Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South & West: Yate Town 3 Shortwood United 1
YATE celebrated the New Year in style by extending their unbeaten run to seven games with a fine victory over in-form Shortwood United.
Scott Wilson scored on his Yate debut from the penalty spot on 19 minutes after signing from Cinderford but Shortwood were the better side in the first half and went into the break level when Tim Haddock's shot deflected in off Tom Warren.
A five minute spell early in the second half turned the game in Yate's favour as skipper Edd Vahid made a superb last ditch clearance off the line from Joe Tustain's effort before Matt Groves restored the home side's lead and substitute Ibu Sarr hit a spectacular third goal in the 89th minute to add gloss to the scoreline.
The win lifted the Bluebells up five places to 16th spot to ease their relegation fears and ended Shortwood's four game winning streak.
Wilson has caught the eye this season after scoring 13 goals for Cinderford and started up front with Mitchell Page as Yate boss Rob Cousins opted for 4-4-2 instead of his preferred 4-3-3 system.
Shortwood started brightly but were unable to turn their pressure into any meaningful attempts on goal before Yate took the lead. Page flicked on Jake Cox's long ball forward and Wilson was pulled back by Mark Pritchett in the box as he looked to go past two defenders, leaving referee Kevin Morris with no option but to point to the spot. Wilson stepped up with a swagger and sent goalkeeper Tom King the wrong way to open his account for Yate.
However, Shortwood were level eight minutes later. After Tustain's effort was blocked the ball fell to Tim Haddock, whose shot from 15 yards hit Tom Warren and wrong-footed goalkeeper Josh Dempsey to creep into the bottom corner.
Shortwood were back in the ascendancy and Ross Langworthy volleyed over after Haddock flicked on John Cant's long free kick and Haddock went close himself with a well-struck attempt that flew just over.
Within two minutes of the second half Warren's short back-pass was intercepted by Tustain, who took the ball around Dempsey and looked certain to score, only for Vahid to get back and make a great clearance off the line.
That proved crucial as Yate went ahead five minutes later. Cox did brilliantly to get the ball into the box from the left but Page was unable to turn the ball goalwards. Shortwood were unhappy at the way Danny Wring slid in to win the loose ball off James Coates and the defence stood still, allowing Groves to tuck the ball into the net.
More good work from Cox on the byline saw him stand up a beautiful cross which was met by a thumping header from Page rushing in, but King got an outstretched hand to the ball to tip it superbly around the post.
Shortwood turned up the pressure and with ten minutes left Cant's shot from the edge of the box was spilt by Dempsey before Warren cleared and almost immediately afterwards Tustain turned Vahid in the box but his shot was blocked by Dempsey.
However, Yate put the game beyond doubt when they were awarded a free kick 25 yards out and Groves teed the ball off for Sarr to rifle into the bottom corner.
Yate Town: Dempsey, Warren, Cox (Thomas, 82), Purnell, Seery, Bryant, Groves, Vahid, Page (Meaker, 82), Wilson, Wring (Sarr, 84). Subs not used: Hiroli, Barnes.
Shortwood United: King, Brown (Bevan, 84), Cant, Pritchett, Thomas, Coates, Haddock, Parrott, Tustain, Langworthy (Axton, 65), Bennett. Subs not used: Bohane, Hoskins.
Ref: Kevin Morris.
Star man: Jake Cox (Yate), John Cant (Shortwood).