Match Details: 06/08/2016
Yeovil Town 2-0 Notts County
EFL League Two
Yeovil Goals: Kevin Dawson (16), Otis Khan (23)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 2. Liam Shephard, 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Matthew Dolan, 6. Alex Lacey, 7. Kevin Dawson, 8. Alex Lawless, 9. Tom Eaves, 10. Otis Khan, 11. Ryan Dickson, 23. Ryan Hedges,
Subs: 5. Bevis Mugabi, 12. Jonny Maddison, 16. Matt Butcher, 17. Omar Sowunmi, 19. Tahvon Campbell, 20. Joe Lea, 26. Darren Ward
Substitutes Used: Darren Ward for Nathan Smith (71 mins), Tahvon Campbell for Otis Khan (79 mins), Matt Butcher for Kevin Dawson (84 mins)
Yeovil Town got off to a winning start this afternoon at Huish Park, as they beat Notts County by a 2-0 scoreline. The damage was done during the middle period of a first half that the Glovers dominated, with midfielder Kevin Dawson scoring his first goal for the club for nearly two years as he challenged Magpies keeper Adam Collin for the ball, then nudged the loose ball home. Then seven minutes later, Otis Khan scored on his debut, as the former Barnsley winger was the first to react to a Ryan Hedges shot that Collin could only parry, with another loose ball put into the net. A more even second half followed, but the advantage was always in Yeovil's favour.
The Glovers went into the match selecting a very predictable starting line-up - having spent most of pre-season shaping their team around roughly the same nine or ten players, the final eleven selected was the same as that put out for the last pre-season friendly against Swindon Town. On the bench, three players who signed yesterday - Bevis Mugabi, Tahvon Campbell and Matt Butcher - were joined by club captain Darren Ward who had recorded from his knee problem enough to get his first chance of football, having missed the whole of pre-season. Josh Ezewele had a knee problem whilst Francois Zoko's hip flexor issue kept him out. Ollie Bassett was the one first teamer not in the matchday squad who was fit and available.
The visiting side probably edged the opening ten minutes of the match without creating too much to worry Yeovil, even if they kept a degree of pressure on the Glovers defence. Eventually it was Yeovil who began to exert their authority on the game. Tom Eaves headed wide of the target ten minutes in, and then the pace and trickery of Otis Khan saw him weave through the County defence with the only disappointment being that he slightly fluffed his lines on his finish, with the ball squirting just wide of the post, even if the Huish Park crowd tried to roar it into the net.
Yeovil's opening goal had a touch of controversy to it from Notts County's point of view. Otis Khan was involved in the build-up and when Liam Shephard's cross was put into the box, Kevin Dawson went up and challenged for the ball with goalkeeper Adam Collin. The keeper fumbled the ball, and Dawson pounced for his first goal in Yeovil Town colours in nearly two years. That was the signal for the Glovers to dominate the match with Ryan Hedges and Otis Khan particularly effective. It was therefore fitting that they were involved in Yeovil's second goal that happened just 23 minutes into the game. Hedges made it, with his turn and shot being parried by Collin, and on hand for the loose ball was Khan who stuck in the rebound from inside the box for a 2-0 lead.
Notts County looked shellshocked and Yeovil probably should have been further ahead by half time. It was only in the ten minutes leading up to the break that the Magpies managed to get any sort of stability in their defence, with it being clear that their three centre-backs against Yeovil's three forwards was stretching them way too much. The visitors only effort throughout the first half was a Jonathan Forte effort that went extremely high and wide, and they looked and played like a rattled side. The fact that Notts County captain Carl Dickinson and midfielder Matt Tootle got into an angry exchange as they walked towards the tunnel said it all about how the visitors had been dominated.
Inevitably, a half time dressing down by Notts County manager John Sheridan sent them out as a far more organised and determined side in a much more balanced half. The problem the Magpies faced though was that they had to break down a Glovers side that now had a two goal advantage and could soak up a lot more pressure by putting men behind the ball and battling to close down their opponents. Nathan Smith's superb block tackle to stop Jonathan Stead getting in on a Jonathan Forte cross was typical with the defender sending the ball out for a corner. Then Forte headed wide of the target.
Sheridan made substitution, introducing Vadaine Oliver, who had been on York City's books last season, and in the closing stages, they also changed from their questionable 3-5-2 formation. But still Yeovil kept them on their toes, with a Matt Dolan free kick being curled over the wall, whilst at the other end, referee Ollie Yates' policy of pretty much doing nothing throughout the match helped the Glovers when Matt Tootle appeared to go down inside the box via an outstretched boot, but the Staffordshire official decided not to intervene.
The one downside to the afternoon was an injury to Nathan Smith, who collided with substitute Vadaine Oliver and then spent a protracted amount of time hobbling around and then eventually stood on the touchline waiting for a decision to be made on whether he was going to be substituted - eventually Darren Ward was thrust into action - the first sight we've had of him in any shape or form since March 25th with the captain having missed the whole of pre-season. That bit of lack of match practice may have affected the way that Artur Krysiak was forced into his first major save of the match, with Jonathan Forte shruggling off attempts by Ward to force him sideways and away from goal.
In the end it was a comfortable victory. The goal that Notts County needed to change the perspective of the match never came, even if they applied themselves better in the second period. For Yeovil they ended with substitute Tahvon Campbell nearly setting up Ryan Hedges for a third, but the Swansea City loanee put the ball wide of the target. The 2-0 scoreline was an accurate reflection of the game, driven by Yeovil's first half 20 minute period in which they stretched the visitors defence, and Notts County never really did enough to justify getting back into the game. A good start, and what the Glovers need if they are to make 2016-17 a happier time than the sluggish way the last two campaigns have commenced.
Link: 2015-16 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 2 Notts County 0.
Scorers: Kevin Dawson (1-0, 16 mins), Otis Khan (2-0, 23 mins)
1. Artur Krysiak
2. Liam Shephard, 6. Alex Lacey, 3. Nathan Smith, 11. Ryan Dickson (Capt)
7. Kevin Dawson, 8. Alex Lawless, 4. Matt Dolan,
10. Otis Khan, 9. Tom Eaves, 23. Ryan Hedges.
Substitutes: 12. Jonny Maddison 5. Bevis Mugabi 16. Matt Butcher (84 mins for Kevin Dawson) 17. Omar Sowunmi 19. Tahvon Campbell (79 mins for Otis Khan) 20. Joe Lea 26. Darren Ward (71 mins for Nathan Smith)
1. Adam Collin
5. Richard Duffy 6. Haydn Hollis 31. Thierry Audel
18. Elliott Hewitt 2. Matt Tootle 23. Alex Rodman 33. Stanley Aborah 3. Carl Dickinson (Capt)
11. Jonathan Forte 30. Jonathan Stead
13. Scott Loach 4. Alan Smith (63 mins for Elliott Hewitt) 37. Mike Edwards 24. Adam Campbell 7. Genaro Snijders 9. Vadaine Oliver (56 mins for Jonathan Stead) 26. Graham Burke (63 mins for Stanley Aborah)
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Notts County Bookings: None.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 47%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 1; Fouls: 11.
Notts County Match Statistics: Possession: 53%; Shots: 10; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 5; Fouls: 11.
Referee: Ollie Yates (Staffordshire). Assistants: Matt Eva (Surrey) and Michael Webb (Surrey). Fourth Official: Simon Knapp (Bristol).
Attendance: 3,715 (with 492 Notts County supporters).