Match Details: 22/08/2015
Yeovil Town 3-2 Luton Town
Skybet League Two
Yeovil Goals: Stephen Arthurworrey (38), Ryan Bird (62), Ryan Bird (73)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Matthew Dolan, 5. Stephen Arthurworrey, 6. Jakub Sokolík, 10. Shaun Jeffers, 14. Jack Compton, 21. Alex Lacey, 23. Harry Cornick, 24. Connor Roberts, 25. Josh Wakefield,
Subs: 9. Ryan Bird, 12. Chris Weale, 16. Jamie Burrows, 17. Omar Sowunmi, 19. Iffy Allen, 22. Mark Beck, 28. David Norris
Substitutes Used: Ryan Bird for Shaun Jeffers (60 mins), Iffy Allen for Jack Compton (75 mins)
Bookings: Connor Roberts (Foul, 87)
Yeovil Town came from two goals down to beat Luton Town at Huish Park today, as they recorded their first win of the 2015-16 season. Having lost their first four matches, including their first three league games, the Glovers looked to be heading in the same direction as a cracking 25 yarder from Craig Mackail-Smith was followed up by a rather easier close range tap-in from his strike partner Paul Benson. The game turned entirely when Stephen Arthurworrey headed home from a Connor Roberts cross and from that moment the Glovers were on top. The other key moment came through the introduction of former Portsmouth striker Ryan Bird. Within a couple of minutes of coming on, Arthurworrey fed him for the equalising goal, and then eleven minutes later, the same combination secured the winning goal, lifting Yeovil up into 19th place and getting them off the mark at last.
The Glovers went into the match making three team changes and a formation change from the side that had taken the field against York City in midweek. Matt Dolan was restored after his one match suspension, whilst there were places in the side for Shaun Jeffers and Jack Compton, displacing Mark Beck and Ryan Bird to the bench. Wes Fogden's broken fingers meant that he was sat in the stands, whilst there was also a formation change, with Alex Lacey moving into midfield against his old club as they put out a 4-3-3 formation with three pacey players put into the front line positions.
The start was about as horrible as it is possible to get. Just 188 seconds into the match, Craig Mackail-Smith - hardly an unknown quantity from his days at Peterborough United - received the ball 25 yards away from goal, chested it down, and with no-one looking to close him down he fired the ball with a looping shot that went straight into the back of the net. That was a real hammer blow for the Glovers, and silenced the Huish Park crowd during the early stages, as the Glovers had a tentative start to the match.
Midway through the first half, that poor start turned into a bit of a nightmare as Mackail-Smith's strike partner got in on the act. Steve McNulty's corner was headed back down by Jonathan Smith into the danger zone and a host of Luton players were queuing up to score, with former Dagenham and Redbridge player Paul Benson able to tap the ball over the line from a yard or two out. Luton weren't exactly rampant, but they were two goals to the good, and the Glovers were looking a bit ragged and shellshocked.
The Glovers didn't line up their first chance until 30 minutes into the match, when a Shaun Jeffers shot was saved by former Glovers loanee Mark Tyler - last seen on the Glovers books nineteen years ago whilst the club were in the Isthmian League! Luton were just starting to wobble a bit, with another veteran Steve McNulty continually fouling Jeffers to stop the more speedy player from breaking clear. With seven minutes to go before the break, Yeovil had a lifeline - a Connor Roberts cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Stephen Arthurworrey and that was to turn the pattern of the game entirely.
Luton looked nervy, with McNulty having already landed in the book and then getting a final warning from referee Simon Hooper who made it clear what would happen if he carried on with his tactics. It was therefore little surprise to find the visitors swapping the big man for Mark O'Brien at half time, to save him from a likely red card. A more even period ensured, with Paul Benson forcing an excellent save from Artur Krysiak, and that moment was to prove crucial to the eventual pattern of the game.
On the hour mark, former Cambridge United and Portsmouth striker Ryan Bird was introduced into the the side, replacing a tired Shaun Jeffers. Bird has been utilised as a midfielder in recent games but this was his first proper chance to show what he could do up front. The result was rather emphatic. Stephen Arthurworry won the ball out on the flank and provided a low ball in towards Bird, who finished smartly from close range for the equalising goal.
But there was better to come. Eleven minutes after that goal, and thirteen minutes after his introduction, Ryan Bird struck again. There won't be too many games in Stephen Arthurworrey's career where he'll claim one goal and two assists, but it was his pass that set Bird free, and he shot early from the edge of the box to turn the game on its head and put Yeovil 3-2 up, 54 minutes after being 0-2 down. To add insult to the Luton fans feelings, the pre-match sunshine turned into second half rain, soaking those on the away terrace and sending the scurrying down the tunnel towards the tea bar coverings - presumably they didn't want to watch the remainder of the game!
In truth, Luton were finished by that third goal. With the Glovers having youth and adrenalin on their side, they finished the game as the stronger team, and Luton simply faded away, albeit with a late effort from Scott Griffiths worrying a few fans as it bounced off the top of the top of the crossbar. But the Glovers deserved their win, and a climb up to 19th place giving a bit of relief around Huish Park, following a sticky start to the 2015-16 season. A week's break now follows, where hopefully Paul Sturrock can take his new boys onto the training ground to refine what is still a work in progress.
Link: 2015-16 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 3 Luton Town 2.
Scorers: Craig Mackail-Smith (4 mins, 0-1), Paul Benson (19 mins, 0-2), Stephen Arthurworrey (38 mins, 1-2), Ryan Bird (62 mins, 2-2), Ryan Bird (73 mins, 3-2)
1. Artur Krysiak
24. Connor Roberts 5. Stephen Arthurworrey 6. Jakub Sokolik 3. Nathan Smith (Captain)
25. Josh Wakefield 21. Alex Lacey 4. Matt Dolan
23. Harry Cornick 10. Shaun Jeffers 14. Jack Compton
12. Chris Weale 9. Ryan Bird (60 mins for Shaun Jeffers) 16. Jamie Burrows 19. Iffy Allen (75 mins for Jack Compton) 17. Omar Sowunmi 22. Mark Beck 26. David Norris
1. Mark Tyler
30. Luke Wilkinson 6. Scott Cuthbert 5. Steve McNulty 12. Scott Griffiths
10. Ryan Hall 4. Jonathan Smith 8. Cameron McGeehan 11. Danny Green
9. Paul Benson 22. Craig Mackail-Smith
2. Stephen O'Donnell 7. Alex Lawless (58 mins for Ryan Hall) 15. Paddy McCourt (66 mins for Danny Green) 16. Elliot Justham 17. Pelly Ruddock 23. Josh McQuoid 25. Mark O'Brien (46 mins for Steve McNulty)
Yeovil Bookings: Connor Roberts (87 mins, foul)
Luton Bookings: Steve McNulty (33 mins, foul), Jonathan Smith (88 mins, foul)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 52%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 7; Corners: 5; Fouls: 11.
Luton Match Statistics: Possession: 48%; Shots: 7; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 5; Fouls: 13.
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire). Assistants: Mark Howes (Birmingham) and Christopher Wade (Hampshire). Fourth Official: Justin Amey (Dorset).
Attendance: 3,830 (with 820 Luton supporters).