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Match Reports

Yeovil 1-2 Notts

We make it through with nine men!

8 February 2020

We recorded a remarkable win with nine men to secure our passage to the quarter-finals of the Buildbase FA Trophy at Yeovil Town's expense.

A hugely eventful afternoon at Huish Park began with Connell Rawlinson opening the scoring before Wes Thomas was dismissed for raising his hands to an opponent shortly before half-time.

Kyle Wootton came off the bench to double our lead after the break before Courtney Duffus pulled one back at the end of a move which saw Damien McCrory sustain an injury which left us with nine men on the field for the closing exchanges.

But for all their pressure our hosts failed to break us down as we hung on for a brilliant win.

Neal Ardley made six changes to the side that breezed past Chesterfield last weekend, as new signing Joe McDonnell took his place between the sticks.

McCrory returned from injury to take his place at left back, with former Yeovil man Alex Lacey lining up alongside Rawlinson in the heart of defence.

Dion Kelly Evans returnded to his more familiar right-back slot, playing behind Sam Osborne, while Sean Shields was handed a start down the left.

Tom Crawford partnered skipper Jim O'Brien in central midfield, with Kristian Dennis and Thomas up top.

A lively first half began with two early tests for McDonnell, who caught a powerful Chris Dagnell header and pushed away Charlie Lee’s long shot inside the opening four minutes.

But it was his opposite number, our former trialist Liam O’Brien, who was picking the ball out of his net on eight minutes.

Dennis must have thought he’d scored when he sent a looping effort towards the far top corner, only for a defender to nod the ball off the line. The danger was far from over, though, as Rawlinson met the loose ball with a header firm enough to cross the line despite the best efforts of a Town man.

Within a minute of the restart it should have been 1-1 when James Smith’s cross-goal header presented Marc Richards with a simple-looking finish at the back stick. Somehow the winger put the ball past the post and we breathed a sigh of relief.

We almost made our hosts pay for their missed opportunity when Osborne linked up brilliantly with Dennis to worm his way into a one-on-one situation with Liam O’Brien. The keeper stood firm and managed to block the young winger’s effort at close quarters.

Thomas’ flicked header was easily saved by Liam O’Brien moments before former Magpie Carl Dickinson sent a free kick narrowly over the bar after Jim O’Brien had picked up a booking for a trip on Lee on the edge of the area.

The chances were showing no sign of drying up as, on 21 minutes, a cross from the right dropped behind Rawlinson and on to the foot of Caleb Richards, who side-footed his volley over from six yards out.

Lee fired a speculative half-volley over the bar and Dagnall bobbled an effort wide on the turn as our hosts continued their pursuit of an equaliser.

And they squandered a golden opportunity to get it on 25 minutes when Smith put too much fizz on his ball across the box, meaning Richards couldn’t reach it in time to turn it into an empty net from close range.

An exhausting first half entered a brief lull before a Lee booking for a late challenge on McCrory set the tone for a feisty last 10 minutes of the opening period.

Luke Wilkinson, who had been booked for arguing with the referee earlier in the half, tussled for the ball with Thomas near the dugouts. The latter appeared to raise his hands and Wilkinson went down, prompting the referee to brandish a straight red card.

Dennis was the next Notts man to have his name taken after a push on Smith, while Kelly-Evans and Dickinson both received a talking to after clashing near the corner flag in the dying embers of the half.

Ardley saw fit to change things at the break, replacing Shields with Richard Brindley and switching to a back five with McCrory in the middle of defence.

And there was very little to report until shortly after the hour mark, when substitute Myles Hippolyte fired two efforts wide from outside the area.

A double substitution followed as Ardley sent on Mitch Rose and Wootton for Osborne and Dennis.

And that proved to be a masterstroke as, four minutes following his introduction, Wootton doubled our lead with a shot which crashed off the underneath of the crossbar and over the line after Rawlinson had done brilliantly to keep our attack alive following a corner.

We then had penalty appeals waved away after Wootton held the ball up well on halfway before playing a teasing pass behind Yeovil's defence for Crawford to run on to. The midfielder appeared to have been bundled over by a defender as they reached the ball inside the box but the referee was unmoved.

It looked like we were on course for victory despite being down to 10 but Yeovil substitute Courtney Duffus had other ideas.

Just as Wootton had, the Glovers forward made an immediate impact by finding the net with an instinctive finish shortly after coming off the bench.

What's more, McCrory sustained an injury in the build-up to the goal and was unable to continue, leaving us down to nine men.

It was very much a backs-to-the-wall job now and McDonnell made a good save from Duffus at his near post moments before Wilkinson struck the crossbar.

Rhys Murphy, another sub, was the next man to have a go, chesting the ball down in the area and seeing his deflected effort go wide of McDonnell's post.

Six minutes were added on at the end of the match and the Glovers kept up their pressure with a succession of corners.

But they didn't have enough to breach our resilient defence as we moved to within two wins of Wembley.

As a result of the victory our upcoming home match against Aldershot on Sunday 1 March will need to be rearranged. Further details will be announced in due course.

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