Match Details: 13/08/2016
Luton Town 1-1 Yeovil Town
EFL League Two
Yeovil Goals: Tom Eaves (78)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 4. Matthew Dolan, 5. Bevis Mugabi, 7. Kevin Dawson, 8. Alex Lawless, 9. Tom Eaves, 10. Otis Khan, 11. Ryan Dickson, 16. Matt Butcher, 21. Alex Lacey, 23. Ryan Hedges
Subs: 3. Nathan Smith, 12. Jonny Maddison, 17. Omar Sowunmi, 19. Tahvon Campbell, 20. Joe Lea, 22. Ollie Bassett,
Substitutes Used: Tahvon Campbell for Alex Lacey (33 mins), Omar Sowunmi for Tom Eaves (83 mins)
Bookings: Ryan Dickson (Foul, 48), Tom Eaves (Foul, 66)
A second half goal from Yeovil Town striker Tom Eaves gave his side a well earned point at Kenilworth Road this afternoon. The former Bolton Wanderers striker, who rejoined the club over the summer, scored with a typical striker's 78th minute header from a right wing cross from Kevin Dawson that saw his side come back from being a goal down. Luton's first half display saw them reach half time with a superb Stephen O'Donnell blaster from 20 yards out that gave them the lead. But after the break a formation change brought Yeovil back into contention, with Eaves ensuring a point each in a 1-1 draw.
The Glovers went into the match making just one change to their starting line-up, with another injury forcing that situation. Liam Shephard had picked up a kick on his ankle/Achilles area at Walsall on Tuesday night, and he dropped out of the side, with Bevis Mugabi coming into the side. On the bench Nathan Smith was deemed fit enough to sit on the bench, although ultimately was never used despite further injury problems materialising, suggesting that he was only marginally ready to play. Youth team graduate Ollie Bassett who had been left out of the first two matchday squads finally got his first position on the teamsheet. However, Darren Ward (knee), Josh Ezewele (knee) and Francois Zoko (hip flexor) all missed out.
The first half opened up with the two sides formations being key as to how things panned out. Whilst the Glovers stuck to their tried'n'trusted 4-3-3 formation, Nathan Jones opted to put Luton out in a 4-4-2 line-up. It was the home side that looked the most dominant in the opening 45 minutes, with them doubling up on the flanks to good effect. Yeovil actually had the first chance, as Matt Dolan had a shot blocked, with the ball looping up over the bar for a corner. But then Glen Rea forced the best out of Artur Krysiak as the Pole produced a flying save from the Luton midfielder's header.
There wasn't an awful lot that Krysiak could have done about what followed in the 26th minute of the match. Perhaps being critical, someone in the Glovers midfield or back line should have been at the back post when the ball was put in from the left side of the pitch but then got flicked onto the right flank, where Stephen O'Donnell was in acres of free space. But once O'Donnell teed it up - and he was given plenty of space to do so - his shot from 25 yards out was hit like a rocket into the top corner. No-one likes conceding a goal, but it's hard to argue with them when they fly in like that.
Yeovil had their own problems in defence to deal with of a different nature. Alex Lacey might have expected a friendly welcome back to his old club, but instead he got a bit of early rough-housing from Danny Hylton five minutes into the match, when the Luton striker gave him one of those rather cynical shoves just as the ball was running out of play. Such is the tightness of the Kenilworth Road ground at the Oak Road end of the ground, that simple shove was enough to send Lacey over the advertising boardings and down a three foot drop into the Oak Road Stand. Whilst Lacey managed to get himself to his feet fairly quickly following that fall, he twice needed first half treatment on an arm injury, and on the second occasion, the Glovers bench decided to withdraw him.
On came Tahvon Campbell which forced a rather major reshuffle. Bevis Mugabi had to switch to centre-back, Kevin Dawson had to drop to right-back, whilst Tahvon Campbell moved up front, with Ryan Hedges dropping into a deeper role. With a makeshift defence trying to get their bearings, Luton tried to take advantage, although thankfully Pelly Ruddock's finishing was woeful - the ball reached him after the Glovers had struggled to clear their lines, but with defenders and goalkeeper dragged out of position due to the earlier play, Ruddock sliced his effort wide of the target. Then as four minutes of injury time was played due to Lacey's problems, Jack Marriott fired an angled shot wide of the target. The Glovers finished the half with Ryan Dickson needing treatment and heavily limping, after he fell awkwardly in one goalmouth scramble, meaning that the half time whistle was somewhat welcome for Yeovil given that it only left them with a single goal disadvantage.
