Yeovil Town won a priceless three points with a 1-0 victory over relegation rivals and old adversaries Doncaster Rovers at Huish Park.
James Hayter’s 58th minute penalty against his old club was all that separated the two sides after a competitive encounter that threatened to boil over in the final few minutes with several running battles.
The victory means Yeovil remain bottom but tantalisingly just a win away from escaping the bottom three. And it was ironic that Hayter, who hit 39 goals for the South Yorkshiremen including a playoff final winner, should score for the second season running against a side he spent five years with.
Manager Gary Johnson had brought in Huddersfield attacker Duane Holmes into the club on loan this week and he rewarded the youngster with a starting spot in place of Everton loanee John Lundstram. It was the only change to the starting eleven that drew 1-1 with Watford on Tuesday night.
Joe Ralls found Ishmael Miller with a superb cross field ball on three minutes and the big striker held the ball up well before unleashing a thirty yard effort that went just wide. But it was Miller’s only chance on goal as he limped off on nine minutes to be replaced with Kieffer Moore.
Yeovil looked energetic going forward and supported by a midfield with an average age of just 20.5, they built attacks with some good tempo. Tom Lawrence fired wide and Holmes volleyed over from Moore’s knockdown before former Glovers loan keeper Sam Johnstone dived to save a Byron Webster flicked header from a free kick.
Marek Stech was a virtual spectator for most of the first half, called into action to parry a Jordan Bowery shot early on but seeing some stoic defending by his defence in front of him preventing too many shots getting through.
Moore went close with a header that was straight at Johnstone and Shane Duffy didn’t get enough on his header in first half stoppage time to give Yeovil the lead.
Doncaster boss Paul Dickov would have been happier with a level scoreline than home boss Gary Johnson but the game certainly opened up more in the second half. After Yeovil’s Duffy looked to have been wrestled
to the ground in the box at a corner but ref Darren Drysdale waved away penalty claims, Lawrence headed at Johnstone from close range.
Mark Duffy fired over on 54 minutes from twelve yards and his day got worse when he was issued the game’s first yellow for taking out Luke Ayling a minute later.
The game’s only goal came on 58 minutes. Duffy played a fantastic diagonal crossfield ball to Duane Holmes who controlled before breaking into the area. He was brought down by a defender and ref Drysdale pointed to the spot after his assistant flagged furiously. Hayter stepped up and smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Dickov brought on David Cotterill for Duffy on 65 minutes and attackingly, Rovers did look more of a threat going forward. Stech had to tip Paul Keegan’s looping header over the crossbar on 69 minutes.
Holmes forced a save from Johnstone before going off with what looked like cramp with fifteen minutes remaining, Kevin Dawson replacing him. Dawson then went close with a header that Johnstone pushed onto the crossbar after brilliant flank work by Joe Edwards.
After being manhandled all afternoon by the central defensive pair of Abdoulaye Meite and Bongani Khumalo, Moore was finally thrown to the ground 25 yards out by the big defender earning himself a yellow. From the free kick, Lawrence whipped it over the crossbar.
The visitors were beginning to get frustrated by now with Yeovil’s back four and midfield defending well and counter attacking in numbers at speed. Richie Wellens was constantly in the referee’s ear and escaped a late yellow card but right on time, sub Cotterill was lucky to stay on the pitch.
Lawrence had taken on two Donny defenders and had beaten Cotterill all ends up for pace but was taken out cynically by the ex-Bristol City winger. No covering defender was evident but the official settled for a safe yellow card. The Glovers survived the final seconds of the same with no further alarms and the three points were Yeovil’s for the first time in six games.