The TT Match Verdict: Eastleigh 2-1 TUFC – 6th Oct 20

TT MATCH VERDICT

Thomas

Thomas Kelly – @Tommyktufc

Eastleigh 2-1 TUFC

Summary:

A game of two halves. Torquay United were made to pay for a number of wasted first half chances, succumbing to two second half goals from Ben House to condemn the Gulls to their first defeat of the season.

It could have been so different. Torquay dominated the first half, missing a number of good opportunities. Kyle Cameron had his header cleared off the line from a corner early on. Ben Wynter was unlucky to see his effort deflect just wide before the Gulls made their possession count. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans delivering the perfect corner for Sherring to head in at the near post. Fully deserved, 1-0 Gulls.

Eastleigh’s only real effort of note came soon after, just needing someone to get a touch on the ball from their corner.

Torquay continued to dominate. Whitfield keeping the hands of McDonnell warm with a good chance towards the end of the first half

Would the Gulls regret wasting those chances? Sadly the answer was yes.

Eastleigh 2-1 TUFC
Photo courtesy of Graham Scambler

Eastleigh were the much better side after the break, the Gulls beginning to sit back and lose a lot of the attacking impetus they had from the first half. House was proving to be a threat up front. Torquay could have given away a penalty just after the hour mark; Smart adjudged to have gone down too easily.

An injury concern to Connor saw him taken off for Randell and Asa & Umerah were also taken off soon after (for Buse & Britton).

Eastleigh finally made the pressure tell. House robbing Whitfield of the ball in the Gulls’ half and he did excellently to create space and fire his low shot past Cov.

Eastleigh’s winner came with just 9 mins to go, Smart in acres of space on the right crossed the ball to House who thundered his header into the net. Gutting.

There was no repeat of the Gulls last minute antics despite 6 mins of injury time and the hosts continued their good run of results against Gary Johnson’s Yellow Army.

Player Ratings:

Lucas Covolan – 7/10  – Not at fault for either goal. Had a slight injury scare but played on.

Ben Wynter – 6.5/10 – Did well first half but 3-5-2 formation doesn’t suit him. That said glad to have him back in the squad & should have scored prior to Sherring’s goal.

Kyle Cameron – 6.5/10 – Did alright, better first half than second.

Sam Sherring – 7/10 – Took his goal well. Hope he can stay more than just a month. Another solid display at the back.

Jake Andrews – 5/10 – Didn’t have a good game Saturday and was poor again tonight, which is frustrating because on his day he is class. Pretty anonymous. Is he carrying a knock? Should have scored first half too!

Asa Hall – 8/10 – Commanding, composed, led by example. Missed him as soon as he was subbed. We are worse without him in the squad.

Aaron Nemane – 6.5/10  – Give him the ball and let him run at the defence! Struggled to make an impact second half.

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – 6/10 – Went off injured. As ever lots of running and effort, hopefully he isn’t out for long.

Ben Whitfield – 6/10 – At fault for the first goal, arguably second as well although he struggled playing as a left wingback. A lot of the ball was sent through his side of the pitch in the second half. Worked hard as ever.

Danny Wright – 6/10 – First half he won most of the challenges for the ball to give us the outlet to create chances, second half he was non existent.

Josh Umerah – 7/10 – Impressed with Josh. Worked hard and provided a threat up front.

Subs

Adam Randell – 5/10

Matt Buse – 5/10

Louis Britton – 5/10 

All subs get 5 as honestly none of them made much difference to the game when they came on.

Man of the Match:  Asa Hall

We are poorer without him in the side. It’s a shame at the moment he can’t play a full 90 mins because we really struggled to get a foothold of the game in the second half when he went off. Leads by example and his performance in the first half was one of the best that I’ve seen of him play. Sometimes he can be a bit slow to find that pass but he really looked up for it in this game. We have more control of the midfield when he plays, we lost that when he came off.

Tactics: 

For all the good we did in the first half, we looked so open at the back in the second. The winning goal Eastleigh had so much time and space to set up for the goal. Hopefully once Moxley’s ban is over we can go a bit more traditional with four at the back. Whitfield isn’t a left wingback.

lineup

Honourable Mentions: Sam Sherring and the Eastleigh Stream

A late addition to the Torquay squad but a welcome one at that. Great header to get the gulls in front. Impressed with him as a young defender, it’s testament to him that Eastleigh had to focus their efforts for the most part attacking via the other side of the pitch. Would like to see a loan extension after the month deal is finished.

Another mention to the Eastleigh streaming team. I believe it was the first time that they have done a stream and apart from a few buffering issues at the start, I had no problems. It didn’t have the bells and whistles as the Torquay stream but was more than acceptable and thank you (to all clubs) for providing the fans with live matches content.

Key Moment: 

Not making the most of our first half chances!

For all the good chances we created in the first half, if you don’t score the goals, you invite the opposition the chance to make you pay and Eastleigh did just that. I’m not saying that had we taken our chances we would have won the game, but I think we wouldn’t have lost. I think most fans would agree that 3-1 Torquay at the break would have been a fair score at half time. Sadly at 1-0 and a poor display from the hosts, you knew that they would up their tempo in the second half and most likely wouldn’t play that poorly again and that’s what happened.

Eastleigh 2-1 TUFC
Photo courtesy of Graham Scambler

The Officials:

As National League officials go, they were alright. Determined to make sure every throw was taken at the exact point it went out of play. The commentators on the Eastleigh stream made a few comments that he was inconsistent with some of his decisions but when you’re losing 1-0 you look to find blame anywhere you can. I thought they were alright. Will be better, will be worse.

The Opposition:

Another side who you would expect to be fighting for at least a play-off spot come the end of the season. They stayed in the game and ultimately got their rewards. Well organised and clinical when they needed to be. With seven goals in two matches, they know where the goal is and I expect them to mount a good challenge in one of the most competitive National League campaigns in recent history. Be nice to get one over on them eventually, bogey side for sure.

Conclusion:

A game of two halves. Torquay deserved the lead at the break but deserved to lose at full time. Wasted chances, a much improved second half performance from the hosts and a disappointing one from us cost us the game. It was always going to be a tough few opening games for us when the fixtures came out with many fans expecting both Stockport & Eastleigh to push for promotion this season. Our first half performance was excellent and the potential for a good season for us is definitely for the taking.  We just need to be more clinical when we get the chance in front of goal. We benefited from Stockport wasting chances a few days ago and been on the receiving end of that fact tonight. It should be a very competitive season and I’m encouraged in parts of our first two games so far. Hopefully we can get back to winning ways at Bromley on Saturday. Believe in Gary, COYY!!

View from the Deputy Ed:

It should stop coming as a surprise, if it still is, that Asa Hall is absolutely vital to our team. Like with so many areas of our squad, his fitness will be the difference between relative success and failure this season. That said, to completely contradict myself, we should try not to read too much into the first two games of the season. The old saying is usually that nothing is won in August. Now, nothing’s won in October. Matty

Social Media:

Up Next:

Bromley FC – 10th October 2020 @ Hayes Lane

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