During the closing stages of the first period Yeovil appeared to try to tweak their formation a couple of times - Luton's control down the flanks had been too great at times. For the second period, they tweaked it again, with Tahvon Campbell and Tom Eaves providing a central pairing whilst Otis Khan and Ryan Hedges played as midfield wide men. That seemed to give them more balance, and they even had the ball in the back of the net when Bevis Mugabi was one of three Yeovil players queued up at the back post from a left-wing cross. Unfortunately he had strayed into an offside position, and by the time the ball was netted, the linesman's flag was obviously raised.
Chances were starting to come Yeovil's way. Tom Eaves seemed to lose his balance on the edge of the box, but used that fall to his advantage as he got up and hooked the ball towards goal - a move that almost took home keeper Christian Walton by surprise as he had to claw the ball away to his right. Then we had a game of total pinball inside the Luton penalty box - a 15 or 20 second period in which Luton couldn't clear their lines inside the area, but neither could the Glovers get a toe onto the ball towards goal, even if flying bodies showed how desperate both sides were in their respective efforts. Tahvon Campbell then went close, as Walton again seemed to struggle with the flight of the ball, being forced to parry the shot away as it dug off the turf in front of him.
Whilst Luton were the better side in the first half, there was little doubt which side had the better of the second period. So when the ball came out to Kevin Dawson in an advanced position with 12 minutes remaining, his ball into the box saw Tom Eaves score a richly deserved equalising goal, with the header into the corner a classic 'target man' striker's goal that the Glovers have tended to lack in recent seasons. 1-1 and game on!
During the closing stages, Yeovil lost Tom Eaves to an injury, as he sat on the turf in front of the dugouts, leading to a late drinks break whilst the Glovers lined up Omar Sowunmi to come on for the final six minutes. The Glovers could have won it right at the end of five minutes of second half injury time when Matt Dolan lined up a free kick on the edge of the box. He flighted it brilliantly, but the ball just about cleared the crossbar, and in the end both sides had to settle for a point each. As a side expected to challenge for promotion this season, Luton away was a useful benchmark for the Glovers own ambitions, and whilst two games into a 46 game season is far too early to make firm judgements, in terms of the 90 minutes out there, once Yeovil had found their footing, they came out of it well, hopefully suggesting that there aren't too many sides in League Two they should be fearing at this stage - the fact that nine teams are currently all sharing four points after two matches suggests that this could be a very wide open division.
Link: 2016-17 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Luton Town 1 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Stephen O'Donnell (1-0, 26 mins), Tom Eaves (1-1, 78 mins)
1. Christian Walton
2. Stephen O'Donnell 5. Johnny Mullins 6. Scott Cuthbert 3. Dan Potts
17. Pelly Ruddock 8. Cameron McGeehan 16. Glen Rea 10. Jordan Cook
9. Danny Hylton 14. Jack Marriott
7. Jake Gray (58 mins for Pelly Ruddock) 20. Isaac Vassell (86 mins for Jack Marriott) 4. Jonathan Smith (65 mins for Cameron McGeehan) 19. Olly Lee 23. Josh McQuoid 31. Craig King 36. James Justin
1. Artur Krysiak
5. Bevis Mugabi 21. Alex Lacey 16. Matt Butcher 11. Ryan Dickson (Capt)
7. Kevin Dawson 8. Alex Lawless 4. Matt Dolan
23. Ryan Hedges 9. Tom Eaves 10. Otis Khan
12. Jonny Maddison 3. Nathan Smith 17. Omar Sowunmi (83 mins for Tom Eaves) 19. Tahvon Campbell (33 mins for Alex Lacey) 20. Joe Lea 22. Ollie Bassett
Luton Town Bookings: Jack Marriott (foul, 77 mins), Dan Potts (foul, 90 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Ryan Dickson (foul, 48 mins), Tom Eaves (foul, 66 mins)
Luton Town Match Statistics: Possession: 46%; Shots: 10; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 6; Fouls: 13.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 54%; Shots: 11; Shots On Target: 7; Corners: 9; Fouls: 9.
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley (Essex). Assistants: Mark Derrien (Dorset) and Thomas Harty (West Midlands). Fourth Official: Nigel Smith (Derbyshire).
Attendance: 7,800 (with 303 Yeovil supporters).