Thomas Kelly – @ThomasKellytufc
What a season! What a result! What a team! Torquay United produced a performance of champions with a comprehensive 4-0 away win at play-off chasing St Albans. It only took 10 seconds for United to take the lead. Straight from kick-off United attacked and Kalala put it in the top corner to give United the dream start. A minute later, Evans hit the woodwork. St Alban’s stunned.
On 9 minutes it was 2-0. Reid slamming his shot home after another good build-up in play. CLE almost made it three with a cracking strike from distance that again hit the woodwork. United then had a great chance to make it 3-0 from the penalty spot. Reid placed his shot down the middle, but it was saved by the legs of the St Albans number 1.
St Albans did grow as the half went on, some dodgy defensive mistakes allowing them the chance to get on the scoresheet, but MacDonald would not be beaten, making some fine saves.
The second-half saw Reid subbed early (after picking up a knock just prior to half-time) and he departed to a great reception from the travelling Yellow Army. The game was over on 62 minutes when Opi Edwards slotted in from close range. The Gulls still had time to make it 4-0 in the 90th minute when Kalala got his brace and rounded off an excellent afternoon and season.
MacDonald 8: When called on he was excellent. Saved well after Cameron made a mistake at the back early doors.
Wynter 7: Did well when he was needed, bit of a quiet game for him.
Davis 7: Solid performance, think he may have tried a bit too hard to make something happen when he had the ball, but one of my most improved players this season.
CLE 8: Very unlucky to see his shot hit the woodwork in the first half. He ran his socks off and is my MOTM.
Vincent 7: Solid performance from the loanee.
Niate 7: Solid if not spectacular but did his job when he was called on.
Dickson 7: Similar to Niate, plus Ryan’s long throws are a useful weapon.
Cameron 7: Got lucky that we didn’t get punished after he gave the ball away in the first half. Much better second half.
Andrews 7: Would like to see him back next season. Always a threat and has a bright future ahead of him.
Reid 6.5: He scored, missed another penalty and got subbed early doors in the 2nd half after picking up a knock. Missed pen drops his score by a half.
Kalala 8: Two goals, one in record time, the other right at the end. Linked up well with the forwards and another I look forward to seeing next season.
Koszela 6: Brought on for Reidy. He tried hard but no goals for the youngster today.
Edwards 7: Got his goal, worked hard. If only he wasn’t out for so long. We’ve missed him in certain games this season. Hopefully he comes back next season. I rate him.
Sendles-White 5: On for the last 20 minutes. Did fine. Seen on Twitter he’s leaving. Thank you for your efforts and best of luck for the future.
Man of the Match: Connor Lemonheigh-Evans
My MOTM goes to CLE. He was so unlucky to see both his efforts hit the woodwork and he seemed to be at the heart of every Torquay attack. When playing against teams at this level, you can tell which players have the quality to dictate the end result and CLE had that quality today. Ran his socks off too.
In a season where Torquay have been breaking club records for fun, Kalvin Kalala wrote his name into the TUFC history books with the quickest goal in club history (10 seconds allegedly). It set the Gulls off on the right foot and we could have quite easily been 4-0 up in the first 20 mins. It also killed any faint play-off hopes for the home side.
Shaun MacDonald also gets an honourable mention for his performance between the sticks. Since his rise to the number one shirt, he has had some excellent performances and has quickly become a fan favourite.
4-4-2/4-5-1 in parts from what I could see. Attacking from the outset and utilising the wide channels as the game progressed.
Credit to St Albans who never stopped trying. They kept us honest in parts but ultimately like many other clubs in this league, our quality and fitness took over. The ground is very old school and typical non-league. Thankfully the weather held out for the big Yellow Army crowd in the open terrace. Atmosphere is always difficult in a mainly open stadium but both sets of fans did their best. Friendly set of fans too, many congratulating us for our season and that we were deserving winners.
Typical NLS referee. Didn’t produce a card all game, made some interesting decisions but nothing major to moan about.
Player Spotlight: The Bristol City loanees
What can we say about the Bristol City loanees that hasn’t already been said. It might have taken a bit of time to click but the Johnson-Johnson connection has helped us reap the rewards of promotion and silverware. Hopefully they have learned and developed their games and I will be interested to see how high up the pyramid they play in the future.
Well that’s it. The 2018/2019 NLS journey is in the history books and the Gulls fans can enjoy planning for long trips to Barrow/Gateshead/Hartlepool etc once again next season. No more regional football and no more playing 4th official, Torquay United are one step closer to the Football League. It has been a humbling experience being in the NLS. We deserved to be where we were based on our performances in the previous season, but there can be no doubt that we deserve to be the champions this season. We finally have optimism that better things with GJ in charge are on the horizon and that we will ultimately get back to where we feel we belong.
Thank you Gary Johnson for taking us up first time of asking.
Thank you to all of the players for your fantastic efforts this season. I’ve never enjoyed watching us play as much as this season and you have rekindled my love for this wonderful club.
Thank you to the supporters and all of my friends who have been there through thick and thin. We all deserve to celebrate and we finally have a club to be proud of again.
Thank you to Dom and TorquayTalk for letting me write this final match report. Always a pleasure.
Thank you Grandpa. We did it. Without you and Grandma taking me to Plainmoor in 2001, I never would have had all the memories and friends I have today. I know you will be proud and raising a drink up above. Love you, up the Yellows!!
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THE NATIONAL LEAGUE 19-20
Photos courtesy of Dennis Kallmer