Ryan Etches – @ryanetches
Another good run out and performance from The Gulls at Homers Heath, where Buckland Athletic defended well for large parts of the game before Torquay’s quality shone through.
Another strong starting 11 for Torquay with MacDonald starting in goal, Asa Hall dropping into defence with Niate at centre back. Dickson reverted to left back and Buse in at right back, with Wynter dropping to the bench. The midfield was unchanged apart from Frank Vincent replacing Kalala, which moved Jake Andrews back in to a more familiar left midfield role. Jamie Reid was up top with Olaf Koszela.
It took 5 minutes before the first real chance was created. Jake Andrews lofted a good pass through the middle of the home defence to Koszela who lobbed the ball over the onrushing keeper but it didn’t drop in time landing, on the roof of the net.
A couple of half chances came in the next 5 minutes. Andrews again with an inch perfect through ball to Koszela who was just about to get the shot away before a good blocking tackle by the Buckland left back. More intricate play from the Torquay forwards gave Reid a yard of space to have an effort on goal which was smartly saved at the near post.
Torquay were really in the ascendency in this game and time after time were finding themselves playing a very attractive style of passing football in the Buckland half. Another neat bit of play led to the nearest the Gulls got to opening the scoring, the ball working its way out to Koszela who then dinked it into the box to Jake Andrews who caught the ball sweetly with a low driven volley which cannoned off the post.
Around the half hour mark, Ryan Dickson had to be taken off after what looked like a calf or thigh strain as he tried to whip the ball into the box. Kyle Cameron came on in his place at left back.
5 minutes later and the Geordie had the ball in the net, a towering header planted the ball home but the referee had already blown for a foul on the keeper. Seemed a bit soft from where I was stood.
About 40 minutes in there was a real good old fashioned 6 yard box scramble where the ball seemed to pinball off several players but each time it was forced away from the Buckland goal line before it was eventually cleared.
There was still time for yet another chance before half time for Torquay, showing some more good link up play to give makeshift left back Kyle Cameron some room in the box to drive a low shot off the far post and out.
2 subs made at half time with Keating & Koszela coming off to be replaced by Kalala and Wynter. Buse dropped into left back, Cameron returned to centre back with Asa going back into the midfield. Wynter taking up his normal place at right back.
The next 20 minutes felt like it was something we had seen before, chance after chance for Torquay but each time either the keeper saved any attempt or it was blocked. Vincent was subbed off for Trialist B from Tuesday night.
It was going to need something special to break this Buckland resolve. Lucky for us, Kalvin Lumbombo Kalala is a very special player. Nearing the 65 minutes mark he picked the ball up centrally around 20 yards out, with 1 drop of the shoulder he jinked past 4 players to open the goal up for himself and he coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
The shackles were off, Torquay were in full flight from that moment and it didn’t take long for it to become 2-0. A deep cross aimed for Kalala looked like it was heading out, a typically calm touch from the Frenchman brought it down facing away from the goal. On the spin he looped the ball back into the box and after Buckland failed to clear it dropped to Ben Wynter who lashed it home. Shades of Woking away, no fans on the pitch this time though.
4 more subs were made shortly after. Reid, Hall, Little and Andrews off to be replaced by 3 SDC lads and Josh Baxter.
The final goal came from Wynter’s quick thinking. A throw in an advanced position was thrown quickly over the Buckland centre backs head to an unmarked Kalala who squared it to Trialist B who instead of shooting himself passed it on to one of the SDC lads and he slammed it home.
Shaun MacDonald – 6/10: He should have brought a deck chair, he had absolutely zero to do.
Matt Buse – 7/10: Playing in unfamiliar positions is never easy, he handled it well and was steady. Will be a very good cover option if GJ decides to sign him on
Asa Hall – 7/10: Another player covering a position that isn’t his natural area. Showed good touches and distributed it well to keep us ticking over. Defended excellently, still think we need another natural centre back in the squad
Jean Yves Koue Niate – 6/10: An okay performance from our big French centre half, nothing of note to write
Ryan Dickson – 5/10: He only lasted half an hour but the 30 minutes he did complete won’t be in his career highlights. Beaten too often by the opposition winger and in my opinion too slow to be effective in the left back position
Ruairi Keating – 7/10: The one thing you are guaranteed with Ruairi is 110% work rate and the Irishman gave it all today.
Armani Little – 8/10: He finally got a chance to show us his passing ability today as the pitch was a lot better than Tuesday night. Great ball retention and clever passing play made him the driving force today.
Frank Vincent – 7/10: A good game for Frankie in the middle of the park, glided past players with ease and like Armani kept the passing simple.
Jake Andrews – 7/10: Some very good attacking through balls from Jake today, no surprise from a man who was involved in so many goals last season
Jamie Reid – 5/10: It just wasn’t Reidy’s day today, not getting many chances and the ones he did he didn’t put them away as we’ve come to expect from him
Olaf Koszela – 6/10: Young Olaf is improving with every game and even though he didn’t score today he was a thorn in the side for the Buckland defence
Kalvin Lumbombo Kalala- 9/10: Changed the game, got past his man every single time and the home defence couldn’t handle him. Very excited to see him progress this season
Ben Wynter – 8/10: He started at right back and by the end of the match he was playing in a midfield role, skipped past defenders with ease but was still solid when it his turn to defend.
This team are already all on the same page and the new players are fitting straight into the “Johnson Way”, a couple of more additions to boost the squad numbers and we could be looking at another positive season!
See you all Tuesday for Argyle at home!