Match Details: 18/03/2017
Yeovil Town 1-1 Accrington Stanley
EFL League Two
Yeovil Goals: Francois Zoko (74)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 2. Liam Shephard, 4. Matthew Dolan, 5. Alex Lacey, 6. Bevis Mugabi, 7. Kevin Dawson, 9. Tom Eaves, 11. Ryan Dickson, 13. Francois Zoko, 16. Matt Butcher, 28. Ben Whitfield,
Subs: 12. Jonny Maddison, 17. Omar Sowunmi, 19. Brandon Goodship, 22. Ollie Bassett, 31. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, 32. Tom James, 39. Shayon Harrison
Substitutes Used: Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro for Tom Eaves (58 mins), Shayon Harrison for Matthew Dolan (76 mins)
Yeovil Town were left frustrated as they picked up their 15th draw of the 2016-17 season in a 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley this afternoon. Playing against ten men for 68 minutes of the match, after Scott Brown was dismissed for a crude challenge on Francois Zoko, the Glovers struggled to break the opposition down, and were in danger of suffering defeat when Omar Beckles glanced home a recycled set piece early in the second half. But a Matt Dolan corner sparked the equaliser, with Francois Zoko credited with the final touch for what will stand as his 11th goal of the season. Unfortunately they couldn't find a way past the visitors' back line for what was their 11th draw in their last 17 league fixtures.
The Glovers went into the match having a rare opportunity to select the same eleven players that they'd used on Wednesday night against Barnet. The only change was on the bench with Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro coming back onto the teamsheet in place of Owain Jones. An injury to Arron Davies in the Accrington squad meant that he couldn't face his former club.
The first half was a very open one, but one in which the Glovers had the majority of the play. Alex Lacey shot just wide of the target after the ball dropped to him on the edge of the box, following a free kick that was half-cleared. Meanwhile in a swirling wind that was with Yeovil in the first half, Liam Shephard fired just over the bar. Accrington threatened through a good forward run from full-back Matty Pearson, but he also fired wide, whilst Accrington's Jordan Clark also missed the target. That was largely the problem for both teams in that neither goalkeeper was being firmly tested, even if it was clear that Yeovil had the upper hand.
Midway through the half came one of the game's key moments. Francois Zoko had collected the ball and turned before he was caught by a horrible looking over the top tackle by Accrington midfielder Scott Brown. Referee Nigel Miller pulled out a red card almost immediately, spending the next minute or two trying to diffuse the situation between the groups of players, whilst Zoko received lengthy treatment. Thankfully the striker was okay to continue, with both Brown and Accrington apologising after the match for the tackle - the level of contrition once the pushing and shoving had calmed down probably ensured that nothing after that incident turned into anything sinister.
Stanley initially tried to continue using an unexpected 3-4-2 formation, but eventually made a double substitution to provide a 5-3-1 line-up that was clearly intended to frustrate the Glovers. It took a while, but gradually Yeovil ramped back up the tempo of the game in the lead-up to the break. First Kevin Dawson had his shot saved by the legs of Marek Rodak, after Ben Whitfield had threaded him the ball. Then Whitfield broke clean through via a ball over the top of the back line, as he received the chance of the half, only to find Rodak blocking his one-v-one. Liam Shephard also found his attempt saved by the keeper, as late pressure failed to break through by the time the half time whistle blew.
Whilst you have all that pressure in a football match, there is always the danger that the opposition will dish out a sucker punch. When a team is down to ten men, it's most likely to be scored from a set piece. And so it proved, with Shay McCartan's corner being recycled back to him. When he put the ball in a second time, Omar Beckles produced a glancing header to put Accrington a goal up, just six minutes into the second half.
Whilst Francois Zoko went close when he lifted the ball over the advancing Marek Rodak, only to find the ball landing on the roof of the net, Yeovil really weren't themselves in the second half. Whether the half time team talk had galvanised Accrington, or whether the goal had, they looked very comfortable for a side with a man disadvantage. A formation change from the starting 4-4-2 to a 3-4-3 for Yeovil seemed a bit muddled in the middle, as Matt Butcher moved into the heart of the defence, and Ben Whitfield moved up front, but with the effect that it neutralised Kevin Dawson's first half energetic running.
Moreover, the number of chances were drying up significantly, and when they did fall to Yeovil players, it was Bevis Mugabi, angling a shot from eight yards out wide of the target, rather than one of the three strikers. It was therefore almost a relief and a surprise when 16 minutes from time, Yeovil drew level from a corner. Matt Dolan put in the set piece, and although it wasn't particularly clear who had got the last touch, Francois Zoko was credited with it over the tannoy, and eventually by the Opta official data recorders. For the second time in two games, that will need the video to work out what actually happened.
In theory that should have been the lift Yeovil needed to go on and win it, but despite applying most of the pressure in the latter stages, their overall play was too frantic and too rushed at times to create that opening. They had a penalty appeal turned down when Francois Zoko was felled inside the box, then saw substitute Shayon Harrison fire just wide in the dying minutes, after Kevin Dawson had put him through. Then fellow substitute Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro had a final injury time effort deflected over the bar and Yeovil once again had to settle for a point, instead of the three they probably should have been aiming at. Still 17th, still firmly in a lower-mid-table position, and still no doubts that they'll be playing League Two football next season. But once again frustration for what might have been.
Link: 2016-17 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Accrington Stanley 1.
Scorers: Omar Beckles (0-1, 51 mins), Francois Zoko (1-1, 74 mins)
1. Artur Krysiak
2. Liam Shephard 6. Bevis Mugabi 5. Alex Lacey 11. Ryan Dickson (Capt)
7. Kevin Dawson 16. Matt Butcher 4. Matt Dolan 28. Ben Whitfield
9. Tom Eaves 13. Francois Zoko
Substitutes: 12. Johnny Maddison 17. Omar Sowunmi 19. Brandon Goodship 22. Ollie Bassett 31. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (58 mins for Tom Eaves) 32. Tom James 39. Shayon Harrison (76 mins for Matt Dolan)
12 Marek Rodak
32 Harvey Rodgers 5 Omar Beckles 3 Mark Hughes 2 Matty Pearson
7 Jordan Clark 28 Seamus Conneely 8 Scott Brown 11 Sean McConville
10 Shay McCartan 29 Billy Kee
9 Terry Gornell 14 Romuald Boco (72 mins for Shay McCartan) 16 Noor Husin (30 mins for Sean McConville) 19 Brayden Shaw 20 Aaron Chapman 24 Jonathan Edwards 30 Janoi Donacien (31 mins for Jordan Clark)
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Accrington Stanley Bookings: Sean McConville (foul, 21 mins), Harvey Rodgers (foul, 65 mins). Red Card: Scott Brown (serious foul play, 22 mins)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 56%; Shots: 17; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 9; Fouls: 8.
Accrington Stanley Match Statistics: Possession: 44%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 1; Corners: 5; Fouls: 10.
Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham). Assistants: Andrew Quin (Devon) and Justin Amey (Dorset). Fourth Official: Adam Bromley (Devon).
Attendance: 2,991 (with 69 Accrington Stanley supporters).