Yeovil Town celebrated manager Gary Johnson’s first anniversary in charge with a fantastic 2-0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane this afternoon.
And it was the return of prolific striker Paddy Madden that sparked the magnificent result as the Irishman netted twice more to take his season’s tally to eleven. But as important as Madden’s second half double was, it was an all-round battling, committed, steely showing that won the three points as Yeovil rise to eighth place in League One.
Boss Gary Johnson’s first match after taking charge twelve months ago was the identical fixture to today although his was a watching brief as the Blades thumped Yeovil 4-0. Today, he made three changes to the starting eleven that slipped out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy to Leyton Orient in midweek.
Dominic Blizzard, Gavin Williams and Richard Hinds all took their place on the subs bench with Johnson giving full debuts to Matt Dolan and Kevin Dawson plus bringing back prolific marksman Madden after missing out on Tuesday as he was cup-tied.
And Madden showed he was back in business when he nearly scored after just seven minutes. Harry Maguire sold his goalkeeper short with a woefully short back pass and the former Carlisle star nipped in but slid his shot just wide of the post.
To be honest in the first period, Yeovil were the better team and the only opportunities in the first half hour for the home side came from long range and sailed way over the crossbar. Both Nick Blackman and Michael Doyle had other options but fired their shots over wastefully while Ryan Flynn failed to get enough contact on Doyle’s pass and Marek Stech held easily.
James Hayter, no slouch himself in the scoring stakes having hit nine this season, took on a shot first time but shot narrowly over from Luke Ayling’s chip forward and Dolan nearly marked his first start but also shot over from Hayter’s fed pass. Hayter then screwed a shot wide from fifteen yards out right on half time.
But it was his strike partner Madden who opened the scoring four minutes into the second half. Dawson sprayed a lovely diagonal ball to Byron Webster who laid the ball back to Madden; the forward took his time and finished well to reach double figures in a green and white shirt.
United stepped their pace up and tried to get a foothold in the game but found determined resistance in the back four that had taken a more familiar look to it today with the return of captain Jamie McAllister at left back, releasing Dan Burn to resume his partnership with Webster in the centre. They repelled attacks as they came and used the ball sensibly in the counter attack.
Halfway through the second half, United’s young goalkeeper George Long dallied too long with the ball and allowed Madden to rob him and tap into an empty net for his eleventh, and easiest, goal of the campaign. It was a horror moment for the teenager and even with 25 minutes left, some United fans had seen enough and either left or booed their side.
Danny Higginbotham headed a Blackman corner over the crossbar and late on, both Burn and Webster threw themselves in front of shots to preserve the clean sheet and the Blades fans then vented their derision of their team on the final whistle with a crescendo of boos as they saw their side out-battled, out-thought and out-scored by a great Glovers performance.