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Johnson Jewel Earns Priceless Three Points

moment of brilliance

By Alex O'Loughlin
February 26 2011

Yeovil Town have earned their first ever win at Prenton Park thanks to a moment of brilliance from striker Oli Johnson in an otherwise bleak game of football owed largely to the appalling condition of the Tranmere pitch. 

Terry Skiverton named an unchanged side despite losing the previous three games, although he did alter the formation to 4-3-3, with Sam Williams being supported by Andy Williams and Oli Johnson either side of him. Paul Wotton slotted into the holding role, and the squad was further boosted by the return to the bench of Dean Bowditch. 

A quick look at the playing surface at Prenton Park immediately informed you that this was not going to be a game of flowing, attractive football, as the pitch was mainly made up of mud with the occasional patch of grass.

The first half was a bit of a non-event, with both sides resorting to very direct forms of play. Perhaps the most interesting thing in the first half was the battle between Tranmere's Lateef Elford-Alliyu and Luke Ayling, with the former having the best of the opening 45 minutes.

And it was Elford-Alliyu who had his sides best chance of the game, as he drove a shot into the side-netting with half of the stadium rising to their feet thinking it had gone in.

It took the Glovers almost until the half hour mark to get a shot away on goal, with Sam Williams having two tame efforts saved whilst namesake Andy Williams headed over the bar.

Every time the Green and Whites looked to start an attack a poor pass would halt their progress, something down to both a poor playing surface and slack passing.

Just before the break Yeovil claimed a penalty after Luke Ayling masterfully weaved through three or four players before running into Ash Taylor and falling claiming a penalty, although the decision to not award a penalty was the correct one.

Half Time: Tranmere Rovers 0-0 Yeovil Town 

The saying 'things can only get better' must have been said several times within Prenton Park, but unfortunately, the quality of football failed to improve. On the plus side, both teams did manage to carve out more chances making the game slightly more interesting to watch, slightly.

It was Elford-Alliyu who looked most likely for Tranmere, as his low drive from the edge of the box was superbly tipped around the post for a corner by Stephen Henderson.

Enoch Showumni arguably should have grabbed the lead when Stephen Henderson made a rash decision to come out of his box, allowing Showumni to lob him, with the strikers effort falling wide of the target despite the open goal to aim at.

Both sides in a bid to win the game made attacking changes, with Yeovil bringing on Dean Bowditch whilst Tranmere brought on ex-Swansea starlet Andy Robinson. 

It was Yeovil who had the next chance when Ed Upson fed a ball to Oli Johnson who lashed his effort wide of the target, but his fortune was about to change within 60 seconds.

Tranmere 'keeper Tony Warner came out to head a ball clear and did so, but only to Oli Johnson who from 30 yards excellently looped the ball into the net, for possibly the Glovers goal of the season. A rare moment of excellence in an otherwise dire game. 0-1.

Substitute Adam McGurk had a few chances for Tranmere in the last quarter of an hour but he was denied twice by Stephen Henderson.

The Green and Whites survived the four minutes of injury time with the help of some very committed defensive blocks to earn what can only be a priceless three points, especially when you consider their next three games come against top 5 sides.

All the teams but Plymouth below them lost making the nPower League One table a pleasant one to look at, with Yeovil boasting a five point barrier from the relegation zone and two games in hand over 21st placed Walsall. 

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