So here’s something new. Every week, I plan to watch a football and give it a good ol’ review, complete with player analysis, tactical analysis and an overall opinion of the performance of both teams. Understandably, I’ve chosen the Yeovil match I attended today, but on other occasions I’ll watch matches on BT Sport when Yeovil aren’t at hope- it is, after all, rather difficult to review a squad that I haven’t watched.
Obviously, this review is going to be slightly different to the others I’ll do: I will only be reviewing the performance of the home team, and that is partly due to bias but also because, as a Yeovil fan, I can give a little insight into their performances this season and whether today’s showing was in keeping with that or not. I feel that the best way to review the match is first to give an insight into the match’s result- a 2-1 victory to Yeovil. A much needed three points in the quest of league survival. But as my previous article has already given an idea of the match, I won’t be doing that this time. Instead I’ll be leaping right into a player analysis. I will review every player that played in accordance with their performance in the match, out of ten, with a few lines about why I came to that conclusion. Those that played less than ten minutes will not be scored, as that time isn’t sufficient enough for a player to always make a big impact. That is, unless, they produce something magnificent. So without further do…
Artur Krysiak: Sometimes being a goalkeeper can make you a hero or a villain, and today, despite a few good saves, Krysiak ended up becoming the latter- but only slightly. He didn’t have much to do, which is a real compliment to the Yeovil defence, but he was alert when he had to be. He had a good, solid save in the first half to prevent a Crawley header, and a save he made in the second half was truly class- a Crawley defender’s header looked destined for the top corner but he athletically saved it to prevent a goal that would have been an equaliser at the time. His mistake for the Crawley goal- a humiliating mix up between him and his defenders- meant that he was caught off his line and easily lobbed, which was a rare and unexpected failure from a goalkeeper who has been nothing but consistent. He will unlikely make such a mistake again, so I think I can probably find it in my big, big heart to forgive him. He has done enough brilliant things this season as it is, and it turned out that the mistake wouldn’t be a costly one. 7/10
Connor Roberts: The Swansea loanee has been a consistent presence at the back, and he continued that today. He didn’t do anything spectacular, but he made a few key tackles and some good blocks which are bread and butter for a player of his calibre. Normally his crosses are a real threat to defending teams but he didn’t provide as many today, instead choosing to move the ball to the wingers or wide players. He does the simple things well, which is what is to be expected of a good defender, and his consistency is going to help the club exponentially. After all, regularly effective performances are going to be essential in guaranteeing Yeovil’s league status. 7/10
Jakob Sokolik: Sokolik always puts 100% into every match, although that doesn’t always mean that his enthusiasm matches up to his skill level. Today, though, he was solid- he was competent in the air and he made some big tackles. However, most noteworthy were some of his bombastic runs from out of defence, which nearly always pulled an opponent player out of position and helped provide the midfield with another attacking outlet. His presence at set pieces cannot be denied, either defensively or offensively. He wasn’t as dominating as he usually is, and it is clear that he is missing the company of his influential partner, Darren Ward, but he barely put a foot wrong all afternoon. That is going to go a long way towards sealing up Yeovil’s leaky defence. 7/10
Nathan Smith: Playing in the unfamiliar position of centre half, the left back did a pretty efficient job. His size and stature is not really in keeping with that of a central defender, but he took to the job admirably. He wasn’t afraid to challenge in the air, and his extra pace was quite welcome on the few occasions Crawley tried to catch us on the break. Although he seemed to be easily pushed off the ball at times, his positioning was largely good enough to mean he could make a challenge for the ball. Although in the first half, he had a bizarre moment where he tried to turn a Crawley player in his own box and lost the ball, surrendering possession to the attacker. Fortunately, the striker missed, but it could’ve been a pretty deadly mistake to make. For that one moment of madness he can be forgiven, although it might’ve been a little harder to let him off had his temporary insanity given Crawley an easy goal. 6/10
Ryan Dickson: The left back had a good game today, although he was a little slow to get started. It’s fair to say that his crossing is immense, and at one period in the game it seemed that his team mates were keen to constantly provide him with the ball as long as he kept delivering his fantastic balls into the box. His pace and trickery was at times too much for Crawley to handle, although his defensive duties were seemingly secondary to his defensive ones. Again, that is due to Yeovil’s good play as opposed to any fault on his behalf. A solid, consistent performance, but a real sign that he needs to become a more prominent part in Yeovil’s wing play. 6/10
Matt Dolan: Matty Dolan has earned the nickname ‘Fatty’ Dolan among some less patient fans because, at certain points this seasons, he has looked out of shape and at least a yard or two off the pace. However, today he did well, although he took a good ten minutes or so to really get into the game. He moved the ball about effectively, and he was always happy to recycle attacks, win the ball and to move it on. He didn’t make many attacking moves, which would have been welcome at time, but it was clear that his role was more of a holding one and that worked well today. He wasn’t outstanding but he didn’t make many mistakes, and that will probably do for now. He needs to try and keep this consistency though. 6/10
Ben Tozer: Considering he was signed with defensive duties in mind, Tozer has taken to the midfielder role rather well. His physical presence is a real asset for the team, and although he isn’t known for his pace, he strength cannot be denied and at times it looked like it would be impossible for anyone to knock him off the ball. He also seemed very good today at knowing when to draw fouls and a wonderfully timed run in the second half resulted in him winning Yeovil a free kick which led to a decent, albeit scuppered chance. However, he needs to work on his attacking side, in my opinion, especially in the 433 formation that is being used. His size, for one thing, would be a huge pain for defending teams if he made a late run into the box. 6/10
