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A Game of Two Halves

denied at the death

By Alex O'Loughlin
January 22 2011

Yeovil Town suffered their first defeat in 2011 losing out 1-0 to Rochdale at Huish Park this afternoon in a game epitomising the cliché 'a game of two halves'. 

Coming into the game Terry Skiverton was again allowed the luxury of naming an unchanged starting eleven for a third week running, retaining the faith in a starting eleven that has won its previous two matches.

The frost covers had been on Huish Park to preserve the pitch although the cold weather did seem to be affecting the Yeovil players who began the first half in a somewhat lethargic fashion.

Rochdale immediately took control of the game, with captain Gary Jones especially dominant in the middle of the park.

Neither side was able to carve out any meaningful chances in the early minutes of the game, that was until just before the ten minute mark when Andy Williams almost broke the deadlock.

The Glovers striker latched onto an Andy Welsh lobbed through ball before trying an audacious lob from roughly ten yards, causing debutant  Dale ‘keepr Owain fon Williams to scramble momentarily before collecting safely.

Rochdale immediately responded with an effort of their own , with Jason Kennedy smashing wide from twenty yards after the ball fell kindly to him.

Dale captain Gary Jones’s hold on the game further increased when the playmaking midfielder brought a good save from Stephen Henderson.  The midfielders bending shot was destined for the bottom corner until the large from of Henderson smothered his effort.

Just minutes later and Jones was at it again, this time some what more fortuitously with his attempted cross needing to be tipped over the bar.

That triggered a flurry of corners, not the best idea when playing against a side who are generally strong from set-pieces.

Inevitably Rochdale did score from their third corner, with the impressive Gary Jones being the man to take the credits.

A floated Brian Barry-Murphy corner ricocheted to Jones who made no mistake from ten yards driving home past a number of players to find the back of the net. 0-1.

That was the first goal Yeovil have conceded in 2011, and it seemed to disturb the Glovers who failed to react to going behind.

In fact they almost went two down when yet another corner allowed Craig Dawson to rise above the Yeovil defence to head goal wards, only being thwarted by a superb diving save from Bristol City loanee Henderson.

Rochdale continued their dominance but in a game where chances were almost entirely created by set pieces it was only right for Yeovil to almost get back in the game from a corner.

Andy Williams pulled the corner back to a late arriving Ed Upson whose lashed shot found team-mate Paul Huntington, who couldn’t quite turn and get a shot away allowing Rochdale to clear.

The closest Yeovil came to scoring came on the half hour mark when Nathan Smith cut inside on his right foot before firing just over the bar on his weaker right foot.

That awakened the Green and Whites though as they created two chances in quick succession, both of which falling to Andy Williams.

The first came after Andy Welsh found Andy Williams with an excellent reverse ball before the striker wastefully shot well wide of the target.

Just minutes later and Williams had another chance, after namesake Sam fed him through the front man took on the shot early something which fon Williams was more then equal to.

That was the last action of a half which saw Yeovil go in one goal down.

Half Time: Yeovil Town 0-1 Rochdale

Yeovil began the second half with the urgency that had eluded them in the first half, causing problems early on with some fine deliveries from Andy Welsh which no one could quite get on the end of.

Corners were a theme of the game and the Glovers earnt a succession of them early on in the second half, with Sam Williams heading over from Andy Welsh’s delivery.

Just past the hour mark and Terry Skiverton made his first change, introducing Oli Johnson for Sam Williams, who exited to a chorus of ironic cheers.

His impact seemed to lift the team and crowd alike as he made a direct run with his first touch of the ball, re-awakening the on looking crowd of 3,711.

It was Johnson who had Yeovil’s next chance, when he found space out wide in the box after a brilliant run from Dean Bowditch.  Unfortunately the loanee’s effort was too tame to trouble fon Williams.

Looking for that extra bit of guile Skiverton introduced the vastly experienced Alex Russell for Ed Upson with twenty minutes remaining.

With a quarter of an hour remaining it was the same combination which set up the next chance, when Johnson played a one-two with Bowditch before picking out Andy Williams on the pull back, only for the striker to find himself with his back to goal, eventually being dispossessed.

The Glovers best chance of the game came in the 90th minute, when Andy Welsh picked out Nathan Smith from the by-line, with the full-backs shot being saved excellently from point blank by fon Williams, leaving the Yeovil fans in disbelief.

Rochdale saw out the remainder of the game to claim an away day victory, sending Yeovil down a place to 22nd, with Bristol Rovers leap frogging them. The Green and Whites do have a game in hand however, although it comes this Tuesday against promotion favourites Sheffield Wednesday.







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