Elliot Milner – @EJMOfficial1
3 points for Torquay in a jam-packed game filled with goals, cards and bottles being thrown on the pitch. A game which saw many standout individual performances; making it even harder for Johnson to pick his starting 11 for Wrexham.
As with the weather, a dismal start to the game for the Gulls, poor defensive positioning from the backline allows a through ball to be played, cutting the defense in two. Barrow’s Angus shimmies past Covolan and slots the ball past both centre backs to make it 1-0 for Barrow.
4 minutes later Torquay are denied an obvious penalty when Ben Whitfield gets shoved to the floor, which leads to the Torquay players furiously protesting for a blatant foul on the right winger inside the box.
Torquay looked anxious and uncomposed when on the ball, especially Jake Andrews who gifted the ball to the opposition countless times. Another penalty shout from the Gulls in the 20th minute, with a shot hitting the unnatural arm position of a Barrow defender. The ref waves it away. Again like the start of the game, Torquay look flat, and lose the ball out wide too easily when attacking through Davis and Wynter.
Then comes the inaugural event to spark the Gulls’ comeback. Reid picks up the ball past the centre circle and plays it to Whitfield. He then slides an elegant through ball past the two centre backs, and Jamie does a Reid and plays it out of his feet to nestle it into the bottom corner. Again Torquay capitalising on poor defending, and Reid scoring once more. Just after, Barrow are dispossessed and Davis goes on a mazy dribble down the left flank, eventually whipping over a cross that is out of Whitfield’s reach.
Torquay and the Popside are in full throttle, Buse picks up a lost ball in midfield and carries it wide of the penalty area, with the Barrow goalkeeper in pursuit. With a cross from the left-hand side, Barrow struggle to clear the ball and a shot from the edge of the area is blocked by the hand of John Rooney (the brother of the prolific England goalscorer). A straight red is issued to the central midfielder and the magician himself Jamie “the shagger” Reid steps up to take the penalty.
Then one of the best penalties I have seen the forward take, sending the keeper the wrong way, with power and precision. A crucial goal just before half time, riling up the Barrow players and management. Number 11 Kay for the Bluebirds is then given a yellow for a late challenge on Ben Wynter.
After this, somewhat just as interesting as the controversy on the pitch, someone decided to throw a bottle of coke on the pitch. The stewards remain composed and lead the perpetrator out of the ground. Half-time arrives and Patrick begins the ever so passionate half time draw!
It’s an electric start to the second half for the Gulls. Skipper Kyle Cameron plays the ball over the Barrow defence into the path of Jamie Reid, who takes a heavy touch and presents the ball to the opposition. Only two minutes later, a low driven ball in from Ben Wynter looking for Matt Buse, diverts to Armani Little at the back post for him to blast past Dixon in-between the sticks. Buse is clearly fouled before the ball finds it’s way to Armani, but no matter as it’s 3-1 to United.
In the 56th minute Barrow score a scrappy goal, with Cundy doing amazingly well to block the original shot. Only for sloppy defending from the Gulls, leading to the ball arriving at the back post for Brown to caress past Covolan for 3-2. Technical genius Frank Vincent is unlucky to have his shot blocked on the edge of the box 5 minutes later, overall showing the domination of Torquay. Normally at this point, Torquay would refer to panic stations, but the players remain calm about their narrow lead and this, with the combination of a double substitution, is the catalyst for clinching the ever so important 4th goal.
In the 69th minute, Kalvin Lumbumbo-Kalala enters for a frankly poor Jake Andrews, who was definitely not at the races. Plus, lightning quick Opi Edwards makes his return to Plainmoor after injury for the impressive Ben Whitfield. With these two super subs pushing the team forward, Davis is unlucky with a low-driven shot from outside the box, trying to galvanise the rest of the team. 3 minutes later great interplay from the workhorse Matt Buse provides an opportunity for Reid out on the right and the striker crosses the ball in perfectly for Little to simply dispatch it into the roof of the net.
