Match Details: 08/08/2015
Exeter City 3-2 Yeovil Town
Skybet League Two
Yeovil Goals: Harry Cornick (46), Matthew Dolan (63)
Yeovil Line-Up: 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Matthew Dolan, 5. Stephen Arthurworrey, 8. Marc Laird, 10. Shaun Jeffers, 11. Ryan Dickson, 12. Chris Weale, 20. Wes Fogden, 21. Alex Lacey, 22. Mark Beck, 24. Connor Roberts
Subs: 1. Artur Krysiak, 6. Jakub Sokolík, 9. Ryan Bird, 16. Jamie Burrows, 19. Iffy Allen, 23. Harry Cornick,
Substitutes Used: Harry Cornick for Wes Fogden (46 mins), Jakub Sokolík for Alex Lacey (74 mins), Ryan Bird for Ryan Dickson (86 mins)
Yeovil Town went down to defeat in their opening match of the 2015-16 season, as neighbours Exeter City got the better of a five goal game. The Glovers downfall was mainly as a result of a poor first half performance. Tom Nichols scored from the penalty spot after Connor Roberts pulled back Alex Nicholls, then ten minutes later David Wheeler successfully broke behind the Yeovil back four thanks to David Noble's slick pass to put City 2-0 up at the break. New AFC Bournemouth loan signing Harry Cornick needed just 23 seconds to make his mark as he latched onto a loose ball via a Nathan Smith long throw. Then Ryan Dickson forced the second penalty of the game, which Matthew Dolan converted. At that point the game could have gone either way, but Grecians substitute Will Hoskins got in behind the Glovers defence with six minutes remaining to fire home the winning goal, and dampen down expectations amongst the 1,247 travelling Glovers.
The Glovers went into the match giving six players full debuts in the starting line-up, whilst three more returned to resume their careers with the club. Only the long-standing Chris Weale and Nathan Smith were part of the club's contracted staff last season as far as the eleven players were concerned. In the opposition, David Noble, Arron Davies and Jamie McAllister were familiar names from past Yeovil sides.
Apart from an early passage of play that saw a Mark Beck header tipped over, and an Alex Lacey blocked attempt from the resultant corner, Yeovil struggled in an attacking sense during the first half. They played a midfield diamond with Matt Dolan occupying the base, whilst Wes Fogden occupied the front-most position, although at times the latter tended to drop into the middle. An early pair of minute's applause to recognise former favourite Adam Stansfield by all four sides of the ground was well observed, during a passage of play when both teams were trying to find their feet in the bright sunshine.
Half an hour into the match, the Grecians gained the upper hand as they won a penalty. An Alex Nicholls shot inside the box was initially blocked by Swansea City loanee Connor Roberts, and as the same player tried to pull the trigger on the loose ball, he was pulled back by Roberts, with referee Gavin Ward blowing for a fairly uncontentious spot kick. Tom Nichols stepped up and scored, and that single goal lead was to open up the match heavily in the favour of the home side.
Ten minutes later, and Exeter doubled their lead, thanks to former Glovers loanee David Noble's well-measured pass behind the back four. That set David Wheeler away, with Alex Lacey losing his marker, and although he collided with Chris Weale in his efforts to reach the through ball, he got his boot there first and slotted the ball into the back of the net. At 2-0, the Grecians were well on top and Yeovil needed the half time whistle to come to reorganise themselves.
The result of the half time dressing room talk was for Paul Sturrock to withdraw the ineffective Wes Fogden and replace him by AFC Bournemouth loanee Harry Cornick. His first contribution to the game was emphatic, with Nathan Smith's long throw just 23 seconds into the match not being cleared by the Exeter defence as it was flicked on - Cornick turned with his back to goal and fired home a left-footed shot to pull the game back to 2-1.
Just past the hour mark, Ryan Dickson's turn and run inside the box saw him brought down in the box by Exeter defender Christian Ribeiro for the game's second penalty of the match. Up stepped Matt Dolan to score his second goal for Yeovil Town - the last one came back in April 2013. That put Yeovil firmly back into the match at 2-2 and set up a thrilling end to end finale during which both teams had chances to win it.
Former Glovers legend Arron Davies got a rare move forward as his deflected shot was saved by Chris Weale, then David Wheeler struck the goalpost. At the other end, Harry Cornick caused chaos as Exeter's defence didn't dare tackle him again, and when the ball was released to Shaun Jeffers, his shot was parried for a corner. But with six minutes remaining, and with Exeter having brought on the experience of former Brighton striker Will Hoskins, they managed to fashion a winner. For the second time in the match a through ball - this time from Matt Oakley - allowed an Exeter player to get in behind the Yeovil defence with a yard of free space on the edge of the box as Stephen Arthurworrey chased, and Hoskins was able to easily lift the ball past Chris Weale for what would be the winning goal.
A mixed bag on the opening day, with a poor first half balanced out by a much more impressive second half display, albeit one that still ended in disappointment. But clearly there is a lot more work to do on the side over the coming month or two, and with seventeen new players to blend into the squad this may take some time. These are still early days.
Link: 2014-15 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Exeter City 3 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Tom Nichols (31 mins, 1-0, pen), David Wheeler (41 mins, 2-0), Harry Cornick (46 mins, 2-1), Matt Dolan (63 mins, 2-2, pen), Will Hoskins (84 mins, 3-2)
12. Chris Weale
24. Connor Roberts 5. Stephen Arthurworrey 21. Alex Lacey 3. Nathan Smith
20. Wes Fogden 4. Matthew Dolan 8. Marc Laird 11. Ryan Dickson (Captain)
22. Mark Beck 10. Shaun Jeffers
1. Artur Krysiak 6. Jakub Sokolik (74 mins for Alex Lacey) 9. Ryan Bird (86 mins for Ryan Dickson) 16. Jamie Burrows 19. Iffy Allen 23. Harry Cornick (46 mins for Wes Fogden)
1. Robert Olejnik
11. Arron Davies 6. Christian Ribeiro 39. Troy Brown 5. Jamie McAllister
7. Ryan Harley 8. Matt Oakley 4. David Noble
22. David Wheeler 14. Alex Nicholls 20. Tom Nichols
2. Danny Butterfield 3. Craig Woodman 13. Clinton Morrison (84 mins for Tom Nichols) 16. Will Hoskins (73 mins for Alex Nicholls) 19. Emmanuel Oyeleke (87 mins for David Noble) 21. James Hamon 26. Jordan Tillson
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Exeter Bookings: David Noble (30 mins, trying to get opposition player booked)
Exeter Match Statistics: Possession: 55%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 5; Fouls: 5.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 45%; Shots: 6; Shots On Target: 3; Corners: 5; Fouls: 10.
Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey). Assistants: Richard Martin (Weston-super-Mare) and Richard Hulme (Somerset). Fourth Official: Adam Bromley (Devon).
Attendance: 5,659 (with 1,247 Yeovil supporters).
NB: 1,299 away tickets were sold, but 1,247 Yeovil supporters attended the fixture.