Match Details: 03/10/2015
Portsmouth 0-0 Yeovil Town
Skybet League Two
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Matthew Dolan, 5. Stephen Arthurworrey, 6. Jakub Sokolík, 9. Ryan Bird, 11. Ryan Dickson, 20. Wes Fogden, 23. Harry Cornick, 24. Connor Roberts, 30. Josh Sheehan
Subs: 8. Marc Laird, 10. Shaun Jeffers, 12. Chris Weale, 19. Iffy Allen, 21. Alex Lacey, 26. Jake Howells, 28. Ollie Bassett,
Substitutes Used: Jake Howells for Jakub Sokolík (66 mins), Marc Laird for Harry Cornick (79 mins), Shaun Jeffers for Josh Sheehan (90 mins)
Bookings: Matthew Dolan (Foul, 17)
Yeovil Town had to put in a resilient defensive performance this afternoon, to keep out League Two promotion favourites Portsmouth at Fratton Park. They gained a 0-0 draw by soaking out an immense amount of Pompey pressure, with the home side particularly dominating the opening third and closing third of the game. In between, Yeovil had one of the best chances of the game, as former Pompey striker Ryan Bird's header from a corner was parried away on the goal line by Aaron McCarey, but in the end it was Yeovil's back four and goalkeeper who had to be the stars of the game, as they put in block after block to give the club an excellent away point, in what was a true team effort.
The Glovers went into the game making one change to their starting line-up with club captain Ryan Dickson coming back, as Luton Town loanee Jake Howells dropped to the bench. On that substitutes bench, Alex Lacey and Marc Laird were two more players coming back from injury - the biggest number of players the club have been able to choose from all season, meaning that Jordan Gibbons, Mark Beck and Max Melanson were not selected in the final eighteen.
The shape of the game was set up right from the start, with Yeovil having to deal with some extreme pressure from the home side. Gareth Evans had an early shot blocked by Jakub Sokolik, and that was typical of what was happening as Pompey reached the final third and then found the Glovers back four firmly in the way. The odd balance of the game was emphasised when 23 minutes into the match, Ryan Bird had the first proper chance of the whole game - a Josh Sheehan corner was headed towards goal with keeper Aaron McCarey being forced to clear his lines for another corner. Then Stephen Arthurworrey's header went wide from a Sheehan free kick, whilst a Ryan Dickson shot on goal was diverted by Ryan Bird but with the ball going wide of the target.
Just how well the Glovers defence had done was emphasised by the fact that it took 35 minutes before Artur Krysiak had a shot to save. Kyle Bennett's free kick was more of a cross, but ended up on target, with the keeper saving the ball at his far post. Then in the closing stages of the half Michael Doyle's shot went wide of the target, followed by a Matt Tubbs header, as the home support began to get more and more tetchy by their side's less than mobile play. Although they enjoyed a strong five minutes just before the whistle blew for the break, Pompey were struggling to get behind Yeovil's rearguard action.
No surprise then that Portsmouth chose to make a half time substitution. Jayden Stockley was part of a tactical switch, with Gareth Evans coming off and the home side switching to a 4-4-2, and a much more direct style. But Stephen Arthurworrey was mopping up every aerial ball sent in his direction. The home support finally started to make the kind of noise that you'd expect League Two's biggest crowd of the 2015-16 season to make, and that coincided with a trio of chances - Stockley's header went straight at Krysiak, then the substitute put a shot wide, followed by a Gary Roberts attempt going over the bar.
Yeovil's attempts at keeping the scoreline blank were put under threat by an injury to Jakub Sokolik that forced him off the field, and presumably Paul Sturrock didn't feel that Alex Lacey was capable of managing a full half hour on his first game back from a groin injury. So Jake Howells came on, meaning that Ryan Dickson had to complete a full 90 minutes on his comeback, whilst Nathan Smith shuffled across to fill in as a centre-back. With Wes Fogden later going down with a knee injury - thankfully he limped on to continue - the worry was that they wouldn't last the distance, but some terrific defensive blocks were seeing players putting their bodies on the line to stop the ball even reaching Artur Krysiak most of the time.
In the closing stages, Gary Roberts had a shot deflected for a corner, whilst Michael Doyle's 25 yard attempt was superbly saved by Artur Krysiak. Matt Tubbs should have converted at the back post when he got a header in from a Roberts cross. Even Ryan Bird seemed to be acting as an extra centre-half during the four minutes of injury time, giving an idea of how many players filled in to ensure they kept a clean sheet. The result may still leave the club just above the relegation zone, but in terms of morale and spirit, this result will not do the team any harm whatsoever.
Link: 2015-16 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Portsmouth 0 Yeovil Town 0.
27. Aaron McCarey
2. Ben Davies 20. Matthew Clarke 6. Christian Burgess 3. Enda Stevens
8. Michael Doyle 15. Adam Barton
26. Gareth Evans 23. Kyle Bennett 11. Gary Roberts
9. Matt Tubbs
4. Adam Webster 14. Kal Naismith 17. Jayden Stockley (46 mins for Gareth Evans) 18. Ben Tollitt 19. Conor Chaplin (89 mins for Matt Tubbs) 29. Danny Hollands (70 mins for Adam Barton) 35. Alex Bass
1. Artur Krysiak
24. Connor Roberts 5. Stephen Arthurworrey 6. Jakub Sololik 3. Nathan Smith
23. Harry Cornick 20. Wes Fogden 30. Josh Sheehan 4. Matt Dolan 11. Ryan Dickson (Captain)
9. Ryan Bird
12. Chris Weale 8. Marc Laird (79 mins for Harry Cornick) 10. Shaun Jeffers (90 mins for Josh Sheehan) 19. Iffy Allen 21. Alex Lacey 26. Jake Howells (66 mins for Jakub Sokolik) 28. Ollie Bassett
Portsmouth Bookings: None.
Yeovil Bookings: Matt Dolan (foul, 17 mins)
Portsmouth Match Statistics: Possession: 71%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 7; Fouls: 6.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 29%; Shots: 4; Shots On Target: 0; Corners: 2; Fouls: 6.
Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire). Assistants: Stuart Butler (Kent) and Nigel Lugg (Surrey). Fourth Official: Mark Derrien (Dorset).
Attendance: 17,309 (with 612 Yeovil supporters).