Match Details: 17/03/2018
Colchester United 0-1 Yeovil Town
EFL League Two
Yeovil Goals: Alex Fisher (21)
Yeovil Line-Up: 4. Jared Bird, 6. Lewis Wing, 9. Rhys Browne, 11. Ryan Dickson, 13. Francois Zoko, 15. Jordan Green, 17. Omar Sowunmi, 18. Alex Fisher, 23. Tom James, 25. Stuart Nelson, 27. Shaun Donnellan,
Subs: 5. Bevis Mugabi, 7. Otis Khan, 12. Jonny Maddison, 14. Sam Surridge, 19. Marcus Barnes, 21. Ryan Seager, 30. Alefe Santos
Substitutes Used: Bevis Mugabi for Ryan Dickson (40 mins), Sam Surridge for Alex Fisher (65 mins), Marcus Barnes for Francois Zoko (82 mins)
Yeovil Town gained their third away win of the 2017-18 season on Saturday afternoon, when a goal from former Motherwell striker Alex Fisher proved enough to gain a 1-0 win over Colchester United at the Community Stadium. Fisher struck when a throw-in was flicked on midway through the first half, but the Glovers also had goalkeeper Stuart Nelson to thank. He saved an early Sammie Szmodics penalty, then kept the home side at bay during the second period with a string of second half saves, to push Yeovil 11 points clear of the relegation zone.
The Glovers went into the match making one change to their starting line-up, with Otis Khan dropping to the bench as Rhys Browne replaced him. Otherwise the eighteen players selected remained the same, as Corey Whelan remained the sixth loanee sat in the stand. In the opposition line-up, former loanee Sam Walker was between the sticks for the visitors.
Colchester started the more brightly, with a dangerous whipped cross from Drey Wright almost finding Kane Vincent-Young, with the wide man so close to the goal that he ended up colliding with the post as he tried to meet the ball. Vincent-Young's next contribution though was more emphatic. Just nine minutes into the match, his run on the edge of the box drew a foul from Ryan Dickson, and referee Tom Nield decided that had been committed inside the box. Up stepped Sammie Szmodics to take the spot kick, but Stuart Nelson got low down to his left to keep the shot out and keep the scores level, for a definite let-off.
The home side's early dominance continued as Szmodics came close to making amends for his penalty miss, turning well from a Drey Wright pass but shooting just wide. It took Yeovil 20 minutes to have a shot of any kind, but even then Rhys Browne's effort was well over the crossbar. Two minutes later though, and their next bit of play was rather more potent. A throw-in was flicked on by Omar Sowunmi, into the path of Francois Zoko. It looked as though the striker would have a chance on goal himself, but he laid it off to Alex Fisher who neatly passed the ball into the corner of the net for a 1-0 lead, from Yeovil's first shot on goal of the game.
Colchester continued the overall pattern of the game, as a Drey Wright cross saw Kurtis Guthrie head straight at keeper Nelson. Meanwhile the Glovers had problems at the back when Ryan Dickson went down with a groin problem, meaning that five minutes from the break they had to reshuffle as Bevis Mugabi came on, and Tom James headed across flanks to take up Dickson's left-sided position. As such although they had the lead, it hadn't been an easy half for Yeovil - their only other attacking moment came from the final kick of the half as a long range Tom James shot was palmed away by former Glover Sam Walker for a corner.
The second period was a far more even affair, albeit with Yeovil largely lining up men behind the ball, trying to stop Colchester from being able to break them down. That began to frustrate the home crowd, particularly when Kurtis Guthrie tried entirely the wrong move to shoot wide of the goal when more patient passing was needed for them to succeed - in trying wild shots they were playing into Yeovil's hands.
It was only from set pieces that Colchester looked truly dangerous. One from Liam Mandeville saw a free kick brilliantly palmed over the bar for a corner, whilst he also got down low to stop a Frankie Kent header from a corner. Substitute Olamide Shodipo was then also denied by Nelson from a free kick. It was only in the final five minutes that it looked like this rearguard action might crumble - a long range effort from Kent led to another corner, and from that set piece, a number of defensive blocks in a crowded penalty box was finally ended by Luke Prosser heading over the crossbar.
The Glovers had to ride out four minutes of injury time to end a game played in snowy, bitterly cold conditions, but they managed to do so - not with a lot of flair on the day, but with plenty of defensive resilience and some very solid goalkeeping. The eleven point gap that it has now produced between themselves and the bottom two is also a huge bonus - they may still need a point or two to make things look really safe, but with Barnet losing and Chesterfield drawing, whilst Grimsby's decline continues, they should sleep fairly easily as they now go on an unexpected 13 day break before their next fixture on Good Friday.
Link: 2017-18 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Colchester United 0 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Alex Fisher (21 mins, 0-1)
1 Sam Walker
18 Tom Eastman 5 Luke Prosser 6 Frankie Kent
22 Kane Vincent-Young 4 Tom Lapslie 14 Brandon Comley 7 Drey Wright
10 Sammie Szmodics 28 Kurtis Guthrie 21 Liam Mandeville
15 Olamide Shodipo (71 mins for Liam Mandeville) 16 Sean Murray 17 Ben Stevenson 19 Mikael Mandron (65 mins for Kurtis Guthrie) 20 Courtney Senior (46 mins for Brandon Comley) 25 Dillon Barnes 46 Paul Rooney
25. Stuart Nelson
23. Tom James 27. Shaun Donnellan 17. Omar Sowunmi 11. Ryan Dickson
15. Jordan Green 6. Lewis Wing 4. Jared Bird 9. Rhys Browne
18. Alex Fisher 13. Francois Zoko (Capt)
12. Jonny Maddison 5. Bevis Mugabi (40 mins for Ryan Dickson) 7. Otis Khan 14. Sam Surridge (65 mins for Alex Fisher) 19. Marcus Barnes (82 mins for Francois Zoko) 21. Ryan Seager 30. Alefe Santos
Colchester United Bookings: Brandon Comley (foul, 37 mins)
Yeovil Bookings: None
Colchester United Match Statistics: Possession: 55%; Shots: 15; Shots On Target: 7; Corners: 11; Fouls: 9.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 45%; Shots: 6; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 4; Fouls: 11.
Referee: Tom Nield (West Yorkshire). Assistants: Graham Kane (East Sussex) and Marc Wilson (Cambridgeshire). Fourth Official: Michael George (Norfolk).
Attendance: 2,772 (with 109 Yeovil Town supporters).