus Bell, who had picked up a knock in training, thus delaying his chance to make his debut since arriving at the club last month.
For the opening 25 minutes or so, Yeovil Town put down a marker as the better side, albeit without making home keeper Ben Garratt have to work too hard for that. AJ Leitch-Smith got pantomime villain boos when he went down in the penalty box, looking for a penalty against his childhood club, whilst Joe Edwards and Gozie Ugwu had long distance attempts on goal end with Garratt making comfortable collections. At the other end Nicky Ajose shot over the bar, but it was the Glovers who were creating the majority of chances, with a wonderful flowing move involving Edwards and Leitch-Smith setting up Ugwu, only for an offside flag to make his eventual shot irrelevant. Then Garratt saved from an Ugwu flicked effort, before James Hayter fired wide.
So far, so good, but as the game approached the half hour mark, Crewe began to finally asset themselves, with Jamie Ness pulling the strings in midfield. Artur Krysiak was forced to save from Ajose after a spot of indecision between him and Stephen Arthurworrey left the ball in no man's land, and with the Crewe striker able to collect. Then Ness fired wide of the target as the home crowd finally woke from their slumbers. It was during this stronger period - in the 38th minute - that Crewe opened the scoring. Marcus Haber, who was once a Yeovil Town target, skinned his way past Kieffer Moore, and managed to dig out a cross that saw Nicky Ajose score from close range to put the home side a goal up.
The Glovers finished the first half without doing too much to wrestle the game back, and suffered a half time blow when captain Joe Edwards had to be withdrawn with an ankle injury, replaced by James Berrett. Edwards had rolled his ankle midway through the first half, requiring considerable treatment, but had hobbled his way through the remainder of the half, with presumably the half time break seeing that problem begin to freeze up a bit.
The second period also saw a formation change. The 3-4-1-2 formation was replaced by a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield - Sam Foley at the base, and with James Hayter at the top, as Kieffer Moore moved up front, leaving James Berrett and AJ Leitch-Smith as the two 'wide' parts of the diamond. Leitch-Smith shot from distance early on in the half but Ben Garratt got down low to save the attempt.
Ultimately, whilst it was the Glovers who were doing the pressing, Crewe were counter-attacking well, and taking advantage of the high number of attacking personnel that Yeovil had in their line-up once they lost possession. A James Jones shot was blocked by Ben Nugent for a corner, followed by another Jones effort going over the bar, with both moves happening on the break.
The Glovers reshuffled again, as Sam Hoskins replaced the tiring James Hayter, meaning that Yeovil were to use three captains on the night - first Joe Edwards, then Hayter after the half time break, with Sam Foley taking over duties upon Hayter's withdrawal. But they struggled to create clear-cut efforts in the final third - one effort from Kieffer Moore cleared the entire ground - whilst they were not helped by some rather confusing decision-making from referee Darren Handley over what constituted a foul, and what didn't.
In the closing stages, it was actually Crewe who threatened to score the second goal, as Stephen Arthurworrey and Ben Nugent pushed up front in what was already a striker-heavy line-up. Crewe soaked that pressure up and hit Yeovil on the break, and Nicky Ajose was unlucky not to score when once such move saw his shot come off the goal post and back into the arms of Artur Krysiak. Ajose broke through a second time minutes later, but found his shot drag wide of the post, closely followed by a Marcus Haber cross that went through the penalty box and out the other side, with a number of Crewe boots stretching to get on the ball.
As such the home side's three points were gained a little more comfortably in those closing stages than Yeovil would have liked, leaving the Glovers still stuck in 22nd place in the League One table, and with matters down near the bottom looking a little stretched, thanks to Crewe's win as well as Gillingham's triumph over Peterborough United under their new management team fronted by Justin Edinburgh. So the gap between them and safety grew back to four points again, and with Saturday's opponents Doncaster Rovers thrashing last Saturday's opponents Crawley Town by a 5-0 scoreline at the Broadfield Stadium, Yeovil's trip to the Keepmoat will see them face a team with their tails firmly up.
Link: 2014-15 Latest League One Table.
Final Score: Crewe Alexandra 1 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Nicky Ajose (1-0, 38 mins)
13. Ben Garratt
4. Harry Davis 30. Alan Tate 5. George Ray
7. Oliver Turton 20. James Jones 28. Jamie Ness 42. Anthony Grant 24. Greg Leigh
35. Nicky Ajose 25. Marcus Haber
39. Ross Etheridge 10. Bradden Inman 11. George Cooper 12. Lauri Dalla Valle 18. Liam Nolan 19. James Baillie 33. Anthony Stewart (90 mins for Nicky Ajose)
12. Artur Krysiak
26. Stephen Arthurworrey 13. Kieffer Moore 20. Ben Nugent
32. Liam Shephard 11. Sam Foley 4. Joe Edwards 3. Nathan Smith
10. AJ Leitch-Smith
25. Gozie Ugwu 9. James Hayter
22. Gareth Stewart 8. James Berrett (46 mins for Joe Edwards) 14. Sam Hoskins (71 mins for James Hayter) 15. Seth Nana Twumasi 18. Jamar Loza (85 mins for Kieffer Moore) 28. Alex Smith 29. Adam Morgan
Crewe Bookings: George Ray (delaying free kick, 21 mins), Jamie Ness (foul, 63 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Stephen Arthurworrey (foul, 59 mins), James Berrett (foul, 69 mins)
Crewe Match Statistics: Possession: 47%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 2; Fouls: 10.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 53%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 2; Fouls: 18.
Referee: Darren Handley (Lancashire). Assistant Referees: Matthew Donohue (Manchester) and Lisa Rashid (Birmingham). Fourth Official: Nick Greenhalgh (Lancashire).
Attendance: 3,523 (with 130 Yeovil supporters).