Match Details: 12/11/2016
Stevenage Borough 2-2 Yeovil Town
EFL League Two
Yeovil Goals: Ryan Hedges (48), Ben Whitfield (90)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 2. Liam Shephard, 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Matthew Dolan, 5. Bevis Mugabi, 6. Alex Lacey, 9. Tom Eaves, 10. Otis Khan, 16. Matt Butcher, 23. Ryan Hedges, 26. Darren Ward,
Subs: 11. Ryan Dickson, 12. Jonny Maddison, 13. Francois Zoko, 15. Josh Ezewele, 18. Omar Sowunmi, 19. Tahvon Campbell, 28. Ben Whitfield
Substitutes Used: Francois Zoko for Otis Khan (76 mins), Ben Whitfield for Liam Shephard (88 mins)
Bookings: Nathan Smith (Foul, 32)
Yeovil Town snatched an ultra-late point against Stevenage at Broadhall Way this afternoon, as AFC Bournemouth loanee Ben Whitfield came off the bench to net with almost the last kick of the game. The late drama unfolded five minutes into second half injury time, as he volleyed home, to stop home winger Ben Kennedy taking the headlines, after he scored twice during the second half to overturn the opening goal from Ryan Hedges. The late goal meant that Yeovil's unbeaten run extended to seven matches, but they needed the full extent of that injury time to do that.
The Glovers went into the match making three changes from the team that started against Reading Under-23s on Wednesday night. Regular goalkeeper Artur Krysiak was recalled, as Jonny Maddison dropped to the bench, whilst captain Darren Ward was brought in for Ben Whitfield, meaning that there was a tactical reshuffle as Liam Shephard moved into the midfield role he occupied for part of last season, with Bevis Mugabi moving into the right-back slot. Up front Tom Eaves came in for Tahvon Campbell.
Early chances were few and far between, with Matt Butcher clearing the Broadhall Way South Stand with his first shot, whilst a clever move that saw Otis Khan fed through in a one-v-one was thwarted when a linesman's flag went up for offside. From the opening hour when the match was largely an end-to-end match though, the home side began to take over the match. Charlie Lee's rising volley ended up rising a bit too much, but they got their first true sight on goal when Fraser Franks forced Artur Krysiak into a flying save that he pushed away - an impressive one given that it seemed as though Krysiak would have seen the chance late on, through a number of players.
Stevenage then had the ball in the back of the net, as a Fraser Franks ball over the top was superbly controlled by Matt Godden, finishing well into the right hand corner of the net. But the linesman's flag went up against the striker, meaning that his celebrations, and much of the home terrace were in vain as it was chalked off. Overall, the match was becoming scrappy, and also encamped in one team's half, and it wasn't Stevenage's. That wasn't to say that Krysiak was particularly busy - most of Stevenage's attacks were being stopped at the edge of the area. But it was concerning that the territory at least was rather one sided - not helped by Stevenage players twice fouling Tom Eaves on the halfway line as he tried to instigate rare counter-attacks.
Eaves was also the instigator of a rare Yeovil attack in first half injury time as a block tackle saw a Stevenage clearance ping back deep into their own half. Matt Dolan picked the ball up and tried to find room to shoot, then the ball fell to Liam Shephard who was more or less on the penalty spot, but goalkeeper Jamie Jones saved well to keep the match goalless at the break.
Three minutes into the second half, Yeovil took a slightly surprising lead, as once again they counter-attacked as they defended a Stevenage attack. Tom Eaves provided a cross field ball from the left flank towards the right, and Ryan Hedges picked up the ball. He had to twist and turn on the corner of the box to find an outlet, as Stevenage defenders tried to stop his run, but then he fired well into the corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The match then showed all the signs of Yeovil heading towards another one of their '1-0 wins', as the game seemed to head into an odd lull, with Stevenage's earlier penetration apparently dissolving, and the clock ticking down without much happening, apart from an instinctive save by Jamie Jones from a Tom Eaves header. However, somehow with 22 minutes remaining, Ben Kennedy managed to produce a moment of brilliance to provide an equaliser for the home side. He picked up the ball on the right flank, and cut inside past Nathan Smith, beyond which there was far too much space for him to run at. He then fired a low shot from the corner of the box that passed Artur Krysiak and then disappeared into the furthest corner of the net possible.
The rain, and a fine mist were starting to make the match a very slippery one, and one in which it was very difficult to make out play when it was taken to the north side of the ground, and the furthest point from the travelling 285 fans. However, they had a full view of what happened in the 86th minute, as Stevenage's Ben Kennedy came up with a near replica of his first goal - running in from the right flank, cutting inside, and this time rather than striking the ball low along the ground, he curled it over and around Artur Krysiak to leave Yeovil 2-1 down with four minutes remaining.
Kennedy tried the same trick a third time as Yeovil failed to deal with his runs, but this time Artur Krysiak was able to catch the ball before he ended up with an unusual hat-trick of goals. At the other end, Ben Whitfield was introduced in the 88th minute, lining up as a replacement for Liam Shephard. That was to prove pivotal as the match went into four minutes of injury time. That looked to be drifting away without too much until referee Gavin Ward decided to extend time a little to allow for a ball that had rolled down the full length of the touchline, having gone out of play for a throw-in. Yeovil got time to take that throw-in, Francois Zoko flicked the ball on, and Whitfield quickly lashed the ball past Jamie Jones for a 95th minute equalising goal, leaving Stevenage with no hope of rescuing the points they had lost. For Yeovil, given the position they were in, it was very much a point gained, lifting them up to 10th place in the table, at the upper end of an ultra-packed mid-table group of clubs that stretch between the play-off slots and the relegation slots.
Link: 2016-17 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Stevenage 2 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Ryan Hedges (0-1, 48 mins), Ben Kennedy (1-1, 68 mins), Ben Kennedy (2-1, 86 mins), Ben Whitfield (2-2, 90 mins)
1. Jamie Jones
25. Ronnie Henry 6. Luke Wilkinson 5. Fraser Franks 33. Kgosi Ntlhe
4. Jack King 22. Charlie Lee 24. Matt Godden
14. Ben Kennedy 13. Harry McKirdy 23. Henry Cowans
7. Jobi McAnuff 8. Steven Schumacher (83 mins for Luke Wilkinson) 9. Rowan Liburd (83 mins for Harry McKirdy) 11. Thomas Pett (71 mins for Henry Cowans) 16. Chris Day 18. Michael Tonge 19. Dean Wells
1. Artur Krysiak
5. Bevis Mugabi 6. Alex Lacey 26. Darren Ward (Capt) 3. Nathan Smith
2. Liam Shephard 16. Matt Butcher 4. Matt Dolan
10. Otis Khan 9. Tom Eaves 23. Ryan Hedges
Substitutes: 12. Jonny Maddison 11. Ryan Dickson 13. Francois Zoko (76 mins for Otis Khan) 15. Josh Ezewele 18. Omar Sowumni 19. Tahvon Campbell 28. Ben Whitfield (88 mins for Liam Shephard)
Stevenage Bookings: Henry Cowans (31 mins, foul), Charlie Lee (43 mins, foul), Jack King (84 mins, foul)
Yeovil Bookings: Nathan Smith (32 mins, foul)
Stevenage Match Statistics: Possession: 52%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 6; Corners: 4; Fouls: 10.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 48%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 5; Fouls: 13.
Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey). Assistants: Neil Radford (Worcestershire) and Graham Kane (East Sussex). Fourth Official: Gavin Muge (Bedfordshire).
Attendance: 2,457 (with 285 Yeovil supporters).