Yeovil Town produced a stirring comeback from two goals down to Walsall to snatch a 2-2 draw at the Banks’s Stadium this afternoon.
Jamie Paterson and Will Grigg had put the Saddlers two goals up; heady territory for a side that hadn’t won for fifteen games. And so it proved as Glovers sub Reuben Reid pulled a goal back on 77 minutes before Sam Foley grabbed a late, late leveller as time was running out to earn Town only their third draw in 22 league matches this season.
It was an amazing turnaround for the Somerset side who had appeared to have blown their chance of taking anything from a game against a side in a dire run of form. But credit to the side who pulled a point out of the bag when it looked unlikely and produced the spirit and determination to take something from the fixture.
Boss Gary Johnson, in charge for his 50th match since returning to the club last January, opted to keep the same squad of seventeen that played out a goalless draw against Notts County last weekend. Keanu Marsh-Brown, who missed the Magpies draw through suspension, picked up an ankle knock so missed out again as the same eleven started this afternoon.
Marek Stech was called into action early doors when he saved from Will Grigg who had burst clear from Yeovil’s defence but he was helpless on thirteen minutes when the Saddlers took the lead. Febian Brandy broke down the right flank and pulled the ball back for Jamie Paterson to sweep home his fifth goal of the season.
Walsall seemed content to play as an away side normally would, allowing Yeovil possession while utilising a 4-5-1 formation before then counter-attacking through the options of Brandy and Craig Westcarr on either flank.
Daniel Burn was then given a yellow card for a late challenge; his fifth of the campaign means he will miss next Saturday’s home game with Oldham.
Despite enjoying plenty of the ball, it was from a set piece that the Glovers thought they had levelled on 21 minutes, the decision to rule out looking suspect. Jamie McAllister pumped a long free kick forward centrally and Burn jumped with home keeper Aaron McCarey, the ball ending up in the net off the underside of the crossbar. Referee Tony Bates though disallowed the goal for a foul on the keeper.
Sixty seconds later, the Glovers came close again to equalising when Paddy Madden toe poked the ball across goal but Joe Edwards was denied by a last ditch clearance at the back post. There then followed a spell in the game where neither side troubled each other’s keeper before a brief flurry from Walsall as the interval approached.
Paterson almost added his second when he curled a free kick a yard over the bar; Westcarr then saw a shot deflected on its way to goal and James Chambers set up Paterson who shot narrowly wide.
The first fifteen minutes was only notable by a pair of yellow cards for Town’s McAllister and Ed Upson before manager Johnson decided he had seen enough and withdrew Upson and Madden to be replaced by the twin strike force of Reuben Reid and James Hayter on the hour. The change meant that Williams switched to right midfield, allowing Edwards to come inside to a more central berth.
Brandy almost scored a second at the halfway point, getting across his man at the near post from Andy Taylor’s corner and flicking a header just wide of Stech’s goal but the hosts weren’t to be denied and made it 2-0 five minutes later. Brandy outpaced the Town defence and squared the ball for Will Grigg to cut back and finish neatly for his fifth strike of the campaign.
The visitors weren’t two behind for long, just six minutes in fact as Sam Foley crossed the ball perfectly for sub Reid to slide in and net from six yards out for goal number seven of the season against the side he scored six times on loan for in season 2010/11.
Gozie Ugwu came on for Korey Smith with ten minutes of normal time remaining and Town had a shout at a leveller with Burn glancing a header wide from an inswinging free kick by Williams.
And just as it looked like Yeovil would head back down the M5 pointless, up popped that man Sam Foley to score from close range after McAllister’s free kick bounced loose in the area, Foley nipping in to convert his sixth goal of the season and celebrating in front of the 231 Glovers fans in the away area.
Picture by Alex James/JMP