Tranmere Rovers 3, Yeovil Town 2: Poor defending sees Glovers throw away lead
Dreadful defending saw ten-man Yeovil Town throw away a two-goal lead and the chance to become the first team to beat table-topping Tranmere Rovers.
Having conceded just twice all season at Prenton Park, the npower League One leaders fell behind to Paddy Madden and Sam Foley.
However, Rovers hit back on the stroke of half time before drawing level after the break, going on to take all three points following Joe Edwards' dismissal that meant the Glovers failed to end a game with their full quota of players for the fourth time this campaign.
Assistant manager Terry Skiverton said: "For the first 40 minutes today we were outstanding and we could have had one or two more goals in that period.
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"But you can see why they are top of the league and the timing of their goal right on half time knocked the stuffing out of us.
"The positives are that our start was excellent, it was just that 15-20 minute spell in the second half that we didn't stand up to a good Tranmere team."
Johnson kept faith in the side that beat Colchester United seven days earlier but could only name five substitutes - including available-again Byron Webster - with Luke Ayling (hip) and Nathan Ralph (knee) injured.
Rovers' free scoring hit man Jake Cassidy could have given his team the lead inside the opening minute.
Adam McGurk, in for the injured Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro burst down the left, pulling the ball back for the Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee who was denied by Marek Stech's feet.
Yeovil's response was instant, Foley tackled and unable to get a shot off alongside Madden, with the ball rolling harmlessly loose in the Tranmere area.
Eight minutes in the Glovers went one better, Madden and Foley again linking. The Carlisle United loanee squared for Foley to break into the box, the midfielder returning the pass and Madden cooly finishing as the offside flag stayed down.
Two minutes later McGurk spurned a fine chance to level. Former Glover Abdulai Bell-Baggie found space to cross to the far post and McGurk could not bundle in from close range.
Foley doubled the advantage on 30 minutes. A Yeovil cross was nodded on by a Tranmere man, Madden scuffed his shot and Foley took a touch before tucking home.
With 33 minutes on the clock James Wallace almost punished the visitors for not clearing their lines, drilling the ball narrowly wide from 25 yards.
But the skipper gave Tranmere hope on the stroke of half time. After Foley had given away a soft wide free kick, McGurk's in-swinging delivery picked out Wallace at the far post who headed home unopposed.
Seconds later McGurk's open play delivery from the opposite flank fizzed across the Yeovil goal, Liam Palmer inexplicably unable to poke in.
Yeovil's bright start to the second half was ended by McGurk on 51 minutes. Moments after his cross was sent goalwards by Richard Hinds' slide but superbly saved by Stech, the lively attacker skipped inside Edwards and danced into the visitors' area.
His shot was parried by Stech but only into the path of Cassidy who easily finished first time.
On 61 minutes Tranmere neatly moved the ball across the park after Korey Smith was dispossessed, Stech palming away from Bakayogo.
The game swung further in Tranmere's favour on 73 minutes when Edwards was sent off for his second yellow card, both bookings for clumsy, late challenges on Joe Thompson and Bakayogo respectively.
Madden was handed a golden chance to score his fourth in two games with 15 minutes left, but found Ben Gibson and Fon Williams blocking his path.
The miss was brought into perspective when Tranmere took the lead on 79 minutes. Stech had already got Webster off the hook just seconds after his introduction, saving from Bakayogo, but was helpless as his defence failed to pick up the unmarked Danny Holmes at the subsequent corner.
The full back was allowed the freedom of Prenton Park following at a simple set-piece, hitting the net after his first shot was blocked.
Tranmere Rovers (4-4-2) - Fon Williams; Holmes, Taylor, Gibson, Bakayogo; Bell-Baggie, Wallace, Palmer, Thompson (Stockton, 46); Cassidy, McGurk (Black, 86). Unused subs: Harrison, Kirby, Power, Kay, Mooney.
Goals: Wallace 45, Cassidy 51, Holmes 79.
Bookings: Wallace (ungentlemanly conduct), Holmes (unsporting conduct).
Yeovil Town (4-4-2) - Stech; Edwards, Hinds, Burn, McAllister; Marsh-Brown, Smith, Upson, Foley (Webster, 75); Madden, Hayter (Williams, 75). Unused subs: Blizzard, Reid, Stewart.
Goals: Madden 8, Foley 30.
Bookings: Burn (foul), Smith (ungentlemanly conduct), Edwards (foul) x2.
Dismissal: Edwards (two bookable offences).
Ref: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire).