Yeovil Town gave new manager Terry Skiverton the perfect start to his second spell as manager with a 2-1 win over fellow relegation threatened side Crawley at Huish Park this afternoon.
After going a goal down to Izale McLeod’s first half header, the Glovers roared back in the second period and equalised through Gozie Ugwu before Ajay Leitch-Smith fired the winner with eighteen minutes left. And although their lead was a slender one, the home side held out and earned their three points for a winning start to the managerial team’s reign.
The midweek change in management left Yeovil’s fans wondering what line up and formation Skiverton would choose for his second debut as Town’s boss. In the end, he plumped for a 3-5-2 formation with Ben Nugent returning after suspension to take his place as one of three centre backs. Seth Twumasi, Alex Smith and Jamar Loza all dropped to the bench to be replaced by Ajay Leitch-Smith, Nugent and James Hayter with Artur Krysiak coming in for Jed Steer who returned to Aston Villa last week.
Yeovil started at a very quick tempo and playing the ball mainly on the ground, forcing Crawley to play back on their heels. Leitch-Smith volleyed well wide on seventeen minutes but Crawley, against the run of play, took the lead on 26 minutes. Izale McLeod, who had fluffed a shot two minutes earlier, met a right wing cross with a firm header into the net for his 12th goal of a productive season.
It was harsh on Yeovil who had been the better side but straight afterwards, the Red Devils had to clear a Kieffer Moore header off the line from a corner that wasn’t cleared. Nugent volleyed into the side netting, Leitch-Smith and Joe Edwards both saw their efforts blocked by some last ditch defending and Gozie Ugwu’s weak shot barely troubled keeper Lewis Price as the half closed.
Yeovil fans were becoming increasingly frustrated with referee Pat Miller allowing Crawley to timewaste and then as the second half started, warning Krysiak to hurry up with a goal kick he was delaying in order to allow Nathan Smith to tie hi bootlaces up. In addition, he seemed to ignore the constant antics of McLeod who seemd to struggle to stay on his feet at times and then usually offering an opinion on the official’s performance.
After being knocked somewhat by the goal, Yeovil had recovered well before the interval but in the first minute of the second half, came the moment that could have changed the game. Breaking from a free kick, Crawley midfielder Gwion Edwards found himself one-on-one with Krysiak but scuffed his shot and the Pole saved easily.
Yeovil realised they were fortunate to escape being two goals down and mounted the recovery that would eventually secure three points. Sam Foley burst down the left channel before cutting inside and unleashing a right foot shot that flew wide of the far post. Ugwu flicked on a Foley corner but Stephen Arthurworrey could only chest the ball at Price.
Twice Yeovil went close from the next Foley set piece with shots blocked, deflected and bouncing pinball style around the penalty box but on 66 minutes, the deserved equaliser arrived. No surprise it was from a Foley setpiece as the midfielder curled in the perfect freekick for Gozie Ugwu to flick a header in to the net for his third goal since rejoining the Glovers.
After Leitch-Smith had headed weakly at Price from an Edwards cross, the former Crewe attacker then completed the superb comeback with the second goal on 72 minutes. Liam Shephard played in Hayter down the right flank and he pulled the ball back for Leitch-Smith to knock the ball home and make it 2-1.
Nathan Smith then fired wide with a right foot shot from a sortie forward and the final part of the game saw Yeovil hold out well against a side who had won just once in fourteen away games this season. Both sides remain in the bottom four this evening but in the battle of the acting manager and the interim manager, the home one will be much the happier tonight with only the third home win of the campaign and the first time the Glovers have scored two in a league game at home this season.