Yeovil Town produced one of the results of the season as a Paddy Madden first half winner gave them a hugely important 1-0 victory at Coventry City this afternoon.
Madden’s goal in the 44th minute separated the two in-form teams and despite almost incessant second half pressure from the Sky Blues, the Glovers maintained their seventh place position and crept to within five points of the summit with two successive home games coming up this week.
Manager Gary Johnson was forced into one change from the side that won against Brentford at Huish Park last Saturday. Matt Dolan failed to recover from his ankle injury and was replaced by the versatile Joe Edwards in central midfield.
As befits two teams for who victory could mean a top six position at 5pm, the first half was a bright, open affair with good chances for either side. The Sky Blues attacked from the kick off with Marek Stech denying a Franck Moussa burst from midfield and Paddy Madden flicked a shot over the crossbar.
In the ninth minute, the home crowd thought they had something to cheer but an offside flag ruled out a close range “goal” from William Edjenguele after Leon Clarke’s shot was well saved by Stech. The big Czech stopper then saved down low from Carl Baker’s drive as City pushed for an opener. Clarke, with five goals since joining from Charlton Athletic, then got in behind the Yeovil defence but toe poked the ball wide of the post and Stech then had to save from James Bailey’s left foot shot.
Yeovil had two of their best chances of the half when they found themselves with two opportunities in thirty seconds. Murphy did well to save from Sam Foley then also parried Joe Edwards’ shot straight from the corner. James Hayter then went close with a great header that went wide of the post from twelve yards out.
The Sky Blues were pressing for a goal and looking the more dangerous side down the flanks and often threw in crosses to try to unsettle Dan Burn and Byron Webster in the heart of the visiting defence but right on half time, it was Yeovil that took the lead on the counter attack. Sam Foley broke with the ball and ran fifty yards before pushing the ball through to an onside Paddy Madden who took one touch before shooting home under Murphy for his 15th goal of the season for the Glovers, and 16th overall.
The second half began as you might expect it to with the home side having received a roasting at half time and coming out all guns blazing. The home side saw two shots blocked before Bailey fired his effort over the bar. Having made two early second half changes, Sky Blues boss Mark Robins saw one of his replacements, curl a lovely shot onto the crossbar leaving Stech helpless between the posts.
Jordan Clarke and Steven Jennings also had shots blocked with some terrific desperate defending from the Glovers as the hosts threw everything and the kitchen sink at their Somerset opposition in an attempt to level matters. Out of nowhere, Madden nearly crafted himself an opportunist second from a tight angle but Murphy blocked his effort with his body.
Stech then denied sub Steven Elliott with a top class save as the ball arrowed towards the top corner; a chance that typified what the last segment of the game was all about. Pressure from the home side was constantly repelled by a stoic, heroic display from a back four that have now kept two clean sheets in a row and are thriving on the confidence that has given them.
In the final ten minutes, Coventry threatened Yeovil’s defence time and again – Elliott pulled a shot wide after spinning his man beautifully and Stech, once more Yeovil’s hero, produced another top drawer save denying Baker’s left foot shot before Elliott again shot wide in stoppage time.
But despite all the pressure, the possession and the chances, it was Johnson’s men who return home to Somerset with all three points and two home games in a week to prepare for against Preston North End and Scunthorpe United.