Escape to Victory.
Yeovil Town squeezed into the third round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout victory over League Two Torquay United at Plainmoor this evening.
Ryan Jarvis and James Hayter had both scored doubles, the latter’s 90th minute equaliser taking the game to spot kicks, in normal time but Marek Stech saved the Gulls third penalty from Thomas Cruise and he was aided by all five Yeovil penalty takers successfully converting. It means the Glovers will now be home to Wycombe Wanderers in the next round in December but they’ll have to play a lot better to progress any further in the competition.
Yeovil made two changes to the side that lost 3-2 to league leaders Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, both forced upon them. Paddy Madden was cup tied having played for his parent club Carlisle United in the last round so was replaced by Reuben Reid in a straight swap. Joe Edwards served his one match ban tonight so Dominic Blizzard came into the eleven at right back; youth teamers Mitch Brundle and Will Agbo making the bench for the first time this season. Town striker Hayter had another reason to celebrate; tonight being his 600th career game.
The first half was a curious one for the 213 travelling Glovers as they saw their side start and finish the half well but were anonymous in the middle section. Sam Foley robbed Gulls defender Dan Leadbitter and ran on but his bouncing shot was well saved by Michael Poke before Ed Upson shot over a minute later in a bright start by the Glovers.
However the majority of the possession and the chances in that middle third belonged to the home side and it was little surprise that they took the lead on 24 minutes when Ryan Jarvis netted his second goal in three games. It followed a move along the length of the pitch and stunned the visiting Yeovil side. Billy Bodin then shot wide as Torquay looked for a second and Stech again saved well from Danny Stevens. Reid came closest for Yeovil but Poke saved his shot and watched as Marsh-Brown’s follow up was blocked.
With seven minutes to go until half time, Yeovil grabbed an equaliser when a free kick was nodded on by giant defender Dan Burn for James Hayter to swivel and volley home from close range for his fifth goal of the season. It generated some energy in the Yeovil attacks and both Foley and Hayter could have sneaked a second before the break.
Stech then saved from Jarvis again after the forward sprang the offside trap but he could do nothing to prevent Torquay taking the lead again on 56 minutes, Jarvis finding himself in acres of space to finish again for his second of the night. And he almost earned himself a match ball with twenty minutes left but Stech produced the save of the match to deny the close range volley from Jarvis.
Reid flashed a shot over and sub Gavin Williams shot straight at Poke who was off his goal line late on and it looked like Yeovil would slip quietly out of a competition that had offered them an achievable road to a Wembley final. But with the clock ticking over into time added on, Marsh-Brown’s cross was turned in ahead of his man by Hayter for an unlikely leveller at the eleventh hour.
Time was up two minutes later so it was to the lottery of spot kicks. Lee Mansell and Nathan Craig’s penalties were cancelled out by those of Hayter and Upson but the Gulls third penalty, from Cruise, was saved by Stech. Williams then scored leaving Yeovil the small matter of holding on.
Bodin and sub Rene Howe netted for Martin Ling’s side but further successful spot kicks from Jamie McAllister and Marsh-Brown sparked ecstatic scenes among the players and management. The escape to victory had been completed!