Yeovil Town’s final home game of the 2014/15 season ended with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Port Vale this afternoon.
Vale’s top scorer Tom Pope curled his side ahead on 12 minutes and in a frantic finale, after Gozie Ugwu had levelled, Michael Brown scored the winner. Late on, Ugwu’s shot hit the post as Yeovil pressed for a second equaliser but in the end, Vale earned a vital three points that guaranteed they will play League One football next season.
New Yeovil boss Paul Sturrock, on the back of a three game unbeaten start as Glovers boss, made four changes to the side that beat Swindon 1-0 last weekend. Chris Weale came in in goal with Fergus Bell making his debut and Sam Foley and Gozie Ugwu also coming in. The four players left out (Artur Krysiak, Nathan Smith, Seth Twumasi and Joel Grant) were all on the bench as Sturrock took another chance to cast his eye over his squad going into the summer.
Port Vale, needing a win to clear up any relegation worries, started off much the better side and dominated the first half. Tom Pope, scorer of eleven goals this season, thought he had number twelve when he headed in on ten minutes from a cross but it was disallowed by ref Graham Scott for a push.
Sam Foley suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury on eleven minutes and was replaced by Nathan Smith.
The big striker wasn’t denied for long though and he opened the scoring two minutes later. The ball was laid back to him fifteen yards out and the forward curled a beauty past Chris Weale into the far corner.
Within two minutes, he was a foot wide with another chance, a smart left foot volley from Mark Marshall’s cross. Marshall, Pope and Michael O’Connor were running the show and Vale looked dangerous every time they attacked. O’Connor in particular was looking dangerous from set pieces with Weale parrying one and the other ending up going a foot past the post.
Yeovil’s chance wasn’t climbing very high with just two shots way off target from Bell and Kingsley while before half time, Pope had one more half chance, stretching to reach a pass from O’Connor.
The Glovers made two further changes at the break with Byron Webster and Bell replaced by Twumasi and returning skipper Joe Edwards. The change saw Yeovil looked a little more lively but Vale were still in charge. Neither side threatened each other’s goalkeeper and Yeovil’s first chance of any note didn’t come until the 76th minute when Edwards shot was always rising and flew past Chris Neal in the Vale goal.
The next chance though saw the breakthrough for the Glovers. James Berrett chipped in a free kick and Gozie Ugwu controlled before executing a bicycle kick into the net at the near post. It was a moment of class in an otherwise uninspiring performance from Yeovil and the striker celebrated becoming Yeovil’s joint top scorer in style.
Parity didn’t last for long though as within three minutes, Vale had scored what proved to be the winner. O’Connor delivered another quality set piece that Weale parried and Michael Brown nudged in from close range with the desperate clearance on the goal line from a Yeovil defender being to no avail.
Late on, Stephen Kingsley was set up by a barnstorming run forward by Stephen Arthurworrey but his shot found only the side netting. The Glovers came even closer in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Ugwu shot at goal but Neal produced a brilliant save with his feet, the ball hitting the post and cleared away to safety as the ref blew his whistle for full time.