Two teams devoid of confidence, desperately trying to dig themselves out of their respective ruts. Despite the game having such a crucial amount riding on it, for long periods it was bizarrely similar to a testimonial; perhaps because both teams simply couldn’t afford to lose. That being said, a few moments of quality shone through and shaped the outcome of the match.
Player ratings (out of 10):
Hodgkiss 7 Anderson 6 McGinty 7 Rowe-Turner 6
Lathrope 7 Young 7 Verma 8
Williams 5 Harrad 5 Sparkes 7
Subs: Reid 6 Gallifuoco 6 Keating 7
Man of the Match:
Aman Verma: A fantastic performance from Aman Verma has marginally edged it today – a dominating display. He spread the ball nicely and in what was a thankless task, stood strong in midfield and controlled the pace of the game excellently. Despite a bandaged laceration he didn’t dodge a single challenge.
Harrad was recalled to the starting eleven, which saw us adopt a 4-3-3 formation. To be honest win or not, it didn’t work for me. We were desperately narrow and as well as the midfield performed, the lack of pace coming from that department was alarming. Far too often the lack of personnel on the flanks restricted our forward movement.
90″ – Could there be any other? Southport were caught criminally short at the back as they went in search of the winner. The ball broke to Sparkes who powered forward with sheer determination; he selflessly palmed the ball right to Keating who finished decisively from a tight angle. Pandemonium broke out in the stands and on the field. I’ve never seen Nicholson celebrate like that.
Ruairi Keating. Not to say I told you so, but the two cameo appearances I’ve seen from young Ruairi impressed me greatly – he’s sharp, passionate and his movement off the ball is ahead of his years. That goal will do his confidence a world of good and he’s earned the chance to make a start now.
I have a little bit of a soft spot for Southport and I’m sad to see them down there, but on that showing, I unfortunately can’t see it changing. Their number 25 Louis Almond was one bright spark and looked dangerous throughout, drawing a few saves from Brendan. He was comfortable on the ball and difficult to dispossess.
Away Fans Perspective:
Haig Avenue (Mersey Rail Community Stadium…) is my local national league ground and one I’ve frequented a few times both with and without Torquay. It’s as standard a non-league ground as you’ll find; three terraces and one dated main stand, but it’s enjoyable none the less and the acoustics in the seated stand make for a great noise – as the Yellow Army will testify today. I always enjoy a drink or two in the town, I see it as an anomaly to Northern seaside towns in that it’s actually rather pleasant!