Harry Lovering – @HazzTorqz
A rather cold night in Kent certainly turned out to be worth it, as United turned over bottom of the table side Ebbsfleet United 2-4 at the Kuflink Stadium. An excellent attacking performance from United means once again we’ve scored 4 away from home, continuing on from the 0-4 romping of Stockport almost 2 weeks ago – United now being joint top scorers in the division with 29 goals.
United started brightly and Kalvin was certainly in one of his unstoppable ‘moods’, firing a shot just over one minute in and showing intent from the men in white. The Fleet defence couldn’t cope with Kalala and Whitfield running at them, and after 9 minutes a pinpoint cross found Andrews unmarked at the back post who turned home from an acute angle…0-1 United.
After some Fleet pressure at the other end, with Cundy and Davis defending well to stop some dangerous Fleet crosses approaching our box, United scored a second. This time Andrews turned provider with a slick pass into Reid who on the edge of the penalty area, pushed his marker to one side and struck a hammer blow left-footed drive into the bottom corner of the net…0-2 United.
Fleet then applied a bit more pressure as the half came to a close and deservedly got back into it from a pinpoint cross by Alex Reid who found Umerah to slot in from 5 yards past Covolan…1-2. Two opportunities for the Fleet before the half drew to a close came for Alex Reid and Ugwu, but luckily the HT whistle went at the right time just as the Fleet were looking dangerous. Some Gary words of wisdom needed as ever. 1-2 HT.
United started the second half just as they did the first and were 1-3 up inside the first 2 minutes, Buse turning in a Andrews blocked effort from 2 yards out….1-3 United. Once again the yellows looked unstoppable, with some more slick attacking and passing play between Vincent and Davis allowing Liam to power drive home, with the help of a slight deflection. United’s fourth of the game and his first since Bath at home in August 2018…1-4 United.
It could’ve and should’ve been 1-5 on 78 minutes as Vincent struck a spectacular effort from outside the box which clearly crossed the line, but the referee continued play. Where’s the VAR in the NL??? There was enough time for Umerah to head home a consolation and Kyle to block an Alex Reid shot off the line, but it was United’s night with another impressive attacking display worthy of a play-off spot at the end of the evening… FT 2-4 United.
Covolan- 6 – I love his passion and he made some good claims from crosses at times, but he didn’t have many saves to make. His distribution was lacking tonight and most of his goal-kicks found their way out of the pitch. Couldn’t have done all that much about the goals apart from maybe be a bit more decisive in claiming the ball.
Wynter- 7 – I thought Ben played well tonight and certainly put in some dangerous link-up play with Kalvin and Whifield allowing some great crossing and attacking play down that right hand side. However, at times he needs to throw himself at crosses entering United’s box as that’s what led to their goals.
Cundy- 7.5 – Dealt with crosses well coming into United’s box and commanded the defence at times. A good all-round performance.
Cameron- 7.5 – I thought Kyle had a really good game tonight, doing his defensive duties well and blocking a goal-bound effort off the line to prevent a nervy finish.
Davis- 7 – Liam played some great attacking football tonight and scored an excellent goal. His passing and dribbling going forward is second to none. I just think he does still get caught out at the back at times.
Kalala- 8 – Kalala for me doesn’t have to do much in a game to make a huge impact, as just simply him being present on the pitch running at defences like Fleet’s means we can turn teams over. His energy and drive to drift past players and get the crosses in is insane. A bit more confidence and decision-making will make this lad a top top player in the future. Seriously how long can we keep this lad???
Vincent- 8 – Franky played some great stuff this evening and passed and moved around the midfield well. Unlucky with the goal (or no-goal as it was!!). An incredibly skilful young lad who’s impressing in other midfielders absence at the moment.
Buse- 7.5- Buse is a real gritty centre midfielder and he is taking the step up in his stride. Wins the midfield battles well. Another goal and good performance from Busey.
Andrews- 8.5 – MOTM– See below
Whtifield- 7.5 – Ben had another good game and his energy and drive to go forward is up there with Kalala. Some dangerous crosses yet again and takes players on with his incredible strength for someone thats 5 foot 5!!
Reid- 8 – Loving Reidy at the moment as his confidence in front of goal is great to see. A well-taken goal yet again (he’s certainly not a tap in goal-scorer!!). Works hard for the team and caused the Fleet some big problems. 10 Goals for this guy now..keep going Reidy!!!
Duku- 6 – Didn’t think he was bad when he came on and could’ve got on the end of a couple of passes, but lacks the work ethic and confidence of Reidy. It was an obvious attacking loss when Reid went off.
Little- 7 – Thought after looking leggy on Saturday he looked sharper and closer to himself tonight, including some slick passing with Vincent and out wide to Liam.
Man of the Match: Jake Andrews
Tonight’s MOTM was between a few players, but for me Jake wins it this evening as he not only scored one and technically assisted two but ran that left side incredibly well. His passing and energy was second to none this evening. Has played well for a few weeks now in my eyes and is getting better and better.
A pretty simple 4-4-2 with Kalvin and Jake on the wings and Wynter and Liam supporting the attacks out wide, with Whitfield perhaps sitting slightly behind Reid to make it 4-4-1-1. Duku replaced an injured Reid upfront on 53 minutes and Little replaced Kalala later on, pulling Busey out wide right towards the end but he is certainly more effective in the middle.
The Fleet clearly lacked in confidence and reminded me a lot of what we used to be like two years ago, when we were sat in an even worse position than them. They didn’t play that badly and had players up front including Ugwu, Reid, Weston and Umerah who could punish United, but despite scoring two, they missed a few chances and were pretty lacking at the back, making it simple for United to penetrate their backline over and over again.
I hope for their sake that they pull themselves out of it and with an experienced manager like Hill they might just do that. However, their dire financial situation over the summer has left them in a struggling position at the foot of the table and as we know all too well it can be an incredibly hard position to get out of.
I thought Ryan Atkin did a good job, after his promotion last season from the NLS. He refereed our game at Welling and I didn’t think he was great but was certainly better tonight. In all fairness to him and his officials it was hard to see that the ball was over the line for Vincent’s shot.
1) Great support once again from the Yellow Army. Despite having to pay £50 for a taxi from Ivybridge to Newton Abbot to get the travel bus because my friends car over-heated, it was worth it in the end (the lengths we go to for our club!!). The Torquay United Travel Club had 15 of us on board from Devon, alongside all those other Devon, London and beyond based Gulls that made the trip. Good to see some friends banter between Torquay and Fleet fans in the second half allowing for a good atmosphere. Bring on Notts County on Saturday when 53 people are booked on the Travel Club – should be a great day out!!
2) I keep on saying it I know, but Reid continues to defy the doubters who thought he would struggle in the National League. His confidence at the moment and goals that he’s scoring are second to none. Keep going Reidy!!!
3) Whitfield and Kalvin are a dream team in attacking play and suit Gary’s way of playing the game perfectly.
4) Buse and Frank have stepped in so well, at a time when United would have worried about being exposed in midfield with all the injuries.
5) Up to 6th now, 3 wins in a row, momentum is flowing, how long can this run last??? I think with the way we’re playing at the moment it could an infinite one to the title!! No, let’s be serious here and keep our feet on the ground. This league is unpredictable and as we know on their day anyone can beat anyone else. But we’re certainly heading in the right direction here and now, and as Gary says we have something to hold on to so let’s keep this rich vain of form going!!
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Notts County (A) – 12th October, 3pm KO – Meadow Lane