An 85th minute strike from super sub Ben Tozer earned Yeovil Town a place in the FA Cup Third Round at a blustery Huish Park this afternoon.
Tozer’s shot rifled into the corner of the net and gave Darren Way a win in the first game of his interim management spell and sets up the chance of another big cup tie in Monday night’s draw. The game was spoilt by the wind with clearances, passes and goal kicks all failing to make their targets and as a result the game won’t last long in the memory. But Yeovil boss Way won’t mind that as his Glovers side complete a win on his debut.
The new Yeovil manager made four changes to the side following the sacking of Paul Sturrock in midweek. Out went defender Alex Lacey, replaced by Jakub Sokolik in the centre. Ryan Bird and Shaun Jeffers came into the front line along with midfielder Matt Dolan with the trio of Wes Fogden, Ben Tozer and George Thomas joining Lacey on the bench.
The first half saw Yeovil play with the elements in their back but the first five minutes saw action at both ends and offered hope that this might be an open classic. From the kick off, Ben Kennedy headed over before Josh Sheehan then took advantage of a huge Chris Weale goal kick but volleyed wide of goal. Michael Tonge then curled a beauty onto the cross bar on three minutes with Armand Gnanduillet heading the rebound over as the game began in exciting fashion.
Chris Day, the veteran Stevenage keeper then gathered a neat flick from Shaun Jeffers and Harry Cornick’s 60 yard run ended with Day parrying well. The game then slowed down a bit as both sides struggled with the wind and there wasn’t another chance on goal till three minutes before the break. It was Day again to the rescue as he gathered a shot from Matt Dolan. Late in the half, Ryan Bird turned and fired in a shot that was deflected for a corner.
The second half opened with Connor Ogilvie bursting into the box and being challenged, looking for a penalty but ref Chris Sarginson waved away the Stevenage appeals. Connor Roberts almost cleared the stand with his 56th minute effort and Cornick set up Bird but the big striker couldn’t get a clean connection and pulled his effort wide.
Kennedy was proving more than a nuisance down the left hand side and he twice tested Weale in quick succession. First, the Yeovil keeper was helpless as the wingers shot sailed six inches over the bar then three minutes on, Weale saved from Kennedy and a superb last ditch follow up tackle from Nathan Smith saved the Glovers.
Darren Way then made a double change within a couple of minutes with Tozer and Francois Zoko coming on for Bird and Josh Sheehan. Tozer’s first long throw caused havoc in the visitors defence with Roberts shooting over from a partial clearance.
But Tozer’s moment was to come with five minutes left on the clock. Ryan Dickson’s corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Dolan recycled the ball to Jeffers. His ball back across the box found Tozer and his low drilled effort flew into the corner of the net.
Late on, Weale produced a fantastic reaction save to deny Kennedy an equaliser that Stevenage had been pushing for but at the final whistle, there was scenes of joy and celebration rarely seen at Huish Park this campaign. Darren Way had got off to a winning start as Yeovil manager and confidence has taken a big boost ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Oxford in the Johnstones Paint Trophy.