Yeovil Town threw away a two goal lead in the final three minutes to eventually draw 3-3 with Carlisle United at a chilly Brunton Park this afternoon.
Kevin Dawson gave the Glovers a first half lead and although Lee Miller levelled before the break, Paddy Madden and James Hayter seemed to have given the long-travelling fans a great journey home when they made the score 3-1. But suicidal defending near the end allowed Miller in for his second before an unfortunate Luke Ayling own goal evened the score up in the dying seconds.
It is the second time in three games that Town have given away a fantastic position late on and those four points, although not stopping them rising up one place to sixth today, may have a vital bearing on the tight end-of-season table.
Manager Gary Johnson made two changes to the side that lost 2-0 at home to Swindon Town in midweek. Captain Jamie McAllister racked up his tenth booking of the campaign in that match so missed out through suspension, Sam Foley coming back in and Joe Edwards moving back to defence. Further forward, Gavin Williams dropped to the bench and Dominic Blizzard came in for his first start since the JPT defeat at Leyton Orient in January.
Carlisle started by far the brighter of the two sides and after Yeovil keeper Marek Stech had punched a cross out to Matty Robson, the Czech had to get up smartly to save well from the follow up. Controversy then followed on seven minutes; Dan Burn sent a back pass woefully short and Lee Miller seized on the mistake, taking the ball around Stech but colliding with the keeper. Ref Geoff Eltringham decided in the Glovers’ favour and said no penalty.
It was the home keeper that was next in action as Adam Collin, in for the suspended Mark Gillespie, had to first save from former Carlisle striker Paddy Madden then touch on a cross just enough to put off the onrushing Foley who couldn’t control his effort.
Against the run of play, the Glovers took the lead on 24 minutes with the Irish pair of Madden and Kevin Dawson combining well. Madden set his friend away and Dawson showed the sort of composure his colleague has shown so often by rifling a shot into the roof of the net. Not many present would deny it was against the run of play.
Carlisle were stung by the seeming injustice of the goal and forced a succession of corners and free kicks in dangerous places leaving the visitors rocking at times. James Berrett and Robson both had shots charged down by some desperate defending so it was not a shock when the Cumbrians equalised eight minutes from the break. Following another set piece, Mark Beck crossed and Lee Miller touched home his fourth goal of the season.
At the interval, manager Johnson brought on Ben Gordon at left back in order to move Edwards forward into central midfield, replacing Blizzard in the process.
After Frank Simek had earned the game’s first yellow card for a cynical challenge on Foley, Yeovil took the lead on 51 minutes. Dawson created the goal, racing down the right and setting up Ed Upson whose shot was parried by keeper Collin into the path of Madden. The Irish striker made no mistake, finishing well for his 21st goal of the season, twenty of which have been in Yeovil colours.
Again, Carlisle improved after the goal with Stech saving brilliantly from Robson’s free kick, holding on to Sean O’Hanlon’s header and watching Miller shoot wide when it would have been better to have squared to the free Beck. But the Carlisle keeper was also called into action, diving full length to deny Madden another goal from long range.
Carlisle boss Greg Abbott introduced new French signing Mathieu Manset into proceedings and the former Reading star looked dangerous and lively in the Cumbrians attacks, blasting one effort over the bar and making Stech save well from another effort.
Just as Yeovil were rocking a little, they grabbed a third goal with twelve minutes remaining. Again Madden was the creator and this time, it was his strike partner Hayter who was the beneficiary, running on to the perfectly timed ball to coolly finish for his 13th goal of the season.
Any hope of a quiet, comfortable end to the game were dismissed with ten seconds of the ninety minutes left when Miller was allowed time and space to score his second goal of the game. And worse was to follow when in the final minute of three minutes added on, Manset broke clear of the Yeovil defence and after Stech had dealt with his shot, the ball went in off Luke Ayling to make the score 3-3