Yeovil Manager Gary Johnson praised his players for their effort after his side’s narrow 2-0 loss to Manchester United.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful and say it’s an opportunity missed but it’s bittersweet because I was so proud of the boys for the effort that they put in.” Johnson said to the Yeovil Town Youtube channel.
It seems hard to argue with the Glovers boss as, in front of a sell-out Huish Park crowd and a real cup atmosphere, Yeovil seemed to respond with a high intensity pressing strategy and tough tackling that didn’t give the Manchester United players any time on the ball.
Although a game of few chances, the home side more than matched their illustrious opponents, with United Manager Louis Van Gaal naming a strong starting line-up which included stars such as Wayne Rooney, David De Gea and Radamel Falcao.
Rooney was in the thick of the action straight away as he curled an effort off target before clearing off the line from a Stephen Arthurworrey header at the other end.
A bad clash of heads between Yeovil’s Kieffer Moore and opposition defender Paddy McNair saw both players require lengthy treatment before they were able to continue.
With the match goalless at half-time, Van Gaal made a double substitution as Juan Mata and Johnny Evans entered the fray.
Yeovil could and maybe should have taken the lead ten minutes after the restart; the ball found its way to striker Kieffer Moore via a deflected Foley cross. Moore seemed to get the ball stuck under his feet and could only form a weak shot at De Gea’s goal that was easily gathered.
The Glovers were made to pay for the miss just after the hour mark when the ball fell, somewhat kindly, to United’s Andre Herrera who hit a speculative volley that flew into the top corner. Jed Steer the Yeovil goalkeeper, who had had little to do in the Yeovil goal, was left helpless by what was later labelled a “fantastic goal and a little bit lucky” by Van Gaal.
The Glovers nearly equalised from a corner only for substitute Angel Di Maria to clear Joe Edwards diving goalbound header off the line. It would have been a fitting goal, not only because Yeovil’s heart and desire deserved as much, but also as Edwards is a boyhood Red Devils supporter.
Unfortunately, the home side’s high energy performance had taken its toll. With time running out and Gary Johnson’s side pushing forward for one last opportunity to snatch a replay, Di Maria broke Yeovil hearts.
A sublime ball by the largely oppressed Rooney put Di Maria through one-on-one and he calmly chipped over the onrushing Steer to see United through to the next round of the FA Cup.
It was a hard result on Yeovil. After the game, Manchester United Manager Louis Van Gaal was complimentary of the home side, paying them his “highest respects” and labelling the Glovers performance as “fantastic”.
When asked if his side could go on to win the FA Cup, Van Gaal replied: “maybe we can do that this year but it’s a long way to go”.
Opposition Manager Gary Johnson felt his side gave everything. However, he acknowledged “you have to have high energy when you’re playing a top team like Man U and it’s difficult to keep that up for 90 minutes”.