Friday, 18 February 2011

Yeovil slump back into trouble

Oh for another Leon Best!

YEOVIL suffered their third defeat in a row after a promising recovery at the start of the New Year, and are once again back in a relegation dog fight.

Their inability to convert possession and chances into goals was no more apparent than in their 2-0 defeat to Peterborough United at Huish Park on Tuesday.

This follows a 2-1 defeat against bottom club Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday where Yeovil had 25 attempts on goal, all but two of them in the first half, to their host’s nine!

Despite having 60 per cent of the possession, and battering the Posh defence for long periods, the Glovers could not find a way past a suspect defence in which even England U21 goalkeeper Joe Lewis looked indecisive.

Sam Williams had two chances within 30 seconds as early as the third minute to put Yeovil ahead, before Andy Williams might have done better by waiting to volley the ball rather than trying to beat Lewis with a header following Gabriel Zakuani’s misplaced headed clearance.

Then Oli Johnson had a fierce left foot shot saved by Lewis; all in the first 15 minutes.
Peterborough rarely threatened with Craig Mackail-Smith hardly given a look in by Paul Huntingdon and Max Ehmer, and it looked like it was only a matter of time before the Glovers breached the visiting defence.

However as so often this season, Yeovil failed to deliver the killer punch and you knew that the longer the game went on, the more chance the opposition would sneak a goal.

The second-half followed a similar pattern, and Yeovil’s best chance fell to Ehmer. Lewis failed to catch Paul Wotton’s free kick as he challenged Huntingdon and the ball ran to Ehmer, but his shot from an extremely acute angle agonisingly ran across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick.

As with last week’s match against Charlton Athletic, there was controversy surrounding a possible red card. Zakuani, who had a terrible game, brought down Andy Williams on 65 minutes as he made a run on goal, but referee Gavin Ward whose decisions became more inconsistent as the night wore on, only issued him a yellow.

As feared, Peterborough won the game in the dying minutes in a rare attack. The latest on-loan signing striker Antonio German, who had just come on as a replacement, lost the ball in the centre circle, and a superb ball from Grant McCann saw Mackail-Smith finally get the better of Huntingdon and Ehmer before slipping the ball under Stephen Henderson. Two minutes later Yeovil failed to clear a corner properly and Grant Basey thumped the ball home from close range.

There were positives from Nathan Smith, whose consistency has been one of the highlights of this season, Huntingdon, named npower Player of the Month, Ehmer and Wotton, and Andrew Tutte, who once again easily outshone Johnson, who to me, despite quick feet and a sharp turn of speed, is far too lightweight.

Listening to the radio on the way home, it was reported that Leon Best had scored again for Newcastle United in the Premiership, and it highlighted what a difference a good striker can make to your team. Best scored 10 goals in 15 games at Huish Park in 2006-7 and catapulted Yeovil towards the play-offs. Big, speedy and deadly, he epitomises what the team need right now.

Okay, I know good strikers are like gold dust, but until Terry Skiverton can get his team to turn chances into goals then they are going to continue to struggle.

As I overheard one fan exclaim to his mate as we left the ground: “If you can’t score against the team with the second worst defence in the league then we haven’t got a chance, have we!”

This sums it up completely.

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