Liam Walsh: The on-loan Everton midfielder has settled well into the team, and I for one prefer him to our previous loan signing, Josh Sheehan (from Swansea). That’s because he has a bigger physical presence, despite his small stature, and that means he is less likely to get bullied off of the ball. He is very tough in the tackle and he will run all day for the team, but he has a wise head on his young shoulders and he isn’t afraid to shoot if he feels there’s a chance for a goal. He seemed to pop up all over the pitch today- on the wing, in the middle, and even at the back to aid in the defensive tasks of the team. He was later substituted for Kevin Dawson, with less than ten minutes of the match to go, but he was more than deserving of his man of the match award. He didn’t stop all afternoon and he caused real excitement every time he got on the ball. 8/10
Shaun Jeffers: Shaun didn’t have the best of games today, although he didn’t make many mistakes, either. It was more that, apart from a few excitable runs into the box, he didn’t seem to contribute to anything major, other than the odd pass here or there. Again, he does the basics well, but when you’re signed as a striker and tasked with being a creative outlet for your team, you have to offer more than he did today. He has caused this season, including a thundering header against Stevenage which left me in particular in awe, but he is far from the finished article. He needs to work on his creative vision. Also, twice in the first half he was gifted with an open net, and the first time he let the ball run through his legs and the second time he couldn’t get on the end of the ball. One can’t but feel that a natural poacher such as Ryan Bird would have gotten a foot in on one or both of those challenges. Not a bad performance, just a bit more needed. 5/10
Jack Compton: In the first ten minutes or so, Compton looked thoroughly dangerous. He was lively, he whipped in a few deadly crosses and he wasn’t afraid to make a surging run forward if he felt it would help the team’s attacking intent. However, as the game went on, he seemed to disappear, and he was subbed off in the second half for Ryan Bird, most likely due to the fact that his impact was diminishing in the game. He is a good player when he is utilised properly- in the role of an out and out winger- but today was not that day. Part of this was down the the style of Crawley’s play as much as it was down to his own shortcomings, however. 6/10
Francois Zoko: Much has been made of this striker, and I have to say that it is completely justified. Even when he isn’t scoring, Zoko is a player who can make something from nothing- for example, the header he had in the first half seemed to come from a half chance. He didn’t score it, but he forced a corner. Zoko is a master of holding the ball up, and he knows how to make runs, how to position himself and how to be unselfish. He is more than happy to lay the ball on to another player or delay a run if it will set up a team mate. He did that today, as he does in every game, and it gave Yeovil another outlet. They could play the ball up to him and he would hold it up if they wanted to kill some time, and in a match like today where the last few minutes were all about keeping the ball, that was a pretty important impact to have. 7/10
Ryan Bird: Minutes before he was brought on, I commented to my friends at the match that, as Yeovil hadn’t scored yet, this was the perfect match for Ryan Bird. He is a poacher striker if ever there was one, and although he may not be the most active of players, he knows exactly where to be to get a goal. In fact, in what was close to his first touch, he got the crucial touch on the ball to score the opening goal. He saw a chance, he noticed the defensive lapse, and he made a run and finished just inches ahead of the defended to slot it home. Later on, when Yeovil were trying to run down the clock, he was at the back helping defend, and he never stopped challenging. He is paid to score goals, and he did that almost instantly. That alone is proof that he has a role to play as Yeovil player. He earns such a high rating just for the sheer, immediate impact he made. 8/10
Tahvon Campbell: This is what having a little bit of Premier League brings you. The West Brom loanee was a livewire when he came onto the pitch. He has pace, he has trickery, and he can beat a man with relative ease. Today, too, he also demonstrated that he knows how to shoot, when he ran to the edge of the box and opened up, smashing home a shot from 25 yards out that beat the ‘keeper and put Yeovil 2 goals ahead. Even after scoring, he still posed a threat, making runs and threading together passes. He is a real talent, and Darren Way should really do what he can to keep this player at least until the end of the season. 8/10
Kevin Dawson: As wonderful as it was to see our favourite Irishman take to the pitch almost a year after his last showing, it wasn’t a major one. He got less than ten minutes under his belt in a match where Yeovil were just as keen to run down the clock as they were to score again. For that reason, I feel that it isn’t fair to judge his performance- he is a fantastic player who will add a lot to the team when he is completely match fit, but he barely had enough time to make an impact in his game. N/A.
Overall, today’s match was exactly what us Yeovil fans needed. Not only did Yeovil win, but they played consistently well across 90 minutes, they showed they have a killer instinct when in front of goal, and they demonstrated a little bit of class now and again to create something great. Our somewhat makeshift defence looked solid, and it’ll look better still with Darren Ward back, and out midfield worked hard and linked attack and defence in the way that they should. If we play like that every game until the end of the season, then we have a real chance of staying up- although I acknowledge that it is a long way to go.
But we saw passion again today, and that’s all that a lot of fans ask. We want to see eleven men take to the field who have an urge to win the match. Hopefully, my next Yeovil review can be as positive as this one- because that’ll mean that things are most definitely on the ‘up’ for the Glovers!