Yeovil Town made a strong start to the 2016/17 season with a 2 – 0 win over Notts County. Kevin Dawson and Otis Khan got the goals in a dominant first half, while Matty Dolan struck the post with a free kick in the second.
There were some minor grumbles from Magpies fans for the first goal after Dawson’s aerial challenge with goalkeeper Adam Collin, but in truth County have no-one to blame but themselves for the loss. Despite Jonathan Forte looking a handful at times, the visitors were mostly impotent.
The Glovers’ key player was midfielder and goalscorer Khan, who was able to take players on and beat them with ease on a number of occasions. However, every member of the team deserves praise after a committed showing that looked full of quality.
The result sees Yeovil placed fourth in the league, although they did sit top during most of the first half. While it’s important not to get carried away at this extremely early stage in the campaign, it’s certainly a statement of intent from Darren Way’s men.
Artur Krysiak 8 – There were a few minor fumbles from our Polish keeper early in the game, but he quickly settled and put in a calm and collected performance.
Liam Shephard 8 – The Swansea loanee looked solid and assured when facing up with County’s wingers. It would now be nice to see him push forward more often.
Nathan Smith 10 (substituted for Darren Ward on 71 minutes) – It’s clear that Smithy’s strongest position is now in the centre of defence, and you can tell he has grown in confidence in the role over pre-season. Hopefully the knock he sustained in the second half isn’t too serious.
Alex Lacey 8 – While he still looks slightly inexperienced – Forte did look like he had the ability to run the centre back ragged at times – he still looked solid and good in the air.
Ryan Dickson 8 – The 29-year-old full back looks like he now has the experience to be able to pull the strings for the Glovers in attack. He also works well when defending against oncoming wingers and offering cover for Smithy.
Matty Dolan 9 – While the midfielder tended to struggle to keep up with the pace of games last season, he looked much more alert against County. He was also incredibly unlucky to see his well-struck free kick hit the post.
Kevin Dawson 9 (substituted for Matt Butcher after 84 minutes) – Even though he is more suited to running down the wing (for me), Dawson looked at home in the middle of the park and his battling style of play worked well in central midfield.
Alex Lawless 7 – The ex-Luton Town midfielder came highly rated from his former supporters and, although he didn’t make a huge impact on the game, there were some signs that there’s more to come from the 31-year-old.
Tom Eaves 6 – He didn’t seem to win as much in the air as he should have done, and he failed to even get off the ground when going up for some headers. Although Town’s lofty striker was top scorer in pre-season, he’ll have to do more than he did today to impress me.
However, some have disagreed with my assessment!
Otis Khan 10 (MOTM) (substituted for Tahvon Campbell after 79 minutes) – Already addressed above, this was a hugely impressive debut for Khan. It’s nice to see a Yeovil player who isn’t afraid to take men on for the first time in quite a while. One to watch for this season.
Ryan Hedges 8 – Although it was quiet performance from the Swansea loanee, it was a decent debut nonetheless.
Darren Ward 7 – There were a couple of times where it seemed as if the 37-year-old got caught out by the pace of the County strikers, something which could be problematic over the season. However, with all his experience, he still made sure that Yeovil’s defence stayed resolute.
Tahvon Campbell 7 – Previously playing as a winger in his last loan spell, the West Brom youngster looked impressive up front. He could be useful as a possible impact sub this campaign.
Matt Butcher 7 – Signed yesterday on loan from AFC Bournemouth, Matt Butcher (that’s Matt, not Pat!) rounded off a series of impressive debuts for Yeovil.