Matt Roberts – @MatthewVA438
Torquay headed to a wet and dull Stockport looking to put the disappointment of recent results behind us against a Hatters side, who themselves were in the midst of their own poor run of form with four defeats on the bounce. Johnson would have demanded a reaction following the Eastleigh game and he certainly got it. In the end it was the perfect birthday present for the gaffer.
Things started off evenly with neither side really troubling each others goal. However, it all changed when Cundy had his shirt tugged in the Stockport box. Reid calmly struck home the resulting penalty and Torquay never looked back.
Whitfield and Kalala were causing all number of problems for Stockport with their link-up play. Stockport paid the price for not closing down Whitfield, and the attacker made a superb pass into just the right area for Reid to slot into the net and make it 2-0. Jubilation all-round!
The third goal summed up Stockport’s day. Again it was Kalala and Whitfield the creators, with the latter sending in a teasing cross which a Stockport defender somehow put in his own net. County’s luck was firmly out.
Torquay finished a perfect half with a perfect goal. A Stockport player was aimlessly trotting around the centre circle when Reid bundled him off the ball and burst forward against two defenders. He held them off and struck the ball low into the net. 4 up and a magnificent half from the Gulls.
I expected Stockport to come out swinging in the second half, but apart from the odd foray forward they troubled the Torquay goal relatively little. Meanwhile some of their supporters were deciding they’d seen enough and started making an early exit mid-way through the half.
It was the brilliant Gulls who looked the more threatening, as we continued to create good chances to add to the afternoon’s tally. In the end though, we had to settle for four. Not a bad afternoon’s work from Johnson’s men who came to Edgeley Park with a clear plan, and executed it to perfection.
Covolan – 9: When so much of the focus is on players further up the pitch given the score-line, it might be understandable to forget about Covolan’s performance. This was the best I’ve seen him play. His distribution was much improved and when Stockport did get the ball into the box, he handled it all well.
Davis – 7: Good performances from both of the full backs, who not only helped to keep a clean sheet but also supplied the wingers with some brilliant passes to start attacking moves.
Wynter – 7: See Above
Cundy – 7: Both centre backs had a good game, they withstood everything Stockport threw at them as they attempted to get men forward in early part of the second half. A clean sheet will do Cundy and Cameron’s confidence the world of good.
Cameron – 7: See Above
Kalala – 9: What a performance, reminiscent of when he terrorised opposition defences for fun last season. Stockport could not handle or get close to Kalala for much of the 90 minutes. This was perfectly illustrated when he ran practically from one end of the pitch to the other, gliding past County players as if they were training cones. If he can find this kind of form consistently, he will be an absolute menace to backlines this season.
Whitfield – 9: He played the role of link man between midfield and attack excellently with Stockport unable to prevent him finding the killer ball or just positioning himself in acres of space.
Vincent – 8: Similar to Buse, he was able to spray the ball around the pitch seemingly at will.
Buse – 8: Buse and Vincent formed an effective partnership, their passing and movement was impressive to say the least. They were able to pick out passes quickly, with very few going in a wayward direction. Given Matt’s lack of experience at this level, he certainly stepped up to the plate.
Andrews – 8: Was able to beat his man on plenty of occasions throughout the game and put in some delightful crosses which posed continuous threat to the Stockport goal.
Reid – 9: The best I’ve seen him play this season. You can’t really ask for much more than a hat-trick away from home, and Reid converted a penalty, which must have settled some nerves. The fourth was brilliant, picking the pocket of a dawdling Stockport player in the centre of the park and just driving towards the goal, he could’ve passed to Whitfield but went on alone shrugging off two defenders and nestling the ball smoothly in the bottom corner past Hinchcliffe in goal.
Subs: None of the substitutes had much time to make a real impact.
Keating – N/A
Duku – N/A
Man of the Match: Jamie Reid
This was difficult to decide as three players spring to mind, but I’ll give it to Reid. When he’s in this kind of form he really is irresistible. Looking like he might score with every chance, out-muscling defenders and his calm, assured manner in front of goal was a delight to see.
Kalvin Kalala was on it from the word go today and we saw just how devastating he can be, leaving opponents in his dust as he danced around them almost effortlessly. After some questionable performances of late he was back to his best. More of the same please.
From the team sheet posted before the game I thought it would be a 4-5-1 with Whitfield in the hole behind Reid. This wasn’t quite the case though, with Whitfield seemingly drifting between the midfield and attack, linking the two areas of the pitch brilliantly. Stockport just couldn’t pick him up at times.
Whereas Torquay grew into the game after the opening 15 minutes, Stockport didn’t. They had no answer to our passing game which grew ever more impressive as the first half wore on. They also left our players in far too much space, which if players like Kalala and Whitfield are playing at their best, you will be punished. An impressive crowd in attendance, but the team will have to improve massively on this performance to do anything this season.
The ref had a good game and got the major decisions right, the key one being the penalty. Cundy might have made the most of it, but he was definitely having his shirt tugged. I don’t think there was controversy in any of the decisions made.
A real return to form and a decisive and ruthless victory over a struggling Stockport side. We performed well in all areas of the pitch and could have scored more goals, hitting the bar in the second half and a free-kick going just over as United pushed forward.
I must temper my excitement after that performance by reminding myself that Stockport were poor and offered very little, but we really put them to the sword and if we can play at that kind of level consistently we’ll be heading up the league in no time.