Matthew Roberts – @MatthewVA438
Torquay went into the game with Eastbourne knowing a win and Woking losing would see us promoted as Champions for the first time since 1927. What followed was a pretty poor game with few real chances and generally scrappy and unattractive play.
Torquay were limited to few chances in the first half, with a goalmouth scramble from a corner seeing Janneh unable to convert from a close range thanks to an excellent save from the Eastbourne ‘keeper.
The first goal came from a poor penalty by Lemonheigh-Evans that was saved but seemed to have been tipped onto the bar. Everyone duly charged forward and the spot-kick taker smuggled the ball into the net from a yard out.
The second half saw much of the same with both sides huffing and puffing with little end-product. However, the game was put to bed with 10 minutes to go when a bit of pinball in the box saw Andrews find the ball at his feet, he duly obliged and cannoned the ball into the far corner of the net. 2-0 and game over. All we had to do was wait for confirmation that Woking had lost 2-0 to Chelmsford. Cue pandemonium at the final whistle.
Macdonald: 7.5 – Played well and provided a calming presence at the back. Made saves when he needed to make them.
Wynter: 6.5 – Didn’t have too much to do but I would like to have seen him get forward on the overlap a bit more. We know he has it in his locker.
Koue Niate: 7 – Good performance by the big frenchman who frequently dealt with the threat that Eastbourne posed. He’ll have more difficult days next season I’m sure.
Cameron: 7 – As above, never really looked overly troubled. Good performance by the stand-in captain. He’s constantly communicating with the rest of his defence. You’d think he’s more experienced than he is.
Davis: 6 – See Wynter.
Kalala: 6 – Never got his game going yesterday, you saw flashes of what he’s capable of but their left back was ready for him and gave Kalala absolutely no joy throughout the game.
Lemonheigh-Evans: 6 – Missed Hall being his partner in the centre. Poor penalty but scored from the rebound.
Andrews: 6 – Same as others, didn’t quite come off for him and he struggled to link up play.
Vincent: 7.5 – Man of the match. See below.
Janneh and Reid: 6 – I’ll say the same thing for both Janneh and Reid, neither man received the kind of service they required to really create any decent chances throughout the game. Instead they were forced to do their best with long balls over the top, which didn’t work.
Dickson: 6 – I think his introduction was needed, we lacked experience in the midfield yesterday, however, he didn’t have much time to impose himself on the game.
Koszela: 6 – Similarly to Dickson, there wasn’t much time for young Koszela to get involved. Looked lively when he came on.
Jamie Sendles-White: N/A – Came on in the 89th minute, not enough time to make an impact.
Man of the Match: Frank Vincent
We’ve only seen brief spells of Vincent since he signed on loan from Bournemouth in January, not that this is a reflection on him, the team has been tough to break into. Yesterday though, Vincent was given an opportunity to impress through a place in the starting XI. He did not disappoint. In a game that was lacking in quality and ideas, he was the man in central midfield who sought out the space and frequently sprayed balls out wide to players on the wing. His hold-up play under pressure was also excellent. Hopefully we’ll see more of him.
Shaun Macdonald has progressed a lot this season (as many others have), and he was an assured presence at the back yesterday. Granted, Eastbourne didn’t do too much but they did have their moments, and every time Macdonald looked calm and composed while dealing with any possible danger.
A straightforward 4-4-2 though the midfield was missing Hall and Keating through injury. This meant Vincent started in the centre with Lemonheigh-Evans.
An agricultural team who were by no means the worst opposition I’ve seen us play this season. They came to Plainmoor with a clear plan in mind of how to stifle us, and they limited us to booting long balls over the top for the majority of the game. Their left back clearly foresaw the threat that Kalala would pose on the wing and neutralised it well.
Despite Johnson berating him for the first 15 minutes over some, admittedly slightly questionable decisions, I thought the referee was fairly anonymous which can only be a good thing. As the second half progressed, he progressively let more tackles go which I found quite refreshing.
I don’t think there was a single moment that defined the game, instead I’d probably go with the moment that it was confirmed Woking had lost. The sheer joy on display was a sight to behold, something we’re not used to. This was a moment that will live long in the memory of every Gulls fan.
Player Spotlight: Frank Vincent
I’ll name my Man of the Match here, Frank Vincent has been limited to brief spells of 15-20 minutes here and there, but against Boro he showed he can offer a real contribution for 90 minutes. His creativity and calmness under pressure was impressive yesterday. I’d like to see him back at Plainmoor next season.
Just the best day I’ve experienced since I started supporting Torquay back in 2003. The performance wasn’t great but we won anyway. Is there anyone alive that last saw us win a league?
The last roughly six and half years have been rubbish with very few rays of light to brighten the fanbase. It’s hard to comprehend that just a few months ago we went away to Gloucester and drew 0-0 in what was an absolutely awful game. But then Johnson came in and everything changed, the positivity he injected into the club was instantaneous and infectious. The team spirit that now runs throughout the squad is plain to see and it’s such a brilliant feeling to watch my club do well after so many years of disappointment. Bring on next season.
View from the Ed:
I love this squad, I love our manager and finally I love the Yellow Army. We are well-deserved champions and with the right backing the Gulls could become a force in the National League – we’ll have the best manager so why not? But for now let us rejoice and celebrate this championship win; the goalscoring supremacy of Reidy; the stubborn battling of Asa; the majesty of CLE; the youthful exhuberance of Janneh; the total consistency of Davis; the improvement of Wynts and the raw passion of Kyle Cameron (I could go on and on!). We’ve sat through enough hard times to deserve this people, what a feeling. CHAMPIONS. Dom
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Chippenham Town – 19th April @ Hardenhuish Park