4th February 2024

The Glovers fell to their fourth league defeat of the season following a 2-1 loss against Maidstone United on the road. Despite Dylan Morgan’s second-half goal, Mo Faal and Matt Rush’s first-half efforts were enough to ensure the Glovers left Kent empty-handed.

With injuries to Michael Smith and Charlie Cooper, Mark Cooper had a bit of work to do as far as rotating for the tricky away fixture. Josh Owers returned to the starting line-up for the first time since November while Jay Foulston also made a start.

The Glovers got off to the worst start possible when, in the 11th minute, Mo Faal put Maidstone ahead. A free kick on the left was put into the box and a great save from Joe Day wasn’t enough to stop Faal, who was the first to react and poke the ball into the empty net.

Yeovil needed a reaction; they almost levelled the score on 17 minutes. Frank Nouble latched onto the ball and burst between the defence before forcing Lucas Covolan into a strong save from a narrow angle.

Despite the Glovers showing attacking intent, it was immediately pushed back by Maidstone as they added a second. The corner, which was won by Nouble’s effort, was cleared by Maidstone, which found Lamar Reynolds whose perfect cross met the head of Matt Rush, who headed past Joe Day.

Moments later, Sam Corne had an opportunity to score a third. Another ball from the left was cleared away but fell to the feet of Corne who rifled his effort wide of the post into the terrace where the Yeovil supporters were located.

On 32 minutes, Jay Foulston gave the Glovers their best chance to reduce the deficit before the break. Jordan Young drove forward with the ball and cut it inside to Foulston who curled his effort against the post. Just before the break, Young had a chance of his own when he cut onto his left foot before shooting but his effort was over the crossbar.

Half-time came at the right time for Maidstone after the Glovers had shaken off their earlier errors and began to cause the host’s backline a number of problems.

The second half saw the Glovers continue the pressure on the Maidstone defence. Sam Pearson made his way down the left wing on 53 minutes, but his shot was over the crossbar of Lucas Covolan’s goal. Shortly after, Mark Cooper looked to his bench as Dylan Morgan replaced Josh Owers moments before Olly Thomas was also introduced to replace Sam Pearson.

The change to the attack did not impact the Glovers’ attacking impetus and, in fact, did the opposite. On 75 minutes, Frank Nouble pressed forward and was able to pull the ball back to Dylan Morgan who rolled his effort past Lucas Covolan and into the net to cut the lead in half.

The already rowdy crowd picked up even more as the game entered the final 10 minutes and the Glovers closed in on an equaliser. Despite the momentum being in the Glovers’ favour for the majority of the half, Joe Day had to be on his toes to deny Maidstone substitute Jephte Tanga with a save at full stretch.

One final change for the Glovers saw Jordan Young replaced by Alex Fisher, who returned following his loan spell with Oxford City. It was Fisher who had a big chance as the game entered stoppage time. He managed to skip over a challenge before shooting, but his effort from a narrow angle was deflected over the crossbar. The following corner, which saw Joe Day enter the opposing area, was put towards the front post where Frank Nouble flicked it towards goal but just the wrong side of the post.

The final effort came from a free kick in the final minute of the 5 additional minutes. A free kick was headed down to the feet of Jake Wannell who struck a shot through a crowd of bodies but was unable to avoid hitting Alex Fisher who could not get out of the way of the venomous effort.

Moments later, the whistle sounded, which marked the Glovers’ first defeat in the league since November.
Despite defeat, the Glovers remained at the top of the league with a 10-point lead and another trip to Kent ahead of them next weekend.