Yeovil Town produced a spirited performance to overcome Stevenage by two goals to nil at the Lamex Stadium this afternoon and secure a place in the League One playoffs with three games remaining.
Goals from Sam Foley and James Hayter gave Yeovil their first victory in four attempts over the Hertfordshire side and the Glovers held on despite losing centre half Dan Burn to a late red card for two bookable offences.
The result means that Gary Johnson’s side are guaranteed a top six finish in his first full season since returning to Huish Park but after his side nailed their tenth away victory, all eyes will remain upwards at an automatic promotion spot.
Initially the manager opted for just one change from the eleven that won 2-1 against Shrewsbury last weekend. Angelo Balanta, the QPR loanee, was ill so Sam Foley deputised for him but in the warm up, Matt Dolan tweaked his knee injury and Dominic Blizzard was hurried into action for his first league start since New Year’s Day.
The Glovers got into a good rhythm early on and Burn headed a corner wide before fellow defender Luke Ayling sent a 25-yard screamer whistling just wide of the post. Foley and Joe
Edwards set up top scorer Paddy Madden for a shot that was deflected and Foley then headed over the bar. As Yeovil pressed, Kevin Dawson actually had the ball in the net on 22 minutes but it was ruled out by an offside flag.
Marek Stech had enjoyed a quieter afternoon at this point with comfortable saves from Lucas Akins and James Dunne his only real action but the big Czech excelled himself with one of those blinding saves that has been his trademark this campaign. Akins knocked a ball in across goal and Dani Lopez met the ball with a powerful header that the Yeovil keeper brilliantly saved with a flying hand.
Madden shot wide and Ed Upson fired over as the half closed and the final action also involved Yeovil’s central midfielder with Bondz N’Gala, one of three former Glovers in the home line up, going in late on Upson and both he and Dan Burn saw yellow, the latter for retaliation.
Town were average in the first half but took the lead eight minutes into the second period. Hayter played his way into the box with some clever footwork before unselfishly laying the ball off to Sam Foley who curled a beauty into the top right hand corner, leaving home keeper Steven Arnold helpless.
The goal lifted the visitors tempo and spirits up and the Town seemed a different side after the break. Madden almost grabbed a second when through one-on-one with Arnold but the keeper came out quickly and forced Madden into a snap shot that was saved. Stevenage sub Marcus Haber then almost set up Luke Freeman but Blizzard thwarted the ex-Arsenal star with a fantastic back-headed clearance.
The second goal came on eighty minutes and was a personal triumph for striker James Hayter. Foley was scorer turned provider with a burst to the by line before pulling the ball back for Hayter to slam in the second and decisive goal off the crossbar. It was Hayter’s 161st goal in 633 games but his first ever scored against Stevenage, leaving him with just AFC Bournemouth and Crawley for the complete set.
As the clock entered into stoppage time, ref James Linington dismissed Burn for a second bookable offence, leaving the Glovers to play the final two minutes with ten men.