An 87th minute winner from substitute Andy Williams gave Yeovil Town all three points against Notts County at a chilly Huish Park this afternoon.
Williams, only on the pitch for four minutes, headed home to extend Yeovil's unbeaten league and cup run to six matches and lifted them out of the relegation zone and into nineteenth place. The match will never live long in the memory but the three points is a huge boost for a side that have been playing well but not always getting the results they deserved.
Manager Terry Skiverton made three changes to the side that held Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup second round tie last Friday night. Rene Gilmartin and Gavin Massey were both cup tied by Watford last week so came back in for Gareth Stewart and Andy Williams. Jonathan Obika replaced Dominic Blizzard for the third change and the returning-from-injury Gavin Williams had to be content with a place on the bench.
The Glovers started fractionally the better with Obika looking lively from the start. His third minute hanging cross was held by County keeper Stuart Nelson and then he forced a defender into a mistake letting in Massey to cross for Conor Clifford whose shot was blocked.
The burly ex-Blackpool forward Ben Burgess was his usual aerial threat and after Krystian Pearce had headed a free kick forcing a save from Gilmartin, he then headed just wide from a deep cross from the right wing.
He was then at the centre of the closest chance of the game thus far when he nodded down a long through ball and midfielder Alan Judge sent a thunderous shot cannoning on to the underside of the crossbar, Karl Hawley's follow-up saved by Gilmartin again.
Paul Huntington then flicked a shot wide from Ed Upson's corner and referee Simon Hooper issued his first caution of the game when Clifford was tackled late by Judge on the halfway line.
County were looking uncomfortable trying to deal with the pace of the front three of Kieran Agard, Obika and Massey and the Glovers came very close to opening the scoring when Paul Wotton curled a free kick towards the top corner only to see Nelson tip his effort over.
The Town captain was then robbed in central midfield which set up a chance for Jeff Hughes but the Magpies top scorer was denied by Gilmartin with a low diving save.
Former Carlisle frontman Hawley then produced an acrobatic volley which flew well wide after County's best passing move of an otherwise forgettable first half.
Sam Sodje then earned a second yellow for the Magpies when he cynically brought down Obika in full flight on forty minutes as the first half ended in a scrappy manner.
The second half started in a similar fashion with Town counter-attacking strongly while County had to be content with half chances such as a Hawley header wide of the far post.
Referee Darren Sheldrake was rapidly becoming centre of attention as he booked Wotton for tripping sub Ishmel Demontagnac in full flow then issued yellows to Agard (dissent), Upson (foul) and Huntington, presumably for protesting after he had been penalised for pushing in the penalty box.
Clifford was replaced by the returning Gavin Williams just before the hour mark with the Welsh wizard receiving a warm reception from the Huish faithful in a crowd of 3,663.
Chances were becoming scarcer as the game went on. Gilmartin saved from a Judge free kick harshly awarded for a great tackle from Ehmer thirty yards out and Gavin Massey shot well wide when his run from the halfway line gave him the opportunity to shoot.
Skiverton made two last throws of the dice on 82 minutes withdrawing Obika and Agard and replacing them with Andy Williams and Steve MacLean. And the move paid off less than four minutes later in spectacular style.
Luke Ayling swung in a free kick, Huntington flicked on to the back post where MacLean then hooked the ball back into the danger zone where Andy Williams nodded in at the back post for the winner.
Williams nearly made it two in stoppage time when his low shot was deflected for a corner after brilliant work from Gavin Williams in the corner but the single goal was enough for a vital three points and Yeovil's fourth league game unbeaten.