G-lovers Rocked, As Hatters Find Their Rhythm
A late leveller from substitute Adam Thomas secured against the ‘Glovers’ of Yeovil a second point within four days away from home against a side relegated from League Two last term.
As had been the case at Notts County in midweek, the hosts took a first-half lead before an improved County performance after the break both produced a deserved point for the Hatters and maintained their unbeaten record at Huish Park.
The Hatters took to the field on a breezy, but sunny, Somerset afternoon showing two changes – with Ben Jackson and Nyal Bell replacing Thomas and Jake Kirby to replicate the line-up and 3-5-2 formation that had been deployed for much of the second half, and had secured a draw, at Notts County four days earlier.
The hosts, who had scored early on against Eastleigh in their midweek contest, looked to get off to another good home start, but, while they saw most of the ball during the opening exchanges, threatened little in the final third before earning the game’s first corner with 10 minutes played.
Seven minutes later, Elliot Osborne earned a free-kick outside the Yeovil area – at the same end and in a similar position from where Matty Warburton had opened the Hatters’ account at Huish in the FA Cup nine months earlier. Osborne dusted himself down to take the kick – which beat the wall, but not home goalkeeper Stuart Nelson who caught comfortably.
With the midway-point of the half approaching, Yeovil took the lead – albeit following a slice of luck, after Lawson D’Ath’s stinging shot from 20 yards took a deflection off unwitting team-mate Rhys Murphy and into the path of Courtney Duffus who slotted home.
Bell and Sam Minihan struck shots narrowly over, as the Hatters sought to get back on level terms. And four minutes ahead of the break, Osborne drilled just wide of the right post – before crossing from the right into added time to Frank Mulhern, whose first-time strike was parried beyond the far upright by Nelson.
HALF-TIME: Yeovil 1 (Duffus, 21), County 0.
The second half saw chances created by both sides rather earlier than they had been in the first. Within three minutes of the resumption, Murphy curled a shot wide of the right post after the Glovers had broken from a County corner – and a minute later, Nelson palmed behind Osborne’s well-struck effort from distance.
Matt Worthington fired marginally shy of the left upright and Bell blazed over Yeovil’s crossbar, as the end-to-end fare continued prior to the hour-mark – either side of which the Hatters introduced Thomas and, subsequently, Kirby with a view to refreshing their attack.
With just over a quarter of an hour remaining, Ben Hinchliffe did well to tip another Worthington shot around his left post – before Nelson stood tall to deny Thomas from six yards out, and final substitute Connor Dimaio fired wide within two minutes of entering the fray.
Just as it seemed County’s efforts would go unrewarded, Osborne threaded a delicious through-ball to Thomas, who outpaced Tom Bradbury and then rounded Nelson before converting into an empty net for the equaliser that left more than 200 travelling Hatters set for a happy, if inordinately lengthy, journey home.
FULL-TIME: Yeovil 1 (Duffus, 21), County 1 (Thomas, 86).
Team (3-5-2): Hinchliffe; Cowan, Palmer, Keane; Minihan (Dimaio, 78), Turnbull (Capt.), Osborne, Walker (Kirby, 64), Jackson; Mulhern, Bell (Thomas, 59).
Unused Subs: Ormson, Arthur.
Attendance: 2,602 (217 representing The Twelfth Man).
Reporter: Gareth Evans.
Photographer: Mike Petch.