Yeovil Town’s stunning eight match winning streak came to an end at Doncaster Rovers this afternoon when the Glovers drew 1-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Irish scoring sensation Paddy Madden earned his crust with his eleventh goal in eight games but Rovers striker Billy Paynter levelled right on half time and the hosts could, and should, have won the match as they stepped up the pressure in the second half but couldn’t break down the Yeovil defence.
The point came at a cost though as both James Hayter and Jamie McAllister picked up nasty looking knocks that could leave them doubtful for next week’s action, meaning that Town boss Gary Johnson may have to use some dough to trade in the loan market.
The result leaves his side in fifth place, two points off the top ahead of Tuesday’s long journe yeast to Colchester United but they needed a slice of luck today as they played at a level or two lower than in recent weeks. They will need to play better to keep up their astonishing 2013 run of form but most would have taken a point against a fellow promotion chasing outfit at the start.
No surprise from Johnson’s team selection as he named an unchanged line-up for the fourth match in a row. The fixture pitched the big-spending Rovers side against a side living on the breadline in comparison but it was the visiting Town side that started the brighter and took the lead on six minutes.
Jamie McAllister crossed a free kick in and after Gary Woods in the Donny goal had spilled the ball, Paddy Madden lashed home into the roof of the net. The goal was the Irishman Madden’s eleventh goal in eight games, his 19th goal of the season overall and meant he had scored in eight successive games, beating a club record stretching back five decades.
Donny came close to levelling on thirteen minutes when Marek Stech raised up one of his mighty white hands to tip over a Paynter effort and he then gathered easily from James Coppinger and David Cotterill efforts. Dan Burn and Ed Upson were wayward with shots before the half hour with the home side looking more dangerous, especially from the long throw-ins of Tommy Spurr, aimed for the head of giant centre half Rob Jones.
James Husband earned the first yellow card of the contest with a late, cynical challenge on Glovers defender Luke Ayling and a minute later, Paynter made a whole meal of a chance to score from two yards out, heading against the post when it was easier to score. However the big forward made amends when he got on the end of a Husband cross to head home unmarked to make himself the toast of the Donny fans.
The second half opened badly for Johnson’s men when Hayter seemed to be fouled by Spurr and as referee Eddie Ilderton played on with the forward down obviously injured, it relied on a sporting gesture from Rovers full back Paul Quinn to put the ball out for Hayter to be treated. Eventually the striker, looking to make it a baker’s dozen of goals for the season, was carried off to be replaced by Gavin Williams.
Jones was then guilty of a bloomer himself when he missed from six yards out and although Williams and Madden also missed the target for Yeovil, it was the home side that looked more likely to score and Coppinger went close with a bicycle kick on 65 minutes.
Nathan Ralph came on to add some zip to the Glovers flank play and Williams should have scored when through one-on-one with the keeper but he screwed his shot just wide.
With twelve minutes left, the home side were up in arms screaming for a penalty when Stech clattered into sub David Syers trying to retrieve the ball but ref Ilderton waved away their appeals.
Williams was tripped by Paul Keegan who then got a cob on with the official and was booked, presumably for dissent, but McAllister’s free kick went over the bar harmlessly. Cotterill, whose earlier attempts to wind up the Town fans ended with him rolling on the floor after he slipped, then shot over the bar.
McAllister then limped off after Cotterill caught him on the Achilles, again referee Ilderton seemingly not using his loaf and stopping play for treatment with McAllister in pain; Lewis Young coming on and prompting a reshuffle in the Town ranks with the last chance of the game falling to Burn who shot well over with his left foot during the six minutes of stoppage time.
So the eight match run is over and now the time has come for Gary Johnson’s men to show their fibre for the fight and ensure that the promotion train continues to roll.