Ryan Etches – @RyanEtches
Anybody expecting a dull, mundane game on a sunny evening up in North Devon would have been disappointed. The Yellows were in fine form, as they swept a hard working Bideford team aside.
Torquay started with arguably their strongest available side in what looked like a 4-4-2. MacDonald in goal, a defence of Wynter, Cameron, Niate plus Andrews filling in at LB for Davis, who is out with his abdominal injury. Kalala and Keating playing as the wide men and Asa commanding the midfield, partnered by the exciting new man Armani Little. Reidy and Manny Duku up top.
The game opened as you’d expect, Yellows getting on the ball and trying to set their tempo, which was very difficult as the Bideford pitch was far from perfect with bumps aplenty. The first moment of substance occurred 10 minutes in. A Bideford midfielder struck the ball from about 25 yards out – the shot took a deflection off Niate, which diverted it onto the bar and downwards bouncing on the line and (thankfully) out.
20 minutes in and we had our first goal of pre-season. The Bideford right back was caught in possession after good pressure from Reidy. Jamie took the ball away from him on the corner of the 18 yard box, after the defender slipped, and dinked it into the 6 yard box where Manny Duku was waiting. After a couple of attempts to get it under control with pressure incoming from the home defence, the Dutchman eventually tapped it home.
5 mins later Duku had the ball in net again. A superb diagonal ball from Wynter found Keating who squared it to the waiting Dutchman and he slammed it home. Flag up, disallowed.
The Gulls got their well-deserved 2nd just before the half-time whistle. Kalala split the two centre halves with a peach of a through ball to Reidy, who does what the ‘Prince of Park Lane’ does best and slots it past the keeper into the bottom corner.
Half-time and the first batch of substitutes were made. Kalala, Reid, Hall, Duku, Little and MacDonald off replaced by Covalan, Vincent, Buse, Koszela, Trialist A (more on him later) and one of the youngsters from the South Devon College partnership.
A couple of half chances in the first 5 minutes of the second half arrived before Torquay had their third. A good corner in from Andrews dropped around the 6 yard box and Trialist A smashed it in through a crowd of bodies. 3-0 and only one team in the game.
10 minutes later and it was 4-0. Olaf was in on the act, getting on the end of a Jake Andrews through ball and even with the opposing centre back trying to trip him up with a sneaky kick out at his ankles, the young striker slotted it home calm as you like.
Another four subs were then made shortly after. Cameron, Niate, Wynter and Andrews off replaced by Dickson, Baxter, one more youth from SDC and a Trialist.
Around the 70th minute, Covalan came off with an injury to what looked like the back of his neck. It didn’t look too serious, but no need to risk anything in pre-season. The young keeper Collings coming on as his replacement.
The scoring was concluded by that man again, Trialist A. Good midfield work from a couple of the SDC lads, one of whom played a ball out to Koszela who squared it for Mr A.
The stand out player for me was Trialist A – AKA Great Nii Okai Evans. His real name, honest! Two well taken goals and good hold up play. Special mention to Matt Buse the midfielder from Taunton and also the young lad Josh Baxter in defence. Both looked assured and confident.
Roll on Saturday for Buckland away!