Yeovil Town slipped to the bottom of the Football League despite a much improved performance in this goalless draw with promotion chasing Oxford United at Huish Park.
In a game far more exciting then the score line suggested, Yeovil came closest with a Josh Sheehan effort that cannoned off the crossbar but home keeper Artur Krysiak, recalled for the game today, put in a man of the match performance particularly in the last twenty minutes to preserve his clean sheet. The point was useful but with York drawing and Dagenham & Redbridge winning, the gap between Yeovil and safety wasn’t closed at all.
Interim manager Darren Way made three changes from the team that lost on Boxing Day at Plymouth. Apart from Krysiak replacing Weale, Nathan Smith and Iffy Allen dropped to the subs bench with Jack Compton making his first start for three months and Ben Tozer shoring up the midfield. The two sides lay 2nd and 23rd at the start of play but boss Way still opted for a brave 4-3-3 formation against Michael Appletons side.
Kemar Roofe has starred in the U’s attack this season and he tested Krysiak early on, the Pole saving down low. After Francois Zoko had set up Sheehan to curl one wide, Krysiak then saved easily from a Sam Baldock effort. At times, it was difficult to see which side was the promotion chasers and who were in the bottom two as Yeovil continued their bright start. Compton shot straight at Sam Slocombe in the United goal and Darren Ward headed over before Sheehan’s delightful placed shot came back off the crossbar in a cruel stroke of luck.
Shaun Jeffers shot was parried by Slocombe and as the half wore on, Oxfords class began to show and the chance tally started to clock up. Callum O’Dowda’s header squirted horribly wide from a cross and he was later denied by Krysiak before then shooting over from twenty yards. Roofe, looking to add to his twelve goals this season, scooped a shot wide and also cursed Krysiak who saved from him. Six minutes of injury time for injuries to Yeovil’s Ryan Dickson and Oxford’s Johnny Mullins had ensured the flow of the game continued without abatement.
Both men were replaced, Cheyenne Dunkley on for Mullins and Dickson exiting at half time and Nathan Smith coming on. Krysiak then made a double save on 50 minutes to superbly save from Roofe then the follow up from Ryan Taylor. Taylor flicked a header wide shortly after too when he should have scored. Zoko did the same at the other end and Sheehan volleyed wide from distance too as the game carried on in an open fashion.
Krysiak again saved from Roofe and five minutes later, Jakub Sokolik limped off with Alex Lacey assuming the role of centre back. The new look defence creaked but stood firm in the wake of constant pressure from the visitors who were looking to regain top spot in the table. An almighty scramble on 72 minutes somehow didn’t end up in a goal for Oxford with Krysiak dropping on the ball at the end.
Lacey fired over on 76 minutes from the edge of the box and Oxford’s prolific midfielder Liam Sercombe wasted a golden chance to give his side the lead but shot wide. Late on, Sercombe again shot wide before a spectacular effort from Roofe went inches over the crossbar.
Time will tell whether this point is better for Yeovil or for Oxford but attention will now turn to Saturday’s crunch game at home to York City.