Yeovil Town made it through to the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with a 3-0 victory over local rivals Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium this evening.
But they had to do it the hard way playing the final fifteen minutes with ten men after Jamie McAllister was shown a straight red card for raising a hand to Rovers striker David Clarkson. Ed Upson had already given the Glovers the lead four minutes earlier with a fabulous free kick before then producing an even better effort with five minutes to go. Sam Foley then netted a fantastic third in stoppage time to instigate an exodus by the Rovers fans.
Manager Gary Johnson sprang a surprise in his choice of starting eleven. Expected to “rest” some of his players after a hectic first three weeks, he opted to remain unchanged again. It meant that Dominic Blizzard lined up against the side he played 45 times for. In the Rovers eleven was Adam Virgo plus loanees Sam Walker, Tom Parkes and trialist Jim Paterson, all who had played at one time or another in the Yeovil hoops.
After Virgo and Wayne Brown had missed chances for Rovers early on, Luke Ayling came even closer to that elusive first Yeovil goal when his left foot volley hit the bar from Jamie McAllister’s free kick on ten minutes. Upson shot wide after good work from McAllister and James Hayter. David Clarkson smashed a free kick over the bar as Yeovil continually gave away silly free kicks in the final third of the pitch.
Young Gas striker Eliot Richards robbed Richard Hinds thirty yards out and tried his luck beating Stech but seeing his shot flash wide of the left hand post. Rovers ended the first half on top and had the ball in the net on forty minutes after Stech had saved a header but referee Michael Naylor had whistled for a foul in the build up.
They then had another “goal” ruled out two minutes into the second half when Clarkson was in an offside position as he beat Stech and the incident lifted both the Gas players and crowd, as Rovers enjoyed good spells of possession yet no real clear sights of goal. Clarkson hit a shot well wide on 55 minutes but Rovers had no more efforts on goal to trouble the giant Czech keeper.
Johnson introduced Gozie Ugwu for Hayter and Rohan Ince for Webster around the hour mark but the game finally flared into action with twenty minutes remaining. Ugwu was taken out by a Rovers defender twenty five yards out and after four men had dummied taking the set piece, Ed Upson curled an absolute peach of a free kick into the top corner.
Ugwu then blasted a shot just over from outside the box but the next action took place near the Glovers penalty area. The ball went out for a Rovers throw in and McAllister clashed with Clarkson near the touchline, raising his hand to his former colleague. Referee Naylor showed an immediate red card and Johnson then threw Nathan Ralph on at left back, replacing attacker Keanu Marsh-Brown in the process.
For the final fifteen minutes, Town would have to hold on with ten men but they did more than hold on, pressing forward and attacking, always looking to finish the game. Upson’s next free kick was cleared as far as Reuben Reid and the Bristol-born star crashed a shot against the post before he then hit another free kick over the bar.
If Upson’s first goal was good then his second was even better. Four minutes were left when the midfield maestro found himself twenty five yards out, wide on the left. Urged to shoot by the Glovers fans behind his run up, Upson hit a brilliant free kick into the top corner, Sam Walker’s near post. It was a wonderful effort from a man brimming in confidence.
With two minutes of the three of stoppage time played, Yeovil counter attacked after a Rovers corner and the ball found Sam Foley on the left flank. Many teams would have taken the ball into the top corner but Foley saw Walker off his line and superbly chipped him into the corner of the net for a fabulous third strike.
Within a minute, the game was over and Rovers, without a win in five games this season, exit the Trophy while the Glovers march into the second round.
Photos by Mike Kunz and josephmeredith.com