27th February 2023

The Young Glovers succumb to a 3-2 home defeat to Mangotsfield United as the race for the league title hots up   

Despite two goals from midfielder Mason Alden, Yeovil Town were unable to protect a half-time lead and remain in second place in the league with five games to go. 

With leading striker Charlie Bateson joining Tiverton Town on loan for the remainder of the season, the home side set up with some new faces in the starting eleven. Alfie Hamblin was given a home debut in goal and Harry Lock got the start at left wingback. Alden returned to the midfield in support of Josh Haskett and Alex Stevens up front and new arrival Leyton Westlake was named on the bench.  

The home side made a promising start to the match and put together an excellent move down the right involving Max Dyer and Alden, with the latter then cutting inside to unleash a curling effort into the top left corner for a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute. 

Over the following ten minutes, both sides had spells of possession without creating any clear-cut chances before the hard-working Haskett held up the ball well before releasing Alden whose flick sailed over. Shortly after, the ball fell to Dyer on the right who saw his stinging shot drift narrowly wide. Yeovil also had a penalty appeal waived away as the match reached the thirty-minute mark. 

Mangotsfield grabbed an equaliser on around the 35-minute mark when the right wingback drove forward, beating two men before firing past Hamblin at his near post to make the score 1-1. 

To their credit the Young Glovers rallied and continued to play some nice football as they sought a second goal. The goal duly came with five minutes remaining when Alex Stevens harassed the backline into a mistake and Alden popped up to side foot his second of the game and give Yeovil a 2-1 lead at the break. 

The visitors started the second half strongly and Hamblin was forced to make a fine save from close range. In the 55th minute manager Matt Percival sent on Ethan O’Sullivan for Harry Lock with skipper Dyer switching to the left side. As the half wore on the home side were being penned back for long periods as they looked to try and defend their lead rather than push on for a third goal.  

The equaliser came on around 65 minutes when the ever-dangerous right wingback delivered a cross to the back post which was smartly headed home to make it 2-2. 

For the final 15 minutes it felt a little like the Young Glovers were now trying not to lose rather than trying to win the match. Leyton Westlake, Harry Evans and Filip Nowak were introduced from the bench and the match became very stop start, with the referee making regular halts to play to deal with fouls and disputes from both sides. The pressure finally told as the visitors grabbed a third once again from the right-hand side as a ball was not properly dealt with and fell to a midfielder who stroked it home from inside the box to make it 3-2. 

The Young Glovers could only muster half chances in the closing minutes with a header from Haskett following a free kick the pick of the bunch, indeed the home side were indebted to another fine stop from Hamblin to keep the score down as the visitors ran out winners. 

This was the third time in recent weeks that the Young Glovers have seen a 1-0 lead reversed to conceding 3 goals in defeat (away at Torquay and then last week at home to Dover Athletic in the National League Cup) which they will no doubt look to address on the training ground in the coming days. 

After the match Percival was on-hand to summarise the performance:  

‘I thought we played very well in the first 45 but had a bit of a capitulation in the second half. We stopped playing and allowed them long spells of possession as the game wore on. Once you do this you are running the risk of conceding and we were at times having to do some emergency defending rather than create further chances for ourselves’. 

Looking ahead to the final five games of the season, Percival still sees plenty of promise: 

‘It’s a good learning curve for us. The team consisted mainly of first year students and we had two schoolboys out there also. We’ll reflect on this and take that learning into the next game’. 

The Elite Player Development Programme (EPDP) continues to support players on their pathway through football and the club, along with Yeovil College, are already building an exciting programme for next year. 

Next weekend Yeovil travel to Torquay with only five league fixtures left for the season.   

Team: 1 – Alfie Hamblin, 2 – Max Dyer ©, 3 – Harry Lock, 5 – Aidan Skiverton, 6 – Harrison Foster, 7 – Mason Hunter 8 – Jack Bareham, 9 – Alex Stevens 10 – Mason Alden, 11 – Josh Haskett and 14 – Josh Sutton Subs: 15 – Harry Evans, 16 – Leyton Westlake, 17 – Filip Nowak, 18 – Ethan O’Sullivan