Why Darren Way’s Yeovil Town can challenge after Rodney Parade goal-festby Gabriel Sutton / 17 September 2018, 10:24Tweet
Yeovil Town won 6-0 at Newport County on Saturday; and their opponents are still in the top three, such is the incredible nature of the result.
After such a strong statement of intent for Darren Way’s side, we ask: just what has gone right for them?
The last half a decade at Huish Park has not been fun.
Their 2013-14 season in the Championship was an adventure in some ways, but it kick-started back-to-back 24th-placed finishes, which in turn gave way to three-years of stagnation in League Two.
19th, 20th and 19th-placed finishes only increased the feeling that widespread changes were needed, from chairman John Fry to management team Darren Way and Terry Skiverton to the playing squad, to get the club back on an upward curve.
Nobody could have expected, therefore, the incredible start they have had to the 2018-19 campaign.
They were slightly unlucky to take one point from their first two, which saw untimely dismissals for Tom James and Jordan Green prove pivotal in a 1-0 loss at Bury, before a competitive display and 2-2 draw with big-spending Mansfield.
After that came two big games that might be looked upon as defining.
The first was a live TV EFL Cup clash with Aston Villa, in which they dominated a team two divisions above yet lost 1-0, denied a goal only by Diallang Jiayesemi’s dubiously disallowed strike and a penalty miss from Alex Fisher.
The latter didn’t let that moment affect him though, because three days later he bagged a hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Notts County - the first sign Way’s men truly meant business - and confidence grew from there.
The most impressive thing about the Somerset outfit is their adaptability.
They can pose a physical threat; they look for colossal centre-back Omar Sowunmi at long throws and left-back Carl Dickinson’s powerful set pieces. Sowunmi and Dickinson, plus fellow defenders Bevis Mugabi, Gary Warren and Carl Dickinson, are strong and aggressive, while ball-winner Sessi D’Almeida covers wide areas with tireless tenacity; collectively, they have not conceded in any of their last five league games.
Equally though, they now have an intelligence about their game. Goalkeeper Nathan Baxter, on loan from Chelsea, is comfortable with his feet, so a direct ball to big yet two-footed wide man Yoann Arquin is an option rather than a necessity.
Middlesbrough loanee Alex Pattison is a wonderful technician in midfield and in Diallang Jiayesemi and Fisher, they have two mobile, intelligent forwards.
Whilst previous Glovers sides would have been wrapping the impressive duo in cotton wool, Way now has options.
He has been given the backing to loan in Olufela Olomola – who enjoyed a successful stint in the first half of last season – and Omari Patrick, from Bradford, who scored the winner in the 1-0 win at Grimsby yet didn’t even make an appearance the following game.
Equally, composed centre-back Shaun Donnellan showed promise on loan at the end of last season yet now, he will find it hard to get ahead of Sowunmi and Warren in the pecking order.
Yeovil have looked one of the most complete sides in League Two thus far and while it’s important to stress that we are still in mid-September, that 6-0 win at Newport suggests a side ready to mount a serious challenge.