A FORTIETH minute tap-in from Christophe Berra was enough to condemn Yeovil Town to their first defeat in six games as Ipswich Town ran out 1-0 winners at Huish Park on Tuesday night.
Kieffer Moore was unlucky to see his powerful injury time effort rebound off the inside of the post, but Yeovil lacked spark and rarely threatened the visiting goal. At the other end Marek Stech made several quality saves to keep the score down, twice denying striker Daryl Murphy when he looked certain to score.
However, in general it was a scrappy game, with both teams regularly going long, and it was a scrappy goal that won it.
Ruben Palazuelos’ unfortunate slice gifted the visitors a corner from which Luke Chambers knocked down Stephen Hunt’s delivery into the path of fellow centre back Christophe Berra who couldn’t miss from two yards out.
After the final whistle Yeovil boss Gary Johnson was under no illusions about the performance.
“We’ve had a good run but we were poor today. Now we’ve got to pick ourselves up for two big games at QPR and Wigan and try to win one of them.
“Every manager has these games where you’re not up to standard, it’s about how you play the next game, how you react.”
Ishmael Miller and James Hayter were injury doubts before the game, but both started in an unchanged starting line up from Saturday’s excellent win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Yeovil picked up where they left off from that performance as they dominated the first quarter of the match, with Manchester United youngster Tom Lawrence providing plenty of flair down the left wing.
It was Lawrence who had the first chance of the match, shooting narrowly wide after a well worked short corner early on. He then played James Hayter through on goal, but the striker could only direct his volley over the bar.
Gradually though Ipswich managed to disrupt Yeovil’s rhythm, conceding a series of fouls in the process, as the game descended into a disjointed, scrappy affair.
The visitors’ best period came just before half time as they forced a succession of corners, with Yeovil struggling to clear their lines effectively. Berra then took advantage of one of them bundling home Chambers’ flick on from Hunt’s delivery.
The second half saw a double change, as both Miller and Hayter made way for Kieffer Moore and Sam Hoskins, in an attempt to freshen things up.
But the second half failed to ignite as both teams traded mainly unsuccessful long balls, although Hunt threatened to start something as his rash, late tackle left Byron Webster in a heap of the pitch, and was perhaps a touch lucky to only see yellow.
As Yeovil pressed forward in search of an equaliser, Ipswich started to exploit the spaces on the counter-attack. First Murphy was denied by a smart double save by Stech from point blank range, before Cole Skuse dribbled past a couple of defenders into the box, only to see Stech touch his curling effort round the post.
The drama was saved for stoppage time.
A long ball from Jamie McAllister found Shane Duffy who chested into the path of Moore just inside the box. His turn and superb rising shot left the visiting ‘keeper Dean Gerken with no chance, but the home fans celebrations were cut short as they saw the ball thunder off the inside of the post and travel agonisingly along the face of the goal.
Ipswich then immediately broke forward with pace, and Murphy managed to shake off a defender to run clean through on goal. He looked odds on to score and his powerful, low shot was heading for the bottom corner before Stech got down to superbly tip wide.