Match Details: 26/12/2015
Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Yeovil Town
Skybet League Two
Yeovil Line-Up: 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Matthew Dolan, 6. Jakub Sokolík, 10. Shaun Jeffers, 11. Ryan Dickson, 12. Chris Weale, 19. Iffy Allen, 24. Connor Roberts, 26. Darren Ward, 30. Josh Sheehan, 39. Francois Zoko
Subs: 1. Artur Krysiak, 2. Ben Tozer, 8. Marc Laird, 9. Ryan Bird, 14. Jack Compton, 21. Alex Lacey, 22. Mark Beck,
Substitutes Used: Ben Tozer for Ryan Dickson (70 mins), Ryan Bird for Iffy Allen (75 mins), Jack Compton for Shaun Jeffers (79 mins)
Bookings: Jakub Sokolík (Foul, 27), Ryan Dickson (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 34), Nathan Smith (Foul, 75)
Yeovil Town went down to defeat this afternoon, after League Two leaders Plymouth Argyle ensured that they stayed on top of the table. The Glovers battled hard on a greasy surface, but with the home side clearly on top, despite Matt Dolan's first half long range strike coming back off the crossbar. Goalkeeper Chris Weale had kept his side in the game with a string of saves, but just before the hour mark, he was only able to parry a Craig Tanner shot into the path of Ryan Brunt, who converted from close range for what would be the winning goal. Yeovil's substitutions didn't really change the fact that they didn't test Pilgrims keeper Luke McCormick all afternoon, meaning that although the single goal gave the match an edge, Plymouth's 1-0 win was a relatively comfortable one, leaving Yeovil stuck in 23rd place and extending their winless run in the league to 15 games.
Yeovil Town interim manager Darren Way selected the same starting eleven as in last weekend's match against Leyton Orient, with just one change on the substitutes bench as midfielder Marc Laird returned following his hamstring problems, with Christian Maghoma the one fit player to drop out of the matchday eighteen. On the Plymouth Argyle teamsheet, former Glovers striker Reuben Reid made it as far as the bench, having missed two-and-a-half months worth of football through injury.
The opening spell of the game saw the home side in dominant form, starting the game at full pace. Gregg Wylde particularly attacked Yeovil's right flank with impressive pace, with his early ball into the box seeing Jake Jervis getting half a boot onto the ball as it deflected wide of the target. The home side didn't seem to enjoy their greasy surface, which has suffered from recent algae problems, and that was apparent when Wylde seemed to slip as he scuffed a shot at Chris Weale. Then Oscar Threlkeld headed over the bar. As Argyle dominated, Ryan Brunt cut in from the flank, curling a low effort that skidded nastily off the turf, but Weale got down well to stop the shot.
As an attacking force, Yeovil had barely been in the game, and so it was something of a surprise when around 20 minutes into the match, they struck the crossbar with their first shot of any kind. Matt Dolan has always been one to try his luck from distance, and he fired from 25 yards out, beating Luke McCormick but coming off the woodwork. But most of the play was at the other end, with the increasingly busy Chris Weale first having to palm away a cross into the box that had turned into a far post on target shot, and then had to get to his feet quickly to stop a Jake Jervis shot. It was only during the final 15 minutes worth of the half that Yeovil seemed to calm down the wave of Argyle attacks, gradually mopping things up before they could reach the 18 yard area, albeit without showing anything of note at the other end. A few silly bookings from both sides gave the game a bit of a Boxing Day tetchy feel to it, but despite the lack of attacking intent at least Yeovil were holding the home side at bay.
The second period opened up with more of the same, as Plymouth threatened Yeovil's goal, with Chris Weale once again having to parry a Jake Jervis shot, as his free kick was curled around a defensive wall. However, much as though Weale had kept his side in the game for the first 59 minutes, he couldn't hold onto another 25 yard shot from Craig Tanner that appeared to swerve. The ball was parried as far as the feet of Ryan Brunt and he was able to poke the rebound into the back of the net for the opening goal of the game.
Inevitably, Yeovil made a series of substitutions to try to shake the game up and get a foothold into the game. The first was a very local one, with Saltash's Ryan Dickson being swapped for Millhouse's Ben Tozer - both former Plymouth Argyle lads. Dickson's departure forced a reshuffle, with Nathan Smith dropping deep and Shaun Jeffers dropping into a wide left position, as the Glovers switched to a 4-5-1. Then five minutes later the Glovers subtly switched again as Iffy Allen seemed to be stretching his hamstrings as he tired, and he was sensibly withdrawn as Ryan Bird coming on and taking a wide role that with three strikers on the pitch meant that the 4-5-1 was a sort of a deep 4-3-3 formation.
During the closing stages, Yeovil did have one or two half chances to get back into it, as Josh Sheehan fired wide of the target, whilst a Francois Zoko attempt to fire the ball across the face of the six yard box couldn't get that valuable boot on the ball that would have been converted it. Then Darren Ward's header went over the bar - the big problem was that bar that first half Matt Dolan long range attempt that struck the crossbar, there was nothing that ever threatened Luke McCormick's goal, with the home keeper barely getting his hands dirty, bar the odd stray cross. As such, Argyle deserved their victory, having kept Chris Weale very busy and then being alert enough to seize upon the one moment they got daylight to get the ball past him. Yeovil remain in 23rd place, with the main plus point being that none of the bottom five picked up points to alter the current table positions.
Link: 2015-16 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Plymouth Argyle 1 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Ryan Brunt (1-0, 59 mins)
23. Luke McCormick
2. Kelvin Mellor 5. Curtis Nelson 6. Peter Hartley 3. Gary Sawyer
26. Oscar Threlkeld 4. Carl McHugh 14. Jake Jervis 27. Craig Tanner
11. Gregg Wylde 17. Ryan Brunt
8. Josh Simpson (79 mins for Craig Tanner) 9. Reuben Reid (79 mins for Gregg Wylde) 15. Tyler Harvey 16. Ben Purrington (90 mins for Ryan Brunt) 18. Deane Smalley 24. Louis Rooney 31. Christian Walton
12. Chris Weale
24. Connor Roberts 6. Jakub Sokolik 26. Darren Ward (Capt) 11. Ryan Dickson
19. Iffy Allen 4. Matt Dolan 30. Josh Sheehan 3. Nathan Smith
39. Francois Zoko 10. Shaun Jeffers
1. Artur Krysiak (GK) 2. Ben Tozer (70 mins for Ryan Dickson) 8. Marc Laird 9. Ryan Bird (75 mins for Iffy Allen) 14. Jack Compton (79 mins for Shaun Jeffers) 21. Alex Lacey 22. Mark Beck
Plymouth Bookings: Oscar Threlkeld (delaying free kick, 26 mins), Peter Hartley (foul, 45 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Jakub Sokolik (foul, 27 mins), Ryan Dickson (contesting a throw-in, 34 mins), Nathan Smith (foul, 75 mins)
Plymouth Match Statistics: Possession: 54%; Shots: 15; Shots On Target: 9; Corners: 4; Fouls: 10.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 46%; Shots: 6; Shots On Target: 0; Corners: 1; Fouls: 15.
Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey). Assistants: Chris Powell (Dorset) and Brett Huxtable (Devon). Fourth Official: Andrew Quin (Devon).
Attendance: 12,821 (with 553 Yeovil supporters).