Match Details: 18/02/2017
Cheltenham Town 2-0 Yeovil Town
EFL League Two
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 2. Liam Shephard, 4. Matthew Dolan, 7. Kevin Dawson, 8. Alex Lawless, 9. Tom Eaves, 11. Ryan Dickson, 13. Francois Zoko, 16. Matt Butcher, 26. Darren Ward, 31. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro,
Subs: 5. Alex Lacey, 12. Jonny Maddison, 17. Omar Sowunmi, 19. Brandon Goodship, 28. Ben Whitfield, 32. Tom James, 39. Shayon Harrison
Substitutes Used: Alex Lacey for Ryan Dickson (33 mins), Ben Whitfield for Alex Lawless (64 mins), Omar Sowunmi for Tom Eaves (72 mins)
Bookings: Tom Eaves (Foul, 41), Matt Butcher (Foul, 74), Francois Zoko (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 88)
Yeovil Town fell to a 2-0 defeat against relegation-threatened Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road this afternoon. On a pitch that broke up straight from the kick-off, a poor quality first half saw the Robins assume control after the break. On loan Tin Plavotic headed home the opening goal from a free kick three minutes into the second half, and the match was finished off by a Billy Waters penalty after Matt Butcher had fouled inside the box, with the Glovers falling apart badly from the moment the opening goal was scored. They slip to 17th place, with one win in thirteen league matches a growing concern.
The Glovers went into the match making two changes to their Tuesday night line-up. Captain Darren Ward returned to the side, with Bevis Mugabi dropping off the teamsheet due to a knee injury. Up front, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro came in for Ben Whitfield. Cheltenham's first team squad containes Aaron Downes, James Dayton and Liam Davis, who all have Glovers connections, but all three were absent through injury.
The pitch at Whaddon Road is groundshared with Gloucester City, and at the end of this season, the Robins will be ceasing their agreement with the Tigers. It was not hard to see why. With both goalmouths full of sand and the pitch cutting up rapidly from the start, the first half was a poor quality one. Cheltenham had a marginal edge on the first 30 minutes, as they used aerial balls to deliver crosses into the box, although Kyle Wootton and Carl Winchester's efforts went over the bar.
The only Yeovil player to really show any good attacking intent was Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, although his first two attempts weren't going to worry the home side - one struck the upper roof of the away stand, whilst the other was a tame effort that was easily saved by home keeper Scott Brown.
Yeovil's progress in the half wasn't helped by yet another injury to Ryan Dickson. He was the victim of a first half head injury, followed by a foul five minutes later. It seemed the leg problem was the one that defeated him, prompting a defensive reshuffle, as Alex Lacey replaced him, forcing Matt Butcher to play as a left back. As the end to a rather turgid second half closed, Yeovil created their best two efforts on goal - one saw a Tom Eaves low cross clawed away by Scott Brown, leaving the ball in the middle of goal and on the six yard line, but with no Yeovil player within 10 yards of the loose ball. Then in injury time, Akpa Akpro fashioned the best chance from either team, as he managed to dig out a shot in a crowded goalmouth, which pinged off the outside of the goalpost, but out for a goal kick.
Cheltenham made a half time substitution with Carl Winchester coming off, and three minutes later they took the lead with a well-executed free kick. Francois Zoko had fouled Kyle Wootton wide on the left, and when Tommy Rowe curled in the set piece, Tin Plavotic was well placed to head the ball into the far post, for a 1-0 lead.
On a pitch where passing play was going to be difficult, getting a goal back would be a hard job, but it seemed to be the cue for Yeovil Town to fade badly, and for the Robins to assume control of the match. Cheltenham should have been 2-0 up when a ball put over the top by Jack Barthram saw the Glovers back line attempt to play the offside trap, effectively giving Billy Waters a free hit on goal. Thankfully, he hooked his shot over the bar.
No such mercy just beyond the hour mark. With the game getting a bit fractious, with a few wild tackles swinging in, Matt Butcher swung a boot for the ball inside his own box. Unfortunately for him, he missed the ball and connected with Kyle Wootton's stomach. The end result was a penalty kick, which Billy Waters dispatched for a 2-0 lead.
Yeovil's second half performance was unstructured and increasingly poor. Ben Whitfield replaced Alex Lawless immediately after the second goal, but his side had lost control of the midfield since the break. An increasingly irate away support loudly booed the decision to take Tom Eaves off, with Omar Sowunmi replacing him, leading to some fairly ugly scenes as fighting broke out amongst fans Yeovil for a brief period, leading to two being shown the exit.
Matt Butcher was forced to bring down Billy Waters as he raced through on goal - thankfully there were covering defenders, but there was no doubt that he was 'taking one for the team' as Cheltenham threatened a third. Any hope of Yeovil getting a foothold in the match wasn't helped by Darren Ward getting a head injury that took him off the pitch for five minutes, whilst he got a head bandage to patch himself up. It was ragged, and there was never a point in the match where it looked like Yeovil would get back into the match. They got what they deserved - nothing - seeing them slip one place down to 17th. However, the statistic of one win in thirteen matches is the one that concerns the most, and the gradual slide on some of the team performances is one that needs to be arrested as soon as possible.
Link: 2016-17 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Cheltenham Town 2 Yeovil Town 0.
Scorers: Tin Plavotic (48 mins, 1-0), Billy Waters (63 mins, 2-0, pen)
1. Scott Brown
23. Emmanuel Onariase 15. William Boyle 32. Tin Plavotic
2. Jack Barthram 27. Carl Winchester 7. Harry Pell 18. James Rowe 24. Daniel O'Shaughnessy
19. Kyle Wootton 8. Billy Waters
4. Kyle Storer (46 mins for Carl Winchester) 11. Jack Munns 12. Calum Kitscha 14. Asa Hall 21. James Dayton 30. Dan Holman 36. Diego De Girolamo
1. Artur Krysiak
2. Liam Shephard 26. Darren Ward 16. Matt Butcher 11. Ryan Dickson (Capt)
7. Kevin Dawson 8. Alex Lawless 4. Matt Dolan
31. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro 9. Tom Eaves 13. Francois Zoko
Substitutes: 12. Johnny Maddison 5. Alex Lacey (33 mins for Ryan Dickson) 17. Omar Sowunmi (72 mins for Tom Eaves) 19. Brandon Goodship 28. Ben Whitfield (64 mins for Alex Lawless) 32. Tom James 39. Shayon Harrison
Cheltenham Town Bookings: Harry Pell (56 mins, foul), Billy Waters (58 mins, foul), Scott Brown (89 mins, timewasting)
Yeovil Bookings: Tom Eaves (41 mins, foul), Matt Butcher (74 mins, foul), Francois Zoko (88 mins)
Cheltenham Town Match Statistics: Possession: 50%; Shots: 10; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 4; Fouls: 16.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 50%; Shots: 6; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 3; Fouls: 14.
Referee: Darren England (South Yorkshire). Assistants: Ian Smedley (Derbyshire) and John Law (Worcestershire). Fourth Official: Andrew Newbold (Leicestershire).
Attendance: 3,347 (with 545 Yeovil Town supporters).