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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

18 February 2023 Venue Huish Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Reports

Yeovil 1-4 Notts

Langstaff hits hat-trick in victory

18 February 2023

Macaulay Langstaff scored a hat-trick to take his season tally to 30 and maintain our five-point gap at the top of the table.

The striker gave us an early lead, only to see it cancelled out when Andrew Oluwabori capitalised on a defensive error.

But the floodgates opened late in the second half when Ruben Rodrigues stroked home another composed penalty, leaving the stage set for Langstaff to score two more late on to wrap up the points.

Luke Williams made four changes to the side that produced a second-half demolition of Barnet in midweek.

Tobi Adebayo-Rowling and Cedwyn Scott both missed out through injuries sustained against the Bees, with Aaron Nemane and Sam Austin stepping in at Huish Park.

Elsewhere, Geraldo Bajrami came into defence and Jim O’Brien was selected in midfield – with Aden Baldwin and John Bostock taking their place on the bench alongside Ed Francis, Frank Vincent and Jodi Jones.

Yeovil were the only team to have prevented us from scoring this season, having held us to a 0-0 draw in November’s reverse fixture.

But their resolve was broken inside four minutes on this occasion as they allowed Austin far too much space to turn and race away down the left. He produced a sensational cross for Langstaff, whose diving header had too much on it for Grant Smith to keep it out.

It was a very shaky start from Mark Cooper’s men but they probably should have had an equaliser following a sloppy spell of our own which saw us regularly concede possession in our own half.

Sam Slocombe stood firm to make a good save with his feet, before seeing a low Matt Worthington shot flash wide of his far post and Connell Rawlinson divert Alex Fisher’s shot behind.

We settled somewhat after that and Yeovil breathed a sigh of relief themselves on 31 minutes when a last-ditch block kept a Langstaff shot away from goal after Ruben Rodrigues had brilliantly worked Nemane to the byline.

And more good work from Rodrigues, who hunted down Jamie Reckord and won the ball with a crunching challenge out wide, resulted in Adam Chicksen sending a first-time, right-footed effort wide from the edge of the area.

That proved to be the final action of the first half and we emerged unchanged for the second, Nemane volleying a cross-shot over the angle of post and crossbar following an excellent Matt Palmer pass eight minutes after the restart.

Three minutes later, we came agonisingly close to doubling our lead. Palmer was pivotal once again, heading the ball over Yeovil’s back line to release Langstaff who had the pace to lob the bouncing ball over the oncoming keeper. Unfortunately, he got his angles slightly wrong and had to chase the ball to try and turn it home – but could only hit the outside of the post.

The sides then exchanged chances as Ryan Law made a big block to deny Rodrigues before Slocombe saved Matt Warburton’s deflected effort at the other end.

But, shortly afterwards, the keeper’s goal was breached when both he and Bajrami failed to clear a ball on the edge of their own area, allowing substitute Oluwabori to steal it and curl it into the top corner.

Our response came in the form of a cleverly-taken throw-in, which saw Nemane release O’Brien into the box, but the Scot’s lay-off for Rodrigues left the Portuguese with a difficult finish, which was comfortably saved.

Nemane was involved again moments later when, after twisting and turning brilliantly in the area, both he and Jodi Jones, on for Austin, saw shots blocked – with Slocombe making another good save to keep Jordan Young’s shot out on the counter-attack.

It had been far from a vintage performance but, as the clock ticked down, our control and influence grew and on 83 minutes we were given a huge chance to put ourselves in front when brilliant link-up play between Rodrigues and Palmer resulted in the latter being clumsily sandwiched between two defenders in the area, with the referee correctly pointing to the spot.

Langstaff handed the ball to Rodrigues, who had to wait for what seemed like an age before coolly sending the keeper the wrong way and finding the bottom corner in front of a jubilant away end.

Any hopes that we’d see the game out comfortably from there were soon quashed as we conceded a free-kick in dangerous territory in the dying embers of normal time. Slocombe saved Law’s shot but the hosts kept the ball alive and looped an effort on to the top of our bar.

And, inside five added minutes, Town really should have equalised as Reckord missed a golden opportunity following a corner.

Unflustered by the nervousness at the other end, however, Langstaff made sure of the points when his clever movement was matched by a perfect Rodrigues pass to send him through on goal once more. The Teessider’s deft, left-footed finish snuck in at the near post to end the game as a contest.

And we won the ball back immediately following the restart to send Langstaff clear once again, this time from a lofted Chicksen pass. The forward had more to do on this occasion, brilliantly cutting inside Reckord from the left before seeing his initial shot saved. Langstaff kept his composure brilliantly to control the loose ball under close attention from two defenders and, instead of slipping the ball to Jones, he surprised the keeper with another near post, left-footed finish to claim the match ball.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Rawlinson, Bajrami; Chicksen, Nemane (Vincent 86'); Palmer, O'Brien (Bostock 81'), Rodrigues, Austin (Jones 69'); Langstaff

SUBS: Baldwin, Francis

ATTENDANCE: 3,020 (479)

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