The TT Match Verdict – TUFC 2-0 Chorley FC, 29th Feb 20

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Joe Uglow – Joe_Ugs

Summary:

After my disappointing match verdict debut for TorquayTalk (Chesterfield at Home 0-3), I was hoping for a much better result as bottom of the table Chorley came to Plainmoor.

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Buoyed by last week’s 1-0 win against Halifax, Gary Johnson made 2 enforced changes; Jake Andrews came in for Armani Little & Shaun Macdonald came in for Lucas Covolan who injured his back in Friday’s training session. The yellows lined up in the same 3-5-2 formation as against Halifax, Chorley lined up in a 5-3-2. Chorley won the toss and switched us round which meant we would be facing the wind for the first half.

The first 20 minutes were a scrappy affair with the only real highlight being a Chorley corner that nearly went directly in, Shaun Macdonald just managing to tip it over. Whitfield & Azeez both made a couple of promising runs, however on both occasions the final ball was lacking.

As half-time approached, and it looked to be another one of those frustrating days that we have become so accustomed to, Torquay grabbed the first goal. A Joe Lewis free kick from the halfway line was played into the box, the Chorley keeper came and got nowhere near it, and Cundy nodded the ball into the empty net. 1-0 Torquay on the stroke of half time!

Torquay came out in the second half ready to carry on where they had left off in the first, On the 48th minute Reid picked the ball up on the halfway line, retired the defender with a brilliant piece of skill and ran through on goal, just as it looked like he would go it alone Azeez appeared to his right and Reid unselfishly slid him in for a certain goal….or not, Azeez inexplicably put the ball wide from 8 yards out.

A minute later Azeez looked to atone for his mistake, dispossessing a Chorley player, he slid Reidy through, who this time had Lemonheigh-Evans for company, Reidy decided to go it alone this time and blasted the ball wildly wide with only the keeper to beat. Two big chances missed that started to make you wonder whether it really would be our day.

Another chance for Reid went begging as he blazed over from another Azeez pass and you really started to worry that a late Chorley goal might be on the cards. We needn’t have worried; In the 79th minute Azeez set Whitfield free down the right wing, who delivered an inch-perfect pass across the 6 yard box to Reidy at the back post… 2-0.

There was still time for Macdonald to try and make the match interesting, in the 90th minute a Chorley free kick was floated in, Macca came and flapped at the ball which dropped at the feet of a Chorley player, but there was Longridge on the line to block the shot. Moments later as the ball was pumped back into the box, Macdonald flapped at the ball again, this time Lewis saving Macca’s blushes with another goal-line clearance.

Deep into injury time Andrews whipped in a dangerous free kick which just needed the faintest of touches from a yellow shirt, hitting the outside of the post and then the final whistle sounded.

A solid, if unremarkable win and hopefully the start of a run as we start to look up the table rather than down!

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Player Ratings:

MacDonald – 6: Had nothing to do until the 90th minute when he flapped at two crosses and was saved by a goal-line clearances from Longridge & Lewis. I would have Covolan back when fit.
Longridge – 7: Rarely beaten on the left, got forward when he could although the end product wasn’t always there, great goal line clearance at the end.
Cameron – 7: Won his headers, picked the right pass when he needed to, solid performance.
Cundy – 8: Didn’t lose a header all game, Kiwomya didn’t get a kick against him. The last two weeks he’s been the player we all hoped he would be, great header for the goal as well!
Lewis – 8: MOTM. Another solid performance from the centre half, amazing what being played in your proper position can do to a player!
Whitfield – 7: Full of energy and running as always, a couple of tricky runs and a good assist for Reidy.
Hall – 7: Mopped up in the middle of the park and put himself about, Like last week; a captain’s performance.
Lemonheigh-Evans – 6: Tried to make things happen, but often the final ball was lacking.
Andrews – 6: A couple examples of really good play; nutmegging their central midfielder more than once but then his next pass would be overhit or misplaced. Great to see him back in the starting 11 though!
Reid – 7: A strange game for Reidy, always seemed to want to take a touch when it may have been better to get a shot off early, & missed a gilt edged chance just after Azeez’s howler. Deserved his goal as he kept going all game, give it a couple weeks and I’m sure the Reid & Azeez partnership will start to pay dividends.
Azeez – 6: Worked hard, probably fell over a bit too much in the first half but second half he really started to give their captain (Meppen-Walter) a torrid time. A horrendous miss when Reidy put it on a plate for him but promising signs for the Reid-Azeez partnership.
Subs:
Nemane – N/A: Only got a couple of minutes and unsure if he touched the ball

Man of the Match: Joe Lewis

Great performance from the on-loan defender; won his headers, was never beaten once down the right side, some vital clearances as well, he’s really starting to look the part alongside Cundy & Cameron.

Tactics:

Three centre halves with Whitfield and Longridge as wing backs, Hall, Evans & Andrews in the middle of the park with Azeez and Reidy up top. I quite like this formation, we essentially set up with 5 at the back when defending but once on the attack this shifts to 4 with Whitfield joining the midfield.

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The Opposition:

You can see why they are bottom of the table, a real lack of quality throughout the side and I think they could still be playing now and wouldn’t score. Their No.6 and captain; Meppen-Walter will be glad to see the back of Azeez and Reid I’m sure.

The Officials:

Thought he had a good game, didn’t disagree with the majority of his decisions and barely noticed him which is always a good sign!

Key Moment:

The goal on the stroke of half time no doubt changed GJ’s half time team talk and meant that Chorley could no longer sit in. As they came forward in the second half we were able to pick them off and on another day we could have scored 4 or 5.

Player Spotlight: Robbie Cundy

I’ve been a big critic of Robbie’s this season and I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that he’s struggled with the step up from the NLS. It looks like the work on the training ground during the recent break has done him the world of good and his last two performances are evidence of that. Long may it continue!

Conclusion:

A solid, if unremarkable win against a very poor Chorley side but you can only beat what’s put out in front of you! The defence seem to have got their act together and the Azeez-Reid partnership is only going to get better and better. We really should now be looking up the table rather than down as we try and sneak a play off place, and I don’t think its beyond the realms of possibility especially if our major injuries are behind us. A couple decent wins on the road in the next few weeks could have us all dreaming again! COYY!

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Social Media:

https://twitter.com/Kylecam97/status/1233818109007585280

Next Up:

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Sutton United (A) – 7th March 2020, 3pm Kick Off

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