Match Details: 09/04/2016
Yeovil Town 0-2 Exeter City
Skybet League Two
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 2. Ben Tozer, 3. Nathan Smith, 6. Jakub Sokolík, 7. Kevin Dawson, 11. Ryan Dickson, 16. Tahvon Campbell, 24. Connor Roberts, 25. Liam Walsh, 32. Liam Shephard, 39. Francois Zoko
Subs: 4. Matthew Dolan, 9. Ryan Bird, 12. Chris Weale, 14. Jack Compton, 21. Alex Lacey, 23. Harry Cornick, 38. Leroy Lita,
Substitutes Used: Jack Compton for Ben Tozer (50 mins), Harry Cornick for Tahvon Campbell (54 mins), Ryan Bird for Liam Shephard (76 mins)
Yeovil Town went down to their first in-match home defeat since November 24th last year, when Exeter City did the double over them at Huish Park. The Grecians gained their 0-2 win with a goal in each half, as Ollie Watkins scored from the edge of the box, whilst Jake Taylor netted midway through the second half when he converted the rebound off his own shot had been saved. The Devon side had the best chances across the 90 minutes, having also struck the woodwork, and although the Glovers passed well, they lacked cutting edge and so saw their four month run that - FA Cup penalty shoot-out aside - had seen them turn Huish Park into a fortress. Today, Exeter deservedly breached that, leaving the club in 20th, and needing one win to ensure that York City and Dagenham and Redbridge are unable to perform any great escape.
The Glovers went into the match making four changes to the side that took to the field against Stevenage, with only one of those enforced. Marc Laird had come off at half time in that game with a hamstring injury and he dropped out of the squad entirely, with Liam Walsh replacing him. Also in midfield Liam Shephard came in for Matt Dolan, whilst there were two changes up front. Kevin Dawson was swapped for Jack Compton although came in on the left-hand side, swapping with Tahvon Campbell, whilst down the middle Francois Zoko returned to the starting line-up displacing Leroy Lita. Four ex-Glovers were in the Exeter line-up, with David Noble and Jamie McAllister on the pitch, and Joel Grant and Arron Davies on the bench.
Exeter City's attacking midfielder Ollie Watkins has been very much the talk of the division in recent weeks. His recent goalscoring feats saw him nominated as one of League Two's Player of the Month, and so he was an obvious player to pay close attention to when he lined up in the opposition. His first contribution was one of youthful naivety - a daft dive that landed him in the book. His second contribution showed why he got that nomination - he was given too much space to move on the edge of the box and he curled a 16th minute effort into the back of the net to give Exeter an early lead, bringing to an end Yeovil's 472 minute home run without conceding a goal on their own patch.
The Grecians were the side that were creating the better chances, with Jake Taylor striking the outside of the post, even if referee Stephen Martin confused the home crowd by declaring it an Artur Krysiak save and awarding a corner. Then Jayden Stockley put narrowly over the bar, and although Yeovil were passing the ball fairly well, it was obvious which side had the goal threat. It took 35 minutes before they even managed their first goal attempt - a Liam Shephard effort that went well wide. That seemed to finally give the Glovers a bit of a goal threat, with Kevin Dawson superbly threading Francois Zoko in on goal, but keeper Robert Olejnik blocked the ball well. That was as good as it got in terms of goalmouth action from a Glovers point of view, with possession fine, territory fine, but attacking somewhat blunted.
Kevin Dawson put a shot wide early in the second period before Darren Way decided to make what was to be one of several tactical switches in an attempt to produce a spark. Ben Tozer had mopped up well during the first half, but hadn't been creative, and so Dawson dropped deeper into his position, with Jack Compton coming on for Tozer as one of the three wide forwards. Then Harry Cornick became a straight swap for a rather quiet Tahvon Campbell.
But still there was the feeling that Exeter were the side that could provide the better attacking outlet, demonstrated when Jayden Stockley's free kick had to be saved well on the angle by Artur Krysiak. At the other end, Harry Cornick got a chance, but his final shot was weak and scuffed somewhat at the keeper. Then came Exeter's second - Yeovil's Harry Cornick mis-timed a header which instead flighted the ball behind him and into his team's defensive third, Exeter attacked, and when Jake Taylor's shot was only parried away by Artur Krysiak, the ball rebounded kindly to him and he was able to convert the ball into the back of the net.
Yeovil have struggled to score one goal in a game in the last couple of months, so expecting them to score two seemed an impossible ask. Jayden Stockley's attempt that deflected off Nathan Smith for a corner, and an Artur Krysiak palm-out from the subsequent corner in a chaotic goalmouth pointed more to a Grecians third. In the closing stages, Darren Way even abandoned his trusted 4-3-3, bringing on Ryan Bird for Liam Shephard and switching Harry Cornick and Jack Compton out to more orthodox roles as wingers in a 4-4-2. But still the clearcut chances wouldn't come, and although there was nothing much wrong with the approach play, crosses and set plays were far too easy throughout the game to worry Exeter.
The biggest headache for manager Darren Way is how he fixes the club's goalscoring problems - whilst the Glovers have been relatively watertight at the back over the past two or three months, they have netted just nine times in the last thirteen games, and have not scored more than one goal in a game since the January 3-2 victory at AFC Wimbledon. Today's failure to find the back of the net means it's now 490 minutes since they last scored an outfield goal. Contrast that with the 472 minutes they managed without conceding a home goal, and the recent impressive run of eight clean sheets in nine games, and it's fairly obvious which end of the pitch needs fixing, even if conceding two goals today has slightly blotted the defensive copybook. In the remaining five matches, Way will need to work out which of his creative midfielders and attacking players are not quite fitting into the system that he wants to play.
Link: 2015-16 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Exeter City 2.
Scorers: Ollie Watkins (0-1, 16 mins), Jake Taylor (0-2, 69 mins)
1. Artur Krysiak
24. Connor Roberts 6. Jakub Sokolik 3. Nathan Smith 11. Ryan Dickson
32. Liam Shephard 2. Ben Tozer 25. Liam Walsh
16. Tahvon Campbell 39. Francois Zoko 7. Kevin Dawson
12. Chris Weale (GK) 4. Matt Dolan 9. Ryan Bird (76 mins for Liam Shephard) 14. Jack Compton (50 mins for Ben Tozer) 21. Alex Lacey 23. Harry Cornick (54 mins for Tahvon Campbell) 38. Leroy Lita
1. Robert Olejnik
5. Jamie McAllister 39. Troy Brown 15. Jordan Moore-Taylor 3. Craig Woodman
4. David Noble 7. Ryan Harley 29. Ollie Watkins
10. Lee Holmes 33. Jayden Stockley 38. Jake Taylor
6. Christian Ribeiro 11. Arron Davies (86 mins for Jake Taylor) 14. Alex Nicholls (83 mins for Ollie Watkins) 22. David Wheeler 26. Jordan Tillson 30. Christy Pym 31. Joel Grant
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Exeter Bookings: Ollie Watkins (diving, 10 mins), Lee Holmes (foul, 53 mins)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 52%; Shots: 6; Shots On Target: 3; Corners: 7; Fouls: 13.
Exeter Match Statistics: Possession: 48%; Shots: 7; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 4; Fouls: 9.
Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire). Assistants: Adam Matthews (Gloucestershire) and Adrian Tranter (Dorset). Fourth Official: Adam Hopkins (Devon).
Attendance: 5,394 (with 1,513 Exeter City supporters).