There’s plenty of things which have gone wrong for Yeovil Town this season, but defensive frailties and injuries to key players would be in most supporters’ top two on-the-field issues.
In less than 30 first half minutes, both issues were cruelly exposed by a rampant Wrexham side who cruised to a 3-0 lead helped in no small part by gift-wrapped defending from the visitors.
Youth team graduate midfielder Toby Stephens made his debut when he came on for the final 10 minutes, and that really was the only highlight for Yeovil.
It says a lot that despite conceding three, goalkeeper Adam Smith was the visitors’ man of the match and without a number of high quality, reaction saves the score could have been much, much worse.
Here’s how I saw it…..
There was one change to the Glovers’ starting line-up with Matt Worthington returning from injury to replace Jimmy Smith who dropped out with a knock. Top-scorer Rhys Murphy returned on the bench in place of Alex Bradley.
Captain Carl Dickinson, who was making his 100th appearance for the club, started in the middle of defence alongside Albi Skendi, with Michael Kelly at left back and Billy Sass-Davies on the right. Add that central defensive partnership to the number made by boss Darren Sarll this season.
The home side took the lead in all too familiar fashion when Wrexham captain Shaun Pearson was given a free header to nod home a corner after just nine minutes, with Sarll screaming to make a substitution.
The change was made with Worthington replaced by Max Hunt presumably due to injury, but the shaky defending continued with Omotayo having a couple of chances against another central defensive pairing in Hunt and Dickinson.
On 17 minutes, Tom Knowles had the visitors’ first chance with a free-kick well saved by Rob Lainton.
But, it was another piece of calamitous defending that gifted Wrexham a 2-0 lead. Joint top-scorer Luke Young was found in acres of space inside the box and his goal-bound shot was turned in to his own net by Hunt.
Only a fine stop from goalkeeper Adam Smith stopped it from being 3-0 with the Yeovil defensive all at sea (again) when Young burst forward and squared it to Dior Angus whose shot was saved before Young blazed the rebound over.
Just before this chance, a tactical reshuffle saw Sarll switch to three at the back before reshuffling back to four after the plan’s shortcomings were very swiftly exposed.
Joe Quigley shot wide from distance soon after and to add injury to insult Skendi went off with what looked like a rib injury to be replaced by Emmanuel Sonupe.
Jordan Davies, who Tim Edwards from Wrexham fanzine Fearless in Devotion spoke to us about on Thursday’s Gloverscast, got the third with a free-kick from fully 25 yards out which bent round the wall and past Smith. Tim told us this lad was a future Wales international player and, with a technique like that, it’s hard to argue.
Angus and Davies could have added to the scoreline before the home side mercifully took their foot off the gas and Yeovil were able to see out the half.
That said, defender Theo Vassell was denied by another fine stop from Smith when he was (surprise, surprise) unmarked at the back post from a corner.
In reality, Wrexham would have felt disappointed to only be 3-0 ahead at the break. Heaven only knows how Sarll started that half-time team talk.
Half time: Wrexham 3 Yeovil Town 0
‘Siri… Define understatement’. https://t.co/e613bYIyib
— Mike Hudson (@MikeH88) May 8, 2021
Presumably with the manager’s words ringing in their ears, Yeovil did start the second half brighter with Neufville firing wide three minutes after the restart with Quigley and Reuben Reid both unable to get a touch to turn the ball home.
Shortly after, Omotayo was denied by a mixture of good luck and good goalkeeping from Smith who had raced to the edge of his box, and Cameron Green fired the loose ball wide.
Neufville was at the heart of some improved play for the Glovers for the first 15 minutes of the half, however, Lainton could easily have set up a deck chair such as the bluntness of the visitors’ attack. Quigley ran hard with little impact and on the few occasions the ball found Reid, he did nothing with it.
You always felt this was a bit like a cat playing with a cornered mouse – with Wrexham being the cat, of course – and in the 70th minute, Smith made another point blank stop to deny Pearson’s header from a corner.
Highlights were few and far between for Yeovil, but one was definitely the appearance of young midfielder Toby Stephens who replaced Knowles in the 80th minute.
Toby Stephens makes debut. Well done young man.
— Huish Hugh (@HuishHugh) May 8, 2021
He has been turning out for the Glovers’ under-18s side this season having come up through the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust set-up.
Like many of his team-mates, Stephens struggled to see much of the ball in his time on the pitch as Wrexham strolled the game to a close.
With the last kick of the game, Omotayo found space on the edge of the box and hit it high wide and not very handsome – we were spared us that indignity, at least.
Can the season just be over now? Please.
Full time: Wrexham 3 Yeovil Town 0
WREXHAM: Lainton, Vassell, Pearson, Harris (for Rutherford, 39), Green, Kelleher, Davies (for Jarvis, 81), Young, Hall-Johnson, Omotayo, Angus (for Ponticelliat, 74)
Subs not used: Dibble, French,
YEOVIL TOWN: Smith, Dickinson, Sass-Davies, Skendi (for Sonupe, 28), Kelly, Worthington (for Hunt, 10), Knowles (for Stephens, 80), Neufville, Dagnall, Reid, Quigley.
Subs not used: Evans, Murphy.
Bookings: Dagnall, Knowles.