Yeovil Town suffered their fourth successive home Championship defeat when they lost to a controversial Charlie Austin penalty against QPR this afternoon.
The spot kick, awarded for Dan Seaborne’s challenge on 74 minutes, looked suspect to say the least and was rough justice on a Yeovil side that had more than competed for long periods of the match. Visiting keeper Rob Green was by far the busiest keeper and saved superbly from Liam Davis and Joe Ralls.
The penalty conversion was equally tough on the hosts who had seen Austin booked for a crude lunge on Luke Ayling before then diving in the box for a penalty yet not getting a second yellow from fussy referee Gavin Ward.
The result means that the Glovers remain in 22nd place after eight games but as the 9,108 fans filed out of Huish Park, they did so with a feeling of Groundhog Day with the game’s major decision going against them.
Manager Gary Johnson opted for a 4-5-1 formation to tackle the league leaders and Pre-season favourites managed by Harry Redknapp and containing several established England internationals. One potential future star, Matt Phillips, had his side’s first chance when he shanked his shot horribly wide on eight minutes.
Yeovil rose to the occasion well though and Joe Ralls went close with a rising shot before Robert Green dived low to his left to keep out Joel Grant’s effort. Initially, Rangers aim was misfiring with Richard Dunne’s header and Gary O’Neil’s shot way off target.
Austin was lucky to only see a yellow card from referee Ward after a late cynical tackle on the halfway line on Luke Ayling, a challenge that many refs would have punished with a straight red card.
Austin then shot into the side netting with a fearsome shot, Liam Fontaine injuring himself as he attempted to block the chance and being replaced by Kevin Dawson. This meant a defensive reshuffle with Joe Edwards going to right back and Ayling switching to centre half.
Green then saved well from Davis while at the home end, Phillips and Austin both went close late in the first half.
The second half began with Yeovil firing on all cylinders and pinning Rangers back in their own half. Green denied Ralls with a brilliant save before parrying from Davis’s drive moments later and then produced an even better dive to thwart Andy Williams’ rising scorcher.
The chances missed then proved costly as the game changing moment came on 73 minutes. Matt Phillips knocked the ball past Seaborne and seemed to run into the Yeovil defender before collapsing in a heap. Ref Ward, who had angered Yeovil fans for a series of baffling decisions, gave the decision for a penalty after his assistant flagged furiously and Austin, dubiously still on the pitch after earlier diving for a penalty but not getting it, slammed home the spot kick sending Hennessy the wrong way.
To Yeovil’s credit, they refused to let the decision affect their commitment and endeavour but insult was added o injury late on at a free kick when Ed Upson was yellow carded for taking a free kick too quickly. Sub Michael Ngoo sliced a shot wide late on which was the end of Yeovil’s chances and the final whistle was greeted with a crescendo of strong support for the players and criticism for the officials that had once more gone a long way to deny Yeovil their first victory.