11th August 2018

All four goals of an end-to-end affair were scored in the first-half as the Glovers led twice through Diallang Jaiyesimi and Yoann Arquin who opened their accounts in green and white on home debut.

However, jubilation twice turned to disappointment as they were cancelled out through goals from Craig Davies and Matt Preston to mean the points were shared. 

After last week’s narrow defeat to Bury, the hosts were left without the suspended Tom James and Jordan Green as well as injured quartet Rhys Browne (hamstring), Stuart Nelson (calf), James Bailey (knee) and Jake Gray (ankle).

Captain Omar Sowunmi returned to the starting 11 after serving his two-match suspension carried over from last campaign to fill the void left by James, whilst Wes McDonald made his debut in green and white since joining the Glovers from Birmingham.

In a drizzly afternoon in Somerset, Jaiyesimi got Town off to a dream start just six minutes in, after being played in by Carl Dickinson he slotted past Conrad Logan from inside the area to score his first goal for the club.

With many still celebrating the early opener, the Stags equalised just minutes later. Alefe Santos failed to clear and the ricochet fell kindly to former loanee Davies in the area who controlled well and fired the ball into the bottom left corner.

The Glovers, not disheartened by conceding, pressed to get back ahead. Sessi D’Almeida fed Bevis Mugabi on the right whose ball to the back post found Jaiyesimi but the striker couldn’t direct his header on target.

Continuing a pulsating affair, Town took the lead for the second time in the 17th minute. A long throw from Dickinson fell to Sowumni in the penalty area whose shot was saved by Logan, only to fall into the path of Arquin who reacted quickest to slot in the rebound from a few yards out against his former employers.

Baxter denied Mansfield a second equaliser four minutes later as Davies cut in from the left and shot from 20 yards before Jaiyesimi went close again, this time latching on to a lobbed ball from Mugabi only to then sky his shot on goal.

Rounding off a frantic opening half-an-hour, Mansfield leveled once again in the 26th minute through Preston who headed in the returning Otis Khan’s cross from the left after a short free-kick inside the Glovers half.

The Nottinghamshire outfit almost took the lead when a quick free-kick was fed into Tyler Walker whilst the Yeovil defence protested, with the Forest loanee pulling the ball back to Krystian Pearce who fired over.

After a dramatic opening 45 minutes, Darren Way made one switch at the break as the experienced Gary Warren replaced Shaun Donnellan, who the Town boss confirmed had been struggling with a thigh strain. 

Alex Pattison made his first appearance since joining on loan from Middlesbrough for the Glovers by replacing Santos, who had just been booked, with 35 minutes remaining.

Half way into the second half the game opened up and Jaiyesimi went close again after turning and shooting wide from Arquin’s delivery from the right. 

A minute later it was Arquin who almost put Town back ahead, determined work from Dickinson up the left led to a ball swung into the box that reached Arquin at the back post, his first effort was saved by Logan and second fired over the bar on the rebound.

Less frantic than the first-half but still end-to-end, It was David Flitcroft’s side who went close next.

Khan beat his man down the right and fired a fierce ball across the box which was struck by the well-placed Davies, only for Baxter to produce a stunning reaction save.

In a flurry of pressure, good work again down the right from the visitors led to Walker crossing in for the dangerous Davies whose header was headed onto the bar by Sowunmi to deny the Stags the lead.

The Glovers pressed for a winner and Sowunmi went close at the other end when his header from Dickinson’s free-kick wound up in the arms of Logan, before the hosts were dealt a blow when Francois Zoko trudged from the pitch unable to continue after picking up a knock with all three substitutions used. 

With a man disadvantage, the green and whites dug in for the closing stages to earn a well-deserved point and kick-off proceedings for the season at Huish Park in entertaining fashion.

Yeovil Town: Baxter; Mugabi, Sowunmi, Donnellan (Warren 46′), Dickinson; Arquin, Santos (Pattison 56′), D’Almeida, McDonald; Jaiyesimi (Henry 75′), Zoko.
Bookings: Santos 55′
Subs not used: Phillips, Cole, Rogers, Fisher.

Mansfield Town: Logan; White, Preston, Pearce; Hamilton, MacDonald (Mellis 87′), Bishop, Khan, Benning; Davies (Butcher 83′), Walker.
Bookings: Benning 45′, Bishop 77′, White 87′
Subs not used: Olejnik, Sweeney, Gibbens, Graham, Atkinson.