Match Details: 26/12/2017
Cheltenham Town 0-2 Yeovil Town
EFL League Two
Yeovil Goals: Omar Sowunmi (69), Jordan Green (85)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 3. Nathan Smith, 4. Matt Worthington, 7. Otis Khan, 10. Jake Gray, 11. Ryan Dickson, 13. Francois Zoko, 14. Sam Surridge, 16. James Bailey, 17. Omar Sowunmi, 23. Tom James,
Subs: 5. Bevis Mugabi, 6. Keston Davies, 8. Connor Smith, 12. Jonny Maddison, 15. Jordan Green, 24. Olufela Olomola, 30. Alefe Santos
Substitutes Used: Connor Smith for James Bailey (3 mins), Jordan Green for Jake Gray (66 mins), Olufela Olomola for Otis Khan (88 mins)
Bookings: Connor Smith (Foul, 61), Nathan Smith (Foul, 64), Tom James (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 84)
Yeovil Town gained their first back-to-back League Two wins for fourteen months this afternoon, as two second half goals defeated Cheltenham Town. After a tight opening period, the Glovers took the lead from an unlikely source as defender Omar Sowunmi crashed a loose ball off the underside of the crossbar for an opening 69th minute goal. The game was sealed five minutes from time when Jordan Green caught Cheltenham on the counter-attack, slotting home for a 0-2 win that represented the club's first pair of consecutive wins since October 2016, keeping them in 19th place but crucially seven points away from the relegation spots.
The Glovers went into the match naming an unchanged starting eleven compared to the one that took to the field against Exeter City. Only the recall of Olufela Olomola to the bench, in favour of Sid Nelson was the difference on the teamsheet. Cheltenham's line-up included the highly familiar names of Scott Flinders and Kevin Dawson, whilst in the home dugout was the even more familiar face of Gary Johnson.
There can't have been too many games where Yeovil Town have lost a player through injury five seconds into the match. Straight from kick-off, Harry Pell and James Bailey went in for a 50:50 tackle, and the Yeovil captain went down on the deck. Judging by the way that they instantly waved for the trainer, who instantly called for the stretcher, this was not a borderline case. After a three minute delay, Bailey was stretchered off, with medial knee ligaments believed to be damaged. Connor Smith got an ultra-early substitute appearance.
Cheltenham held the upper hand early on with Mohamed Eisa particularly mobile up front for the Robins. He fired an angled attempt just over the bar, before Tom James was well placed to clear an Eisa header off the line, as he stood on the left post. Later Eisa got room to turn inside the box before another angled shot cleared the crossbar, and it was very easy to work out who the home side's danger man was.
It took 20 minutes for the Glovers to find their feet, having misplaced a few passes along the way, before finally setting Francois Zoko up as Otis Khan unexpectedly popped up on the right wing. The move was flowing and good, but the shot was not quite so impressive as it cleared both the crossbar and the home terrace roof. Tom James went much closer as his looping free kick rippled the net, although it was actually the top of the goal frame it clipped, with Scott Flinders looking as though he was covering his lines.
Sam Surridge almost took advantage of a quick goal kick out from Artur Krysiak as he caught Cheltenham on the break, cutting inside Jamie Grimes before skidding a shot a yard wide of the post. Although the chances had been evenly spread between the two teams across the 45 minutes, there were some concerns that the longer the half went on, the more the tendency was for hit and hope passes that generally missed their target. On the plus side they went in level.
Yeovil's start to the second half was more impressive as a central pass found Francois Zoko on the corner of the penalty box. His ball into the box found Jake Gray running in on the near post, and he struck a shot off the crossbar from six yards out, with the ricochet taking the ball out to safety.
That said, Cheltenham were also finding openings, as they had the ball in the back of the net. Mohamed Eisa's low cross into the box was turned in by Kevin Dawson to large cheers from the home terrace that were only quelled when a linesman's flag belatedly went up. That was to be Cheltenham's problem in the second period as they repeatedly fell foul of Yeovil's offside trap, as their players ran a yard too early.
