TUFC Dream Team No.16 – Harry Lovering

“Manse was a quality captain and had every single attribute for what it takes to lead a football team”

Harry Lovering notes down his ultimate Torquay United XI since 2010:

Harry L

Harry Lovering – @HazzTorqz

“This is my Torquay XI from when I started becoming an avid gull from 2010.
Despite not supporting Torquay for very long (although it feels like I’ve been involved now for many more years), there’s still been some great players come through them doors over the past decade or so, so here’s my Torquay XI…”

Goalkeeper:

Bobby Olejnik

The Austrian god!! This guy was the reason we won so many games in the 2011-12 season under Martin Ling in League 2. We kept clean sheet after clean sheet and this man’s ability to pick the ball out the air was incredible. His positioning and reflexes were also top drawer.

Bobby Olejnik
Bobby Olejnik – Photo courtesy of the Herald Express

Left Back:

Kevin Nicholson

Got to be Kevin Nicholson. Never the quickest player around but if there’s one thing you remember about Kev it’s his passion to wear the shirt every week. But I have not simply picked him for passion alone, his sweat left foot was deadly and his leadership and defending abilities were exceptional. If there’s one moment I remember about Kev it’s his 94th minute winner against Barnet back in the 2011-12 season on a Tuesday night – what a strike that was!! Then there was his free-kick against Chesterfield in the 1-3 FA cup victory in 2011, as well as the small matter of ‘what if…’ when his strike cannoned off the bar against Crawley in the 2010-11 FA cup 4th round after Bevan had saved two penalty kicks.

Right Back:

Joe Oastler

Joe was a quiet player but was certainly the most consistently solid right back since I’ve started supporting United. He had some great crosses in his locker and had an eye for tracking his man, alongside defending with ease. Certainly a core player in Buckle’s 2010-11 play-off final squad and Lingey’s 2011-12 play-off semi-final squad.

Centre Backs:

Guy Branston

You certainly did not mess with Branno at the back that’s for sure. Never blessed with pace but what he lacked in that department, he made up for in the air- he certainly did not lose more than a few headers in most every game. Certainly the most solid defender I’ve seen play in a Torquay shirt over the past decade or so.

Aaron Downes

Again Downey was not only such a good leader at the back but won near enough everything in the air and rarely let players dart past him despite his lack of pace. He had his moments such as that reckless red card at Telford back in 2014 but he was one of the most solid defenders, alongside Branno, I’ve seen in a Torquay United shirt. It just proves, pace isn’t everything!!

Midfield:

Lee Mansell

Manse was a quality captain and had every single attribute for what it takes to lead a football team. He was a more defensive minded midfielder than attacking but he certainly had both qualities. I can never forget the 2011-12 season when he had that bet with Nicho and Nicho had to clean his house in his underpants because Manse scored 7 goals (which I believe was his career best). It just proved Manse could not only defend and certainly took no prisoners when it took to getting stuck in, but could also provide on the attacking front.

Eunan O’Kane

Wow!! The most creative player I’ve ever seen in a Torquay shirt. Some very memorable moments with Eunan including his goal against Plymouth in 2010-11 season from the halfway line and his goal against Shrewsbury in the 2010-11 League Two play-offs semi-final first leg to win us the game 2-0. He was fairly quick, had a mean shot on him and could dribble with the ball all day long. Probably the best player I’ve ever seen play for United in my time.

Luke Young

Youngy was a quality player and up until his injury was probably one of the best players in the NL. He certainly showed his leadership abilities when he was captain. He never possessed a lot of pace but had incredible set pieces, excellent shooting abilities and would never stop running. He was also certainly never afraid of a 50/50. Youngy was an asset to United at a time of instability on and off the pitch and always gave 100% despite these problems. His free kick v Woking back in 2014, and his volley against Wrexham in 2015 will both stick in my mind for years to come.

Strikers:

Chris Zebroski

His off-field antics aside, this guy was a born goal-scorer and has still been scoring goals recently at NL side Eastleigh. He was pacey and possessed an eye for goal. One of the key players in Buckle’s 2010-11 squad taking us to Old Trafford in the League 2 play-off final, only to lose 0-1 narrowly to Stevenage.

Rene Howe

This is the target man centre forward you want in your squad. A lot of people didn’t like him but I thought he was quality. His goal against Aldershot, to come from 0-3 down to win 4-3 from outside the box on a Tuesday night back in 2012-13 season sticks in my mind. Could certainly get the lazy impression but he held the ball up really well with his strength and scored lots of goals- what more could you want off a centre forward…????

Elliott Benyon

Second spell aside his first spell at United was quality. He knew how to get behind a man and scored a lot of key goals under Buckle in the 2010-11 season.

Subs:

Billy Bodin – Billy was a quality winger and had pace, trickery and skill in his locker. He scored some quality goals in his time – one being at home to Barnet back in 2012-13.

Angus Macdonald – Angus came out of nowhere in all honesty and surprised a lot of people with his captaincy, leadership and defending abilities. His pace at the back and strength in the air were two of his best qualities, but he had many more. The goal against Bromley to theoretically keep United up in the 2015-16 season for the first ‘Great Escape’ was a sweet moment.

Scott Bevan – This was a close call between him and Olejnik for first spot. Bevan was a quality keeper standing miles above the rest of the team quite literally at 6 foot 5 or whatever he was!! His reflexes were second to none – the two penalty saves against Crawley in the FA Cup were simply amazing. He also possessed other keeper qualities, such as being able to easily pick the ball out of the air from corners.

Kalvin Kalala – Kalvin may be a new addition to United’s squad under Johnson but already he has proved to me why he deserves a position on the bench. He is probably the best winger I’ve seen at United (all be it he’s been playing so far in the NLS). His ability to beat a man and stick the ball in the back of the net from 30 yards with a thunderous strike has already been shown (v Truro as an example) and there is lots more to come from this tricky winger. He’s exciting to watch and is 100% a show-boater, something which United rarely possesses. He can also play on either wing, making him adaptable.

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Kalvin Kalala – Photo Courtesy of Dennis Kallmer

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – Another recent United player who I would personally love to see back in a United shirt next season. He’s my second 18-19 player to have already done enough to earn a place on the United XI bench. His set plays, passing, dribbling, shooting (the goal against Woking in 2018 was a lovely effort) and much more are all quality and he is good in defence and attack. Despite being a more attacking-minded midfielder, he knows how to get back and help the team. An ever-present engine in United’s machine during our championship winning season 2018-19.

Dan Butler – Dan is a quality LB and deserves a place on my United XI bench for that reason. It really hasn’t surprised me that he’s recently been signed for Peterborough as his attacking minded defensive qualities were unreal. Put in some excellent deliveries (two of which went straight in v Macclesfield in the FA trophy and v Welling in the league from a free-kick) and always knew when to make the right tackle. An excellent dribbler on the ball as well.

Brian Saah – Saah was an excellent centre back under Lingey and was consistently good in pretty much every game he played. Not many would beat him in the air and you’d be lucky to get past him on the deck too, as he certainly wasn’t slow either.

Harry’s Line-Up

Olejnik

Oastler  Branston  Downes  Nicho

Young  Mansell  O’Kane  

Zebroski  Benyon  Howe

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2 thoughts on “TUFC Dream Team No.16 – Harry Lovering

    1. Harsh mate I think! Branston, Bobby, Manse, O’Kane, Rene and Nicho for a start had great seasons at the start of the decade for United when we were good, whilst somebody like Luke Young was one of our best players under Nicho. Are you saying you wouldn’t pick any of them?

      Like

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