An 89th minute own goal from Crawley Town defender David Hunt gave Yeovil Town a welcome, yet fortunate, away victory at the playoff chasing Sussex side tonight.
Hunt’s goal, from a Jamie McAllister corner, was all that separated the two sides after a match where the home side had three chances cleared off the line and hit the woodwork on two other occasions. Boss Gary Johnson won’t mind though as the win was Yeovil’s first against a top six side all season, leaving the Glovers four points from a top six position.
The manager made only one change to the side that were thumped 4-1 at Swindon on Saturday. Aston Villa loanee Daniel Johnson returned to his parent club ahead of his loan spell ending at the weekend, leaving winger Keanu Marsh-Brown to replace him with Joe Edwards moving across to a central midfield berth. Reuben Reid picked up a knock at Swindon meaning the Glovers could only name five substitutes, among them Reading on-loan striker Gozie Ugwu who was returning from injury.
After a very early scare when former Bees striker Gary Alexander shot over on ten seconds, it was the visitors who looked the brighter with Marsh-Brown and Foley both going close early on. But it was Byron Webster who was most alert on five minutes when he cleared a free kick from Nicky Adams off the line.
Crawley then settled down and created the bulk of the chances in a sterile first half. Top scorer Billy Clarke and Alexander had two chances apiece and Josh Simpson also shot just wide before Marek Stech then saved from Nicky Adams before denying Clarke from the follow up.
Paddy Madden shot tamely at the keeper after cutting inside and former Exeter City keeper Paul Jones then saved from Joe Edwards as Yeovil’s chance count increased slightly. Jones then thwarted Madden with a fantastic save with his legs from the Carlisle loanee’s downward header.
The half closed with Byron Webster being caught late by midfielder Mike Jones in a carbon copy of the knock he took at the County Ground on Saturday.
As the second period started, Marsh-Brown threatened the Crawley goal with a set piece that flew over the bar and after Alexander and Adams had narrowly missed, Mark Connolly’s shot was cleared off the line following another home corner kick. Luke Ayling then came up with a brilliant last ditch clearance to deny Simpson’s deflected effort. The same player then saw his header hit the bar before going over as the home fans began to wonder if it was going to be their night.
They would certainly have known in the final ten minutes as Alexander hit the bar and corners came and went with the visiting goal under siege at times. But just as it seemed the game would end in stalemate, Jamie McAllister swung in a corner and Hunt, under pressure from Madden, produced a bullet header that would have looked great had it happened at the other end.
The goal was celebrated wildly by both players and fans alike and the long trip back to Somerset will go much quicker with the three points on board.