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Friday, February 04, 2011

Yeovil Town Preview

Maybe it was a fortunate three points on Tuesday but for sure Chris isn't complaining. Two clean sheets, six points and a three game unbeaten run now...

But after the changes in ownership, management and players its still hard to see exactly where we are. Are we improving from a bad run in December or has Sir Chris just been lucky? And its not helped by looking at the table, because after a winter of frost and disruption, the League One table is looking a bit of a shambles. Five teams - the Addicks, Carlisle, Orient, Notts County and the Daggers - have all played 25 games while the likes of Plymouth have played 4 more. And its all meant that the Addicks now have twenty-one games left
until the end of season and, as of Saturday, only have 91 days left to play them all. That's an average of one game every 4.3 days and with only 14 Saturdays left that means they'll be a midweek game every other week between now and the 7th May. Saying goodbye to all those cup competitions doesn't seem to have helped us and we can only help that we stay clear of major injuries between now and the end of the season.
All of which means that though we have slipped to 8th we have games in hand over all the 7 teams above us, with three games in hand over Bournemouth and MK Dons and two over Huddersfield and Oldham.

The Opposition

After 108 years in non-League football, Yeovil have only been in the Football League nine years and after two years spent in Tier Four this is now their sixth year in Tier Three with 5th place in 2006-07 their highest placing. Last season they finished 15th just 3 points away from the drop zone and this season didn't start too well either with only two wins in the first nine games which took the Glovers down into the relegation places. Worst was to follow with a disastrous run of 6 defeats in seven games in October and November, conceding 3 goals in 4 consecutive games including losing 2-3 at the Valley, all of which meant a second from bottom placing for six weeks and into the New Year.


Due to the weather, the Glovers only played one game in December, a 0-0 away draw at Colchester and they followed that up with another useful away point at Plymouth on New Years day. But those two games meant that they had failed to score for 42 days and were still in 23rd place. Something had to be done and during the January transfer window four new men joined the club - ex-Southampton midfielder Paul Wotton, 18 year old German midfielder on loan from QPR Max Ehmer, goalkeeper Richard Martin and ex-Exeter midfielder 37 year old Alex Russell.
And much to Terry Skiverton's relief, there was an immediate improvement. After the leaky defence of November, as witnessed at the Valley where they have been the only club to concede three, they continued the goalless draws with Colchester and Plymouth with a further three shut-outs against MK Dons (h), Brentford (h) and Swindon (a) and won all three games, 1-0, 2-0 and 1-0.
So after starting the year in 23rd spot with only 4 wins in 20 games and 5 points from safety, the Glovers, even after a disappointing 0-1 defeat to Rochdale at home on 22nd January, but with a 2-1 win over Brentford away last weekend and another 1-0 home win over Plymouth on Tuesday night, have now lifted themselves into 17th with 5 wins in their last 7 games

And perhaps more to the point, the Glovers now find themselves one of the Form Clubs of the moment with a record of 5 wins, 2 draws and only that one Rochdale defeat in their last 8 games. Seventeen points have been grabbed from those 8 games, 7 more than the Addicks have managed with only a couple of wins, and all with only 4 goals conceded, a complete turnover after leaky November with only 4 goals conceded.
So on to the good news. Only one team has suffered more home defeats than Yeovil's total of five this year and that's bottom of the table Walsall with eight and that helps to give the Glovers the 3rd worst home record. And the list of teams taking away all three points must give us hopes of continuing our good away record - Hartlepool, Exeter, Wednesday, Rochdale, and even Dagenham and Redbridge have all won at Huish Park this season.

Number 10 Dean Bowditch is the Glovers top goalscorer with 8 League goals and is just two behind his last seasons tally.

What's Their Secret?

The Glovers and the Addicks are both pretty useless when the opposition score first with Yeovil earning just 2 points from the 12 occasions when they have let in the first goal and the Addicks only a point better from the eight games where we have conceded first.
But we finish our games much the stronger because while the Addicks have scored no less than 10 times in the last 5 minutes plus added on time, the Glovers have done the opposite and conceded 8 times in the same 5 minutes.
Only our 6th game ever against the Glovers and so far we have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1 of the previous five. Four games have been at the Valley with only the single draw, a 1-1 affair last season, being at Huish Park. That was the game that saw Sam Sodje get his 13th red card of his career and we had to play over a hour with 10 men. Luckily, his brother Akpo, saved our blushes with a cracking 56th minute equaliser.

What Are They Saying?
Bradley after his move to the Addicks, "I failed a medical at Reading because they just didn't want to take a risk but Charlton are my local club, although I supported Arsenal, and I couldn't turn Charlton down. I feel good and my knee feels good. I think I'm going to need a few more games but I should be all right. "
And the Glovers man Terry Shiverton had this to say after Yeovils' 5th win in 8 over Plymouth on Tuesday, "A lot of teams were saying before Christmas that we had a soft underbelly and that were a good footballing side that could be turned over, but now they're having to come to Huish Park and work really, really hard."

The Team

Chris Powell made his second Charlton signing on Monday bringing in Federico Bessone on-loan from Leeds. He's a left-back, Argentinian, 27 years old and has played in the same team, Barca Reserves, as Leo Messi. He also knows Miguel Llera from their year together at La Liga side (in 2007-08 anyway ) Gimnastic before moving on to Swansea. He would appear to be a bit famous for his errors but I somehow can't see Chrissie Powell making a mistake with a left-back - a striker maybe but not a left-back and his first game on Tuesday showed just why Sir Chris had brought him in.

As for the second newcomer, only time will tell whether our taking on Bradley Wright-Phillips was a mistake or not. And Reading, who decided it was a risk not worth taking, may be watching his progress.

So we've never lost at Huish Park and can point to a four month unbeaten away run in the League. On the other hand the Glovers are enjoying themselves at the moment with 5 wins in the last 8 to earn 2nd place behind Bournemouth in the Form guide over the last 8 games. A draw looks likely but Chris needs to bear in mind that although our home form has now improved to 9th best, we have slipped to 5th best away team although we have outscored everyone with our 26 away goals. Southampton have now won 6 away from home while the leaders Brighton are on 5. The Addicks have done well at Brighton, Colchester and Wednesday recently but are still stuck on 4 away victories, the last one being at Peterborough in the middle of November. We need to start winning again.
But three wins on the trot in your new job may be asking a bit much against a team in form, a 1-1 draw then unless we can take advantage of their tired legs in the last 5 minutes to snatch a winner.

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