Joe Uglow – @Joe_Ugs
Torquay succumbed to their 6th straight league defeat at the hands of lowly Chesterfield FC in horrible conditions at Plainmoor.
Going into this game the teams occupied 23rd and 24th in the form guide. This coupled with the weather meant that it was never going to be a pretty spectacle, but having appeared to stop the rot last week in the FA Trophy against Aldershot, myself and many other yellows fans would have been hopeful of a result on a soggy afternoon at Plainmoor.
A solid start was what Torquay needed and they got exactly the opposite as it took only 50 seconds for Chesterfield to take the lead. A cross from left winger Gevaro found Jack McKay who stole in at the back post and caught Lewis napping . 0-1. This meant we were going to have to repeat a feat we’d only managed twice this season (Barrow H & Harrogate H); to come back from 0-1 down to win.
Torquay tried to hit back straight away, earning a number of corners without ever really looking like scoring. Conor Lemonheigh-Evans spurned the one decent chance for United, as he hit a right footer wide having been played through cleverly by Janneh. Chesterfield then had a great chance to make it 2-0. Breaking from one of Torquay’s many corners, McKay and Gevaro were 2 on 1 as they sprinted forward, but also in pursuit was CLE who put in a superb last-ditch tackle as McKay attempted to pull the trigger.
Torquay enjoyed the majority of possession for the rest of the half without carving out too many clear-cut chances, Saikou Janneh in particular was starting to get some joy in behind Chesterfield captain Anthony Gerrard, but then the game changed on a huge decision in the 40th minute. A Torquay corner was crossed in and cleared, play carried on for at least a minute until a shout from a Chesterfield player alerted the ref to a head injury in the Spireites area. Play was stopped and the Chesterfield defender received treatment. During this stoppage the linesman called the referee over and after a lengthy discussion the referee marched over to Saikou Janneh and showed him the red card.
Torquay headed in at the break a goal and a man down, with it all to do in the second half as the rain continued to hammer down at Plainmoor.
GJ chose to take off the ineffectual Buse and Nemane at half time, sending on Kalala and Lewington in their place. The changes seemed to have the desired effect as we started brightly in the second half, but we were dealt a sucker blow as a failed short corner routine led to a Chesterfield counter attack. Gevaro whipped in another inch perfect cross and Weston made it 2-0 to Chesterfield with a header from 5 yards.
Torquay continued to huff and puff without reward, Kalala in particular looking dangerous but the final ball was lacking. Torquay then had a big penalty shout. Wynter took the ball past a Chesterfield defender in the box and appeared to be clipped, but the referee who was standing right by the incident, adjudged Wynter to have dived and dished out a booking.
Chesterfield capitalised again on our indecision soon after, as a corner came into the near post and Haydn Hollis planted the ball into the top corner, Macdonald seemed to be sat down by someone as the cross came in, but the Torquay defence made it far too easy for the Chesterfield man. 0-3.
There was still time for one more talking point. Chesterfield’s 6 ft 5 Striker; Tom Denton appeared to stamp on Niate as they challenged for the ball; an ensuing melee resulted in yellow cards for Niate, Denton and Anthony Gerrard. The resulting free kick was then played deep into Chesterfield’s half, only for Tom Denton to reach out and stop the ball going into the box with his hand. The referee gave a free kick but no second yellow for Denton despite it being the most blatant yellow card offence you will ever see.
A tough loss to take as we head into three huge games over the Christmas period.
MacDonald – 5: Didn’t do a huge amount wrong, three chances three goals for Chesterfield but not much the Geordie could do with any of them. Decent distribution.
Wynter – 5: Didn’t get forward as much as he would like first half, and lacked the final ball when he did get forward second half.
Niate – 5: Marshalled Fondop well but nowhere to be seen for the 3 goals.
Cameron – 5: Average performance, much like Niate nowhere to be seen for the 3 goals.
Lewis – 4.5: caught napping for the first goal and didn’t really offer an option going forward either. Not a left back. Bring back Dickson from Truro please GJ!
James – 5.5: Was always an option for his team mates and tried to make things happen, few misplaced passes but he certainly had a hand in most of our good passages of play.
Buse – 4: Game passed him by, struggled to make an impact and rightfully replaced at half time.
Whitfield – 5: Ran a lot but didn’t do much with the ball, conditions didn’t help.
Nemane – 4: Another one who failed to impact the game in the first half, don’t think the conditions helped but struggle to see what he gives us that Kalala wouldn’t.
Lemonheigh-Evans – 5: Decent goal saving tackle in the first half but he didn’t look ready to be playing a full 90 today, not convinced that he is a striker and would prefer to see him in the CM role.
Janneh – 3: Was starting to look bright but the red card cost us any chance of winning the game. If it turns out he did nothing wrong then upgrade this to a 5!
Lewington – 5: Won majority of his headers but I fail to see what he offers us that Keating doesn’t. Doesn’t improve the squad in my opinion.
Kalala – 5: Went past his man a few times but lacked a final ball
Keating – 5: Was busy and put himself about, game was gone by the time he came on.
Man of the Match: Lloyd James
Tough choice today as nobody really stood out but James got on the ball and tried to make things happen, seemed to take all of our set pieces which weren’t brilliant, but when he did get on the ball in the middle of the park we looked like we might carve Chesterfield open. Looked to pick up a knock on the knee late on, hopefully nothing serious!
Special mention to Head Groundsman Julian Gouldthorpe for the state of the pitch despite the torrential rain over the last week. The pitch did suffer as the game wore on but it is miles better than last season.
We started with a 4-4-2 with CLE up top alongside Janneh. Buse and James in the middle with Whitfield and Nemane providing the width. After the sending off and half time we seemed to revert to a 4-3-2, Lewington and CLE up top with Whitfield, James and Kalala in midfield.
The truth is both sides looked bang average today but Chesterfield were incredibly clinical and that was the difference. I imagine they haven’t been so clinical in previous games and that’s why they are where they are.
Not great to say the least, never got to grips with Chesterfield’s time wasting from the 2nd minute onwards. Completely missed the red card incident and made the decision solely on what his linesman told him had happened which I guess he is entitled to do. Will reserve judgment on that decision until I’ve seen it back myself. Also should have sent off Denton late on, but it wouldn’t have affected the game.
Key Moment: The Red Card
The red card completely changed the game and had we kept 11 men on the pitch we probably would have at least got a point. If Saikou did throw an elbow then send him back tomorrow, his loan’s up on Jan 1st anyway and his introduction to the side has coincided with this awful run we are on.
Player Spotlight: Jamie Reid
A big miss today. A massive part of our success last season was Reidy’s ability to stay fit for the whole season and the prospect of going into the next 3 games without Reidy is not worth contemplating, without him today we looked devoid of any presence or quality up top. We could still be playing now and we wouldn’t have scored! Hopefully he can shake off his injury in time for Boxing Day.
Another average performance but there’s no doubt that the red card changed the game and made it incredibly difficult for us to get back into the game. To concede 3 goals from Chesterfields only 3 clear-cut chances is criminal and the defence is crying out for an experienced Guy Branston-type defender, Chesterfield didn’t look great, but what they had was an experienced spine to their side who were able to soak up all of our pressure and hit us on the break.
We now go into 3 hugely tough games that if I’m honest I can’t see us winning. We are now only 8 points clear of the drop zone and if changes aren’t made, soon United could well be in a relegation scrap in 2020.
Yeovil Town (A) – 26th December 2019, 3pm Kick Off
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