Midway through the second half, Yeovil took the lead from an unexpected source. A long Tom James throw saw a Cheltenham player go through the body of Jordan Green in clearing the ball, leading to loud calls for a penalty. One player who didn't wait for the rather erratic refereeing of Chris Sarginson to say yes or not, was Omar Sowunmi, whose single touch strike into the top left hand corner left keeper Scott Flinders entirely static as it flew into the net.
Cheltenham had their own penalty appeals turned down five minutes later, as Kevin Dawson went down in the box, although judging by referee Chris Sarginson's body language, it looked as though he had been blind-sighted by the incident. Yeovil have on many occasions been guilty of sitting back on a lead, but on this occasion they still seemed to be looking for a second, and could have got it if Otis Khan hadn't tried to do one breakaway all by himself - his move down the left-wing was strong, but his shot into the side netting should have been driven across the box, where he had team-mates arriving to pounce.
They did get their second crucial goal five minutes from time. Like the Exeter City game, it came from an opposition defender giving it to them on a plate. A slightly hopeful forward ball was meant for Otis Khan but went beyond him, reaching Cheltenham defender Jamie Grimes. The centre-back's touch was catastrophic, putting it straight into the path of Jordan Green. The substitute ran past him, leaving the defender on his backside, just to add insult to injury, and then fired past Scott Flinders for a 2-0 lead.
That was game over. Cheltenham lost their way badly in the final ten minutes of the match - Carl Winchester's loud berating of a linesman who awarded a foul against him was daft, not only because it guaranteed himself a booking, but also because it was a cast iron foul, with his histrionics merely serving to wind the clock down further. Having been in the game for 75 minutes, the Robins ended the game in that sort of way, which allowed Yeovil a very easy route to seeing the game out for their first pair of wins in fourteen months. They stay in 19th, but at least have something they might be able to build on to ensure that they keep themselves firmly away from the bottom two clubs.
Link: 2017-18 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Cheltenham Town 0 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Omar Sowunmi (0-1, 69 mins), Jordan Green (0-2, 85 mins)
24 Scott Flinders
28 Taylor Moore 2 Jamie Grimes 15 William Boyle 11 Carl Winchester
8 Kevin Dawson 25 Joe Morrell 6 Nigel Atangana 17 Jerell Sellars
20 Mohamed Eisa 7 Harry Pell
4 Kyle Storer 9 Daniel Wright (77 mins for Jerell Sellars) 10 Dan Holman 18 Matt Bower 21 Brian Graham (71 mins for Nigel Atangana) 22 Rhys Lovett 27 Freddy Hinds (71 mins for Mohamed Eisa)
1. Artur Krysiak
23. Tom James 17. Omar Sowunmi 3. Nathan Smith 11. Ryan Dickson
10. Jake Gray 4. Matt Worthington 16. James Bailey (Capt) 7. Otis Khan
14. Sam Surridge 13. Francois Zoko
12. Jonny Maddison (GK) 5. Bevis Mugabi 6. Keston Davies 8. Connor Smith (3 mins for James Bailey) 15. Jordan Green (66 mins for Jake Gray) 24. Olufela Olomola (88 mins for Otis Khan) 30. Alefe Santos
Cheltenham Town Bookings: William Boyle (foul, 87 mins), Carl Winchester (dissent, 90 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: Connor Smith (foul, 61 mins), Nathan Smith (foul, 64 mins), Tom James (timewasting, 84 mins)
Cheltenham Town Match Statistics: Possession: 59%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 1; Corners: 4; Fouls: 13.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 41%; Shots: 13; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 1; Fouls: 15.
Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire). Assistants: Craig Taylor (West Midlands) and Ian Rathbone (Northamptonshire). Fourth Official: Thomas Harty (West Midlands).
Attendance: 3,484 (with 345 Yeovil Town supporters).