Jonny Jones – @jonny_jones
“Asa is a calming presence, has consistently good distribution and isn’t afraid to put himself about”
Jonny takes his turn on the Player Ratings podium and debates March’s performances from the Gulls, whilst also revealing our eighth ‘TT Player of the Month’ for 18-19:
No. Name and March TT Rating
TT PLAYER OF THE MONTH
1) Asa Hall – 7.9
It’s often been said this season that Asa’s work goes unnoticed, but that wasn’t the case in March. As demonstrated in a man of the match performance in Saturday’s huge win at home to Wealdstone, the Englishman is a calming presence, has consistently good distribution and isn’t afraid to put himself about.
March saw United return from Billericay and Concord Rangers with maximum points, both games that required a combative presence in midfield, and Asa was a key performer in both. Gary Johnson has frequently called for this team to “game manage” and Hall is definitely a man who helps to steady the ship in periods of games when we need to weather a storm. The stand-out performer across five games in March, Asa has shown us just why Gary Johnson trusts him with the captain’s armband.
Man of the Match – Wealdstone
2) Jamie Sendles-White – 7.7
What a turnaround for the JSW. Perhaps not 100% fit in his early days at the club, a few eyebrows had been raised (me included) at his performances at the back, at East Thurrock and Welling in particular.
Then came Dartford’s visit to Plainmoor on the 16th March. A turning point in his season, he helped the Gulls to a 2-0 with ten men and has put in solid performances in each game since. I was particularly impressed at Concord Rangers, where he looked very assured on his chance to shine with Niate suspended. That MacDonald save aside, we didn’t look like conceding that day, no mean feat considering Concord’s impressive home record.
3) Ben Wynter – 7.6
A whisker behind Sendles-White, Ben Wynter has been somewhat of a revelation at right-back since Gary Johnson’s arrival at TQ1. He has been a consistently high performer for a while now, looking really solid defensively and is getting forward to greater effect. I’d like to see him bomb on past the right-side midfielder at every opportunity, he’s got the ability to get forward, we want to see it more!
Man of the Match – Concord Rangers
4) Jamie Reid – 7.6
What can you say about Reidy that’s not been said already? 29 goals for the season and counting, he continues to tear defences apart across the division. What I’ve been so impressed with is his hold-up play; at times it’s like he’s got a magnet on his boots. His confidence in front of goal has obviously flourished this season. At Billericay for example, as soon as he checked back onto his right foot there was only ever one outcome. A joy to watch.
One thing though, sticking away that penalty on the weekend would have saved us all from 15 minutes of nerve-shredding! Was it a poor penalty or a good save? For me, Reidy hit it well enough, but if it’s not in the corner it’s saveable… I’ll let him off on this occasion, but in my book, not a great penno.
Man of the Match – Dartford
5) Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala – 7.4
Undoubtedly my favourite player this season. Kalala is probably the most naturally gifted player I’ve seen in a Torquay shirt since Eunan O’Kane. Bold claim? Who was the last player that can make things happen out of nothing as often as this man! A game-changer at Billericay when he came on. Dartford couldn’t live with him. Quiet by his standards at Concord, but electric again on Saturday against the Stones. I’m not sure how long Johnson has got him signed for, but I’m hoping it’s a long time because I can’t wait to watch him in a yellow shirt for years to come.
Man of the Match – WSM and Billericay
6) Shaun MacDonald – 7.2
Three clean sheets in a row for the Geordie in March, two of those away in deepest Essex. Not a bad showing at all from Shaun MacDonald. His save at Concord was exceptional, I was just waiting for the net to bulge; brilliant reactions. It’s an often heard saying in football that the best keepers are those who make saves when they’ve been quiet all game. And that certainly applies to Shaun, he’s really stepped-up since Alex Bass returned to Portsmouth.
7) Kyle Cameron – 7.2
Mr Consistency for so much of this campaign, Kyle had a little wobble at Welling last month (to be honest, who didn’t?), but has picked it up again in recent games to cement his importance in the heart of defence. The win at Concord was an important one for him, not only because he opened his Gulls account with a headed winner, but also because his partnership with Sendles-White appeared to have clicked into gear. It will be interesting to see who Johnson favours at centre-back alongside Kyle for the remainder of the season.
8) Ryan Dickson – 7.1
I’m surprised Dicko isn’t higher on the list. I made a point of highlighting his importance to us in the win at Billericay, and he followed that up with another telling contribution at home to Dartford, being involved in the build-up to the second goal within seconds of coming on.
As much as he’s an excellent asset to have to bring on when we need to “shore-up” our midfield, I think someone who played virtually an entire campaign for Yeovil in League 2 last season can manage 90 minutes! Fair enough, it’s hard to break into a winning side, especially after injury, but I think he could do a great job on the left side of midfield from the onset.
9) Saikou Janneh – 6.9
Does this lad ever stop running? No goals in March but that doesn’t really matter when you see what he gives the team. Did everything but score on Saturday against Wealdstone. The perfect asset for Jamie Reid, Saikou seems to create space for other players to exploit. Works really hard towards his own goal too.
10) Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – 6.8
Often CLE’s work goes un-noticed, but he’s an incredibly important cog in our four man midfield. I’ve felt that he can struggle to mix it with players who are more focussed on the physical side of the game. A perfect example of this was away at East Thurrock, where our midfield struggled to get to terms with the rough and tumble of football on a poor surface. Fast forward to March and Concord Rangers. A game against equally combative opposition on an even worse pitch! Connor showed he can mix his game up when needed, delivering a moment of quality from a set-piece to help settle the game.
11) Liam Davis – 6.6
12) Ruairi Keating – 6.4
13) Jean-Yves Koue Niate – 6.3
Do you agree with TorquayTalk? Make your choice of Player of the Month below:
1) TT Rating is the average of the ratings (out of 10) from the TT Match Verdicts
2) Players only included if they have been rated in 50% or more of TUFC games
3) Players only rated in games if they have played more than 10 minutes
TT Player of the Month roll-call
August – Liam Davis
September – Jamie Reid
October – Jamie Reid
November – Connor Lemonheigh-Evans
December – Kyle Cameron
January – Asa Hall
February – Kalvin Kalala
March – Asa Hall
*Photos courtesy of Dennis Kallmer