A brilliant 58th minute free kick from Ed Upson was enough to give Yeovil Town their seventh successive home League One victory over promotion rivals Tranmere Rovers at Huish Park today.
The strike, Upson’s fifth goal of the season, lifts the Glovers up one place in the third tier table, leapfrogging Rovers in the process and was just dessert for a team that played at a higher tempo than their opponents who relied a lot on a more direct approach to try to bypass the pitch as it broke up underfoot.
Manager Gary Johnson was boosted before the start with the news that both James Hayter and Jamie McAllister had recovered from their knocks picked up at Doncaster Rovers last weekend. New Burnley loan signing Wes Fletcher had to be content with a space on the bench after joining the club in the week.
Paddy Madden almost added to his nineteen goals this season when he shot wide just ninety seconds in and McAllister curled a free kick a foot wide on ten minutes after Zoumana Bakayogo was booked for cynically tripping James Hayter on the edge of the box.
On fifteen minutes, Madden forced a save out of visiting keeper Owain fon Williams and Luke Ayling also found himself in space outside the box but couldn’t keep his shot down. As the chances mounted up, Tranmere would occasionally catch the Glovers on the counter attack. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro fired over from a narrow angle then outpaced Dan Burn to get a shot in that keeper Marek Stech saved with his legs.
Madden then went close twice in the final moments of the half while Stech watched as Paul Corry’s shot fizzed past the post from thirty yards out. The big keeper then grabbed a header from Bakayogo early in the second half and his oppo, fon Williams, had to grab Madden’s snap shot at the second attempt to keep his side on terms.
The reprieve was brief though as the Glovers finally made the breakthrough on 58 minutes. Sam Foley was dragged down on the angle of the penalty box by Danny Holmes who earned a yellow card. Upson then curled a sublime free kick into the corner of the net, leaving fon Williams helpless.
As Tranmere came out looking for an equaliser, Town could have added more goals to the one already scored. Burn’s overhead kick, followed by a volley from the same player, both went over the bar and Upson almost added a stunning second but saw his chip rebound off the face of the crossbar and the follow up opportunity was spurned.
Madden then went close when his shot on the turn was cleared off the line by Ian Goodison and the pair then clashed off the ball to earn a yellow card apiece from referee Darren Sheldrake. Sub Cole Stockton pulled his shot wide after taking advantage of a defensive mix up and Akpa Akpro headed over from Holmes’ cross.
After four minutes of stoppage time, Yeovil’s second biggest home league crowd of the season went home happy as Johnson’s side recorded their seventh successive home league win.