Yeovil Town produced a poor defensive display as they went down by three goals to nil against AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court this afternoon.
Goals from top scorer Lewis Grabban, Harry Arter and a Brett Pitman penalty extended manager Eddie Howe’s unbeaten return to fourteen games and lifted his Cherries side to within a point of the playoffs as a result. Town looked shaky at the back for long periods and manager Gary Johnson had to constantly reshuffle his side as he ended the game with Dominic Blizzard at centre half and James Hayter in central midfield.
The Glovers drop to twelfth place in the League One table and have just three days to recover before returning to the South coast on Saturday to take on Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
With Joe Edwards returning to his parent club Bristol City after the end of his loan spell and Sam Foley declared injured, Johnson had Dan Burn to recall after his brief suspension. The Fulham loan star lined up in an unfamiliar left back berth with captain Jamie McAllister pushing into a left midfield role and Blizzard reforming his central midfield partnership with Ed Upson.
Paddy Madden screwed a shot wide on seven minutes but it was a rare highlight in a first half that saw the Glovers miles behind on possession and looking very vulnerable to the pacy attacks of Lewis Grabban who seemed to have the beating of the central defence every time the ball was played through to him.
Chance wise, there wasn’t a lot between the sides in a bright first half. Aside from Madden’s early effort, Luke Ayling had a shot blocked and McAllister tested his old team mate David James in the Cherries goal with a thumping shot from distance that the ex-England keeper spilled almost at the feet of the advancing Hayter. The home side’s Wes Fogden, Eunan O’Kane and Pitman all missed chances to take the lead with efforts that were either blocked, wide or over the bar.
Just after the thirty minute mark, the deadlock was broken when Lewis Grabban grabbed his tenth goal of the season with a neat sidefoot finish from a Marc Pugh cross. It nearly was two just a couple of minutes later when Pitman set Grabban free but the prolific marksman shot wide and he had a third opportunity before half time which saw Yeovil rescued by a Luke Ayling clearance.
Boss Gary Johnson wasted no time making a change in the second period when he replaced Williams with Reuben Reid but the substitution didn’t really prevent any sea change in the game as Town looked shaky at the back to counter attacks launched by the Cherries. The hosts, cheered on in a big crowd of more than 8,000, saw O’Kane, Arter and Pitman go close while Marek Stech saved Yeovil when Hinds’ back pass was woefully short and the giant Czech saved from Grabban.
McAllister once again tested James from distance and Blizzard went even closer with a flicked header that went just over the bar but on 72 minutes, the inevitable looking second goal arrived. Despite having three chances to clear the ball after a scramble in the box, the ball fell to Harry Arter just outside the box and he gleefully smashed home into the top corner for his fourth of the season.
Pitman (twice) and Arter both wasted chances but it was 3-0 with five minutes remaining when Ayling handled the ball in the penalty box and ref Graham Scott awarded a spot kick. Brett Pitman, on loan from Bristol City, sent Stech the wrong way from the kick to notch only his second goal of a stop start campaign.
Johnson withdrew Byron Webster after the goal bringing on Gozie Ugwu to play right wing. The change pushed Reid up front with Hayter retreating to midfield and Blizzard going back further into central defence as Town’s threadbare squad became stretched to its limit.
Bournemouth’s late sub Josh McQuoid missed a late sitter in stoppage time but it mattered not and Howe’s men had their eleventh win in fourteen games since his return to Dean Court.