Christophe Berra’s 39th minute close range finish was all that separated the two sides in an encounter that often threatened to be a good game but seemed to be constantly dampened by a succession of niggly fouls from a side well drilled at getting results when they need them. However all too often, Yeovil’s shooting was awry and visiting keeper Dean Gerken barely had a shot to save.
The result leaves Yeovil in 22nd place with a two point gap to safety after Millwall lost at Blackpool tonight. However beyond Millwall, there is a five point gap to 20th place Doncaster who beat Watford with a late goal.
Unsurprisingly, Yeovil boss Gary Johnson named the same eleven that beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 on Saturday. The returning striker Kieffer Moore had to be content with a place on the bench while Joe Ralls was serving the second of his three game ban.
But it was Tom Lawrence that impressed early on with a livewire showing. The 20-year-old winger was at the heart of everything initially and almost gave his side the lead in the second minute. He played a short corner to Luke Ayling, received the ball back and unleashed a shot that went just wide of the far post.
James Hayter volleyed over on eight minutes before Ayling’s left footed shot took a deflection that took the pace of the ball and rolled into Gerken’s arms. It was all Yeovil and it was twenty minutes before Mick McCarthy’s team had a chance but Daryl Murphy sliced his shot miles wide from Paul Anderson’s pass.
Chances for either side came via Miller (Yeovil) and Cole Skuse (Ipswich) with neither keeper troubled by them. Then, after the Tractor Boys won four corners in a row, they scored from the last of them. Stephen Hunt’s outswinging corner found the head of Tommy Smith who flicked on for Berra to finish at the far stick.
The home side gambled and took off both Miller and Hayter at half time to introduce Moore and the returning from injury Sam Hoskins. But the early chance was at the other end when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s low shot was saved by Marek Stech.
The game tried firing into life again but a multitude of free kicks and stoppages foiled any ebb and flow to a match that playoff chasing Ipswich needed to win as much as Yeovil for different reasons. McCarthy made all three changes in the second half while Yeovil, who looked a little lightweight in attack, made their final change with seventeen minutes to go, Adam Morgan coming on for Duane Holmes.
Murphy set up Anderson in a reverse of the earlier chance but the result was the same, this time the ball going out of the ground with a horribly sliced shot. Aaron Cresswell shot wide too before Skuse was denied by a top class diving save from Stech.
Then in the first of four minutes stoppage time, the Glovers came the closest they’d come all game. A cross was launched towards Moore who controlled, turned and fired in a brilliant shot that smashed against the post and bounced along the front of the goal, begging to be converted. But no one was there, the ball was cleared and in the end, Stech had to be at this best to thwart Murphy from wrapping the game up at the other end.