The goal suppresses Barrow’s energy and work rate, and Reid nearly gets his third with a miss-hit that gets agonisingly close to chipping Barrow’s keeper. As soon as Joe Lewis comes on in the 79th minute for Frank Vincent, he looks to dictate the last 10 minutes by dispossessing inform Scott Quigley and playing a beautiful lofted ball to Kalvin Kalala. Apart from a frantic chance for Matt Buse at the end which is cleared off the line, the last 10 minutes are calm and collected, with no real threat coming from the away side.
3 points, job done and Johnson even launches his cap in the air. What more could you have asked for on a pleasing Saturday afternoon.
Lucas Covalan 6 – Had very little to do, still obvious issues with communication to the back 4 but an easy un-troubled performance.
Ben Wynter 5 – Sadly for Ben one of his poorest games of the season, being dispossessed too easily. However, he still has been one of our better players this season, a shame for the yellows’ right back.
Liam Davis 6 – Both full backs were poor today and both got caught out going forward, leading to Barrow’s second goal.
Kyle Cameron 7 – Nothing to complain about, apart from the positioning for the first goal, but a National League centre half is bound to make mistakes. Solid performance from the skipper.
Robbie Cundy 7.5 – A bit better than Cameron, willing to put his body on the line and kept Barrow’s big man Quigley out of the game.
Matt Buse 8 – Love the man, he does not stop! Picked up countless loose balls in midfield today and played it to a more attacking player, could not ask for much more. Also unlucky not to get a goal at the end.
Frank Vincent 7 – Kept it simple today and went un-noticed, which I think is great as it shows not many mistakes were made.
Armani Little 8 – Such a shame at the end for the attacking midfielder to hobble off. Hopefully not a serious injury, but with 2 goals he did fantastically well.
Jake Andrews 5 – A poor display from Jake today and no real composure when on the ball, set pieces were too powerful and overall looked a bit fed up. We can only hope Mr. Consistent returns for Tuesday.
Jamie Reid 9 – MOTM below.
Ben Whitfield 7 – Busy and involved as usual. Always on the move to help out team mates, a real team player.
Joe Lewis 7 – Cracking display from Joe in the 10 minutes he was on. I have not seen too much of him but showed his play-making ability and easy to see why he is in the Welsh Under-21s side.
Kalvin Kalala 6 – Tried to do too much with the ball when he came on, but I do hope he starts on Tuesday.
Opi Edwards 6 – Had the ball once or twice and made a tremendous tackle on Quigley, not sure if he is match-fit.
Man of the Match: Jamie Reid
What a man. Is there anything he cannot do? Apart from the two goals he scored and the great assist for the final goal of the game, Reid looked electric. His first touch and movement are top class, and you can see why he is so successful up-top, as he is always craving the ball. A captivating display from the Gulls’ top man, just worrying that he does this so often and with January approaching I am sure bigger sides will be sniffing around.
Honourable Mentions: Armani Little
Solid display, brilliant link-up play with Reid in and around the box, and showed his creativity on numerous occasions. Fingers crossed, the injury in added time is nothing serious as performances like those dragged the team back from being a goal down.
An aggressive but effective side, bullying their way up the pitch. However, luckily a proud performance from the Gulls kept them at bay. I would not be surprised to see them playing us in the play-offs come the end of the season.
An average performance from the officials, one deliberate penalty was missed. Whilst the linesman closest to the popside, just stood and watched a wrestling match unfold in the second half. Luckily, no important wrong decisions that decided the outcome of the game.
Key Moment: Jamie Reid penalty
An exciting game of football, and I’ve yet to write a match report when we haven’t gained 3 points! I would expect a little rotation for Tuesday night’s game against Wrexham and with the Gambian King (Saikou Janneh) sitting in Bristows, only time will tell if he will be involved. All in all, a convincing display and great attitude to come back from being a goal down. Hopefully a back to back win at Plainmoor on Tuesday night. COYY.
Wrexham AFC at Plainmoor, 29th October – 7.45pm Kick-Off