Yeovil Town’s first season in the Skybet Championship ended with a disappointing 4-1 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough.
A first half defensive horror show saw ‘Boro go in at half time 3-1 to the good with goals from Danny Graham, Emanuel Ledesma and Lee Tomlin. James Hayter had given Yeovil hope with an equaliser. But in the second minute of the second half, Ledesma added his second and Boro’s fourth to wrap the game up.
The visitors, playing in front of an incredible 1,348 of their own fans, could have scored more with Ledesma hitting the crossbar and Graham spurning two absolute sitters but in the end, it was a poor end to the Glovers’ historic first season at the second level of English football.
Manager Gary Johnson’s selection changes came in midfield where Tom Lawrence’s return to Manchester United and Ruben Palazuelos’s injury meant there were opportunities on the flanks for Kevin Dawson and Sam Foley. The pair’s return meant that eight of the starting eleven were at Huish Park last season.
Both sides had an early chance to score but both Foley and Graham failed to really trouble their opposition’s keeper. Graham then missed his first glorious chance when Nathaniel Chalobah’s cross set him up but he got no proper contact on the ball in. Hayter then went close for Yeovil with a delicate chip that Boro keeper Luke Steele just managed to tip over.
Jamie McAllister for Yeovil and both Chalobah and Tomlin for the visitors were off target as the game continued in an open fashion and Graham again went close with a far post volley that keeper Marek Stech got down well to block.
On the half hour though Boro opened the scoring. Ledesma cut inside from the right flank and fired in a shot that Stech parried but only into the path of Graham who finished easily. Ledesma almost made it two straight after with a left foot effort that smacked against the crossbar.
It took only seven minutes for the home side to reply, albeit in fortunate circumstances. Luke Ayling got into a good position on the right wing and sent in a low cross. Sam Hoskins miskicked his first time shot but diverted it to Hayter who tucked home for his sixth league goal of the season.
But before Yeovil could think about getting to half time level, they conceded twice more before half time as the defensive calamity continued. Daniel Ayala hit a long hopeful ball looking for the right winger but McAllister intercepted the pass, heading into the path of Graham. He then found Ledesma who finished to make it 2-1 from inside the box.
Number three was courtesy of another long ball from the back. Keeper Steele’s long goal kick ran all the way through to the edge of Yeovil’s box, creating a 50/50 ball between Stech and Tomlin. The Czech keeper missed the ball and Tomlin nipped in to finish from a tight angle.
The Glovers hopes of getting anything out of the game disappeared ninety seconds into the second half through another lapse in the back four. Shane Duffy, who returns to Everton tonight, stooped to head a dipping pass and failed to control the ball. Graham rounded Byron Webster and crossed for Ledesma to acrobatically volley in at the far stick.
The game ended as a spectacle at this point. Johnson had withdrawn Foley and Dawson at half time to look at Liam Davis and Joel Grant on the flanks. But it was still the long-travelling visitors who looked most likely to score next, Stech having to dive full length to prevent a Byron Webster own goal.
Graham then missed an even easier chance when Boro counter attacked and Tomlin unselfishly squared to the Sunderland loanee who scuffed his shot horribly wide.
The closing half hour saw the introduction of Seth Twumasi for a rare appearance, replacing Sam Hoskins. Boro sub Adam Reach fired over from the angle of the box and Twumasi had a sight of goal but sent his left foot shot wide of the near post.
The final action of Yeovil’s Championship season saw Hayter brought down from behind in the box but ref Graham Salisbury denied Yeovil a spot kick. Ledesma missed a chance for his hat trick, shooting wide, but it ended in a sad end to the Glovers’ season ahead of the summer rebuilding programme.