Yeovil Town restored their 13-point lead at the top of National League South as they retained their unbeaten home start with victory over Slough Town.
An entertaining first 45 minutes saw both sides go to toe-to-toe with the visitors rattling the crossbar, but two quick goals from Matt Worthington and Jordan Young put the Glovers in the driving seat.
The visitors did not give up and pulled one back with a fine finish from defender Dan Bayliss with 20 minutes remaining before Frank Nouble fired home from the penalty spot to wrap up the points.
Here’s how it went down under the lights at Huish Park.
The big question in the team news was who would fill in for the injured Michael Smith, who picked up a hamstring strain late in the 1-1 draw at St Albans City the previous weekend. The answer was captain Matt Worthington.
Cooper said in his pre-match interview that it was a choice between Worthington or Charlie Cooper, despite Will Dawes who has also played in that position on the bench along with Jay Foulston, who came on for Smith on Saturday.
The other team news saw midfielder Dylan Morgan handed his first start since his arrival from Taunton Town last month.
Morgan had a great opportunity after five minutes when he robbed Slough player-manager Scott Davies, skipped past two other visiting players, but he could not get enough power in it to really trouble Dan Lincoln in the Rebels’ goal.
Two minutes later, fluid move was started by Jake Wannell who found Jordan Young with a superb pass, he moved down the right, fed Worthington who found Frank Nouble, but the big striker could not quite get enough behind it. A beautiful move, almost perfect.
But, there were a few occasions when Slough showed they were not afraid to go forward and on 13 minutes they came closest to scoring. Matt Lench’s free-kick was met by a brilliant header from Temi Eweka whose effort came back off Joe Day’s crossbar. A close shave.
As gilt-edged chances go, they don’t get much better than Sam Pearson’s after 19 minutes. He seized on a loose pass, was clear through on goal, but showed a bit too much to Lincoln, who grabbed the ball at the forward’s feet.
Lincoln got the better of Pearson again four minutes later as the former Bristol City youngster got in the right place and this time tried to prod his effort past the keeper. But again the gloveman came out on top.
Slough were not giving up though and once again broke forward in numbers and found Josh Jackman on the edge of the box. His effort dipped just past the post with Day scrambling to get across. It is clear to see why Slough have picked up some good results in recent weeks, beating Maidstone United and picking up a point against Worthing already this month.
It was Yeovil’s chance to have a shot on goal next. Young broke forward down the right side, got to the edge of the box but lashed his effort in to the side netting.
To Slough’s credit, they managed to nullify the Yeovil attack frustrating any attempts to play forward. They were staying in their shape and doing what they need to do.
There were a few half-chances with the ball pinging around inside the Slough box before the half-time interval, but there was nothing to force Lincoln in to further action.
A job well done from the visitors who were not giving their hosts the licence to play the ball forward.
Half time: Yeovil Town 0 Slough Town 0
The first action of the second half saw Eweka and Nouble clash heads just in front of the dug-outs. Fortunately the defender was okay, but was off the pitch to see Yeovil take the lead just two minutes in to half.
A great ball in to the box from Charlie Cooper found Matt WORTHINGTON arriving in the Michael Smith position on the right side of the area to expertly turn the ball home.
And on 54 minutes it was 2-0. Jordan YOUNG picked the ball on the right, jinked in to the area and surprised everyone – including Lincoln – by tucking a tidy finish in to the bottom corner.
But the visitors almost pulled one back when substitute Munashe Sundrie pulled a ball across to the near post and Nathan Minash was not quite in the right position to take advantage of Day who was struggling to get across
A minute later, Slough player-manager – and former Yeovil loanee – Davies went in to the book for a foul on Cooper. Then less than 60 seconds later Pearson went down off the ball after a tussle with Emeke, but the young Welshman reacted pushing the defender. Referee Neil Pratt (by name….) saw the later offence and booked Pearson.
On 66 minutes, Dylan Morgan’s first start came to an end and he was replaced by striker Olly Thomas, signed on loan from Bristol City the day before. Pearson moved in to the wide left position vacated by Morgan with Thomas going up front alongside Nouble.
Despite their 2-0 deficit, Sough were still not giving up and pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining. Goddard played a great ball out to centre-half Dan BAYLISS who showed a finish belying his position to rocket an effort past Day. A great finish, but questions about the defending from Yeovil.
There was a hairy moment seconds later when a ball in to the box from the left and Minhas could not quite find his feet and Day gratefully dropped on the ball.
With the visitors looking an increasing threat, Jay Foulston replaced Pearson with 15 minutes to go as Mark Cooper looked to solidify his side. The reorganisation saw Foulston go to the left of a back three with Whittle and Worthington pushed forward in to wing-back positions.
Then with ten minutes to go, a ball through from Thomas young Young who got the wrong side of his defender who was felled inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Frank NOUBLE grabbed the ball and sent Lincoln the wrong way to make it 3-1.
A quick break away saw Young, Thomas and Nouble away and Young slid the ball to his left to the on-rushing Thomas who hammered in a shot at an angle which Lincoln pushed away.
Either side of that opportunity there was a huge goalmouth scramble where Nouble before Lench free-kick was headed just wide.
We definitely did not have it all our own way in the first half, but those two early goals from Worthington and Young were telling. Another three points and another step forward.
Full time: Yeovil Town 3 Slough Town 1
Venue: Huish Park
Date: Tuesday 30th January – 7.45pm
Competition: National League South
Pitch: Holding up well having enjoyed its rest in recent weeks
Conditions: A cold night
Attendance: 2902 (70 away fans)
Scorers: Matt Worthington 47 (1-0), Jordan Young 54 (2-0), Dan Bayliss 70 (1-2), Frank Nouble pen 82 (3-1)
Yeovil Town: Sam Pearson 60, Charlie Cooper 86
Slough Town: Scott Davies 59, Matt Lench 75
Referee: Neil Pratt
Yeovil Town (4-5-1)
Substitutes: Olly Thomas (for Dylan Morgan, 66), Jay Foulston (for Sam Pearson, 75), Josh Owers (for Charlie Cooper, 90+2), Jamie Sendles-White (not used), Will Dawes (not used).
Slough Town: Dan Lincoln, Josh Jackman, Dan Bayliss, Jeanmal Prosper, Matt Lench, Nathan Minhas, Johnny Goddard, Scott Davies, Temi Eweka, Tyrese Dyce (for Munashe Sundrie, 33), David Ogbonna (for Eze Ebuzoeme, 86). Substitutes (not used): Dandy, Idiakhoa, Hamiga.