TT MATCH VERDICT
Harry Salvidge – @H_Salvidge14
Torquay United, for the third season in a row progress through to the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup under Gary Johnson. Despite playing a side three tiers lower it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Sholing F.C. who prior to kick off sit 10th in the Southern League Division 1 South, have good cup experience in the past, with a majority of the squad from the 2014 FA Vase winning squad, still at the club. Sholing are also a team who have played together for a long time with at least 9 of their squad playing 200+ games for the club.
As you’d expect in an FA Cup tie against lower league opposition, plenty of changes were made. Shaun MacDonald and Gary Warren both made their first starts of the season with Jake Andrews, Asa Hall and Josh Umerah all returning to the starting XI. Also a massive boost was seeing Armani Little return to the matchday squad for the first time since February, as well as the first inclusion of defender Fraser Kerr this season. One noticeable absentee from the proceedings was Louis Britton, both Torquay United and Bristol City agreed that he wouldn’t be played, as his parent club don’t want him to be cup-tied.
Dave Diaper, the Sholing F.C. manager, was treating this game like a First Round Proper tie and not for one minute did Sholing F.C. lie down and give up, giving Torquay issues throughout the contest. Both teams were slowly working each other out with both defences proving hard to beat and blocking every shot they faced. Corners were key for both sides and with Torquay utilising the in-form Kyle Cameron and Josh Umerah to make space in the penalty are and causing Sholing all kinds of issues. But it was a penalty that broke the deadlock before the break. With Gary Johnson playing with 3 centre backs and wing backs it allowed the likes of Wynter to express their attacking play. On this occasion, Ben advanced into the penalty area, and under the pressure from a Sholing defender went down. The referee pointed to the spot. A controversial penalty, some may say, with home fans and players alike appealing he slipped but with help from the linesman, the referee had made his decision. Up stepped Asa Hall, who converted the spot kick despite goalkeeper Ryan Gosney guessing correctly.
In the second half Sholing F.C. came out of the blocks stronger, Claudio Herbert who was the creator in the Boatmen midfield, caused Torquay problems within the midfield when he was on the ball and it was one of his free kicks that top scorer Dan Mason fired wide of MacDonald. More opportunities fell Sholing’s way. Striker Stuart Green, who returned after self-isolating, was sent through, but his pace was too much for the ball before losing control. Later he had a 1 on 1 with Shaun MacDonald, but the Gulls keeper had no trouble stopping the striker’s effort.
Torquay then punished Sholing for all their attacking play when they turned a set piece into pressure on the host’s goal. With Marvin McLean playing it back to keeper Ryan Gosney quite high in their half, pressure from Josh Umerah was too much for the keeper and from 30 yards, the former Ebbsfleet United striker lobbed home his first goal for Torquay with a composed finish.
Johnson brought on the likes of Aaron Nemane, Danny Wright and a returning Armani Little during the second half. Nemane and Little immediately caused Sholing all kinds of issues – Nemane with his surging runs in the middle of the park and Little playing delightful balls to the forwards when the chance came. Unfortunately for Danny Wright he missed a sitter, but it did fall to him at an awkward angle.
The referee turned down a last minute penalty shout for handball from the hosts, after Asa Hall’s goal-line clearance, which denied what would’ve only been a consolation goal for the hosts. Torquay are back in the hat for the FA Cup 1st round proper draw.
MacDonald 8: Called upon when needed and looked comfortable throughout the game to deny the likes of Stuart Green and Dan Mason.
Wynter 8: Won the penalty to give Torquay the lead and made good runs down the right hand side, also wasn’t afraid of moving out of position when needed in defence and attack.
Sherring 7: Unlike Bromley his passing wasn’t the best and gave away needless throw-ins within the game, but growing with each game and that can only please Gary Johnson and AFC Bournemouth.
Cameron 8: With this 3 centre back system being used in spurts this season, Cameron is allowed to move forward and join the attacks and helped in this way throughout the game, creating chances as well as hitting the post with a curling effort. May have been watching Randell’s goal v Bromley on repeat?
Warren 6.5: Needlessly gave away a free kick which earned the experienced defender a yellow card but kept leading the line at the back when Cameron pushed forward.
Andrews 7: Some crosses worked whilst others didn’t during the game, but never stopped attempting to create opportunities for the likes of Wright and Umerah.
Randell 6.5: Quiet afternoon for the Argyle loanee but didn’t stop throughout the game. Came off in the 61st minute, but that might be in preparation for Aldershot Town on Tuesday night.
Asa Hall 9: MOTM, see below.
Whitfield 7: Just like Andrews, worked hard creating chances but unlike Andrews, moved into the penalty area to create the opportunities.
Lemonheigh-Evans 7: Linked up well with Whitfield and Andrews as they continued to build on their link-up play with each other. Definitely growing into a leader in midfield.
Umerah 8.5: His best game yet for Torquay, caused issues during the game for their defence and worked hard on winning the ball. Also had the composure to finish from distance for a well-deserved first Torquay goal.
Nemane 8: Showed desire with the ball, running through defenders and sending in through balls. Just needs to work on accuracy on power with the passes, as some were too long for the likes of Wright.
Wright 6: Not an afternoon to remember for Wright, especially missing from close range. But he continued to work hard when Torquay had the ball in the Sholing half.
Little 7: After not playing for nearly 8 months due to injury we saw the reason why we miss him. Fantastic creativity and wasn’t scared of shooting when the opportunity arose.
Man of The Match – Asa Hall
Asa Hall showed why he dons the captains armband. A true leader in midfield who is more than happy to let others create opportunities and if mistakes were made by them, he was there to rectify things and keep the attack alive for Torquay. Keeping composure throughout the game, from scoring the penalty before the break to not letting the Sholing players get to him when they appealed for handball in the final minute, blocking a definite goal.
The biggest positive though is that he’s played a full 90 minutes, which he hasn’t done so far this season. Let’s hope he stays injury free and helps the other midfield players grow under his leadership.
Caused problems for Sholing throughout both halves, which can only please Gary Johnson. At times his positioning wasn’t the best for crosses by the likes of Andrews and Lemonheigh-Evans, but Josh kept plugging away. You could see his hunger to win the ball off the keeper, before finishing with a brilliant far range effort, and it was a strike that looked to kill the tie off.
He’s had one of the best starts to the season, and it has been noticed with two inclusions already in the Non-League Paper ‘Team of the Week’. He’s looked confident in both defence and attack in all of his appearances so far. We didn’t see so much of his aerial ability as we got last week against Dover Athletic, but we did see he has a capable shot on him!
Gary Johnson reverted back to the 5-3-1-1, or 3-2-3-1-1 formation. The back 3 of Warren, Sherring and Cameron looked composed throughout most of the game, which allowed Cameron to join the attacks as both Sherring and Warren were more then happy to sit back to prevent a counter attack.
The wing backs of Wynter and Andrews both had busy games, keeping attacks alive as well as moving the ball forward when possession was retained. You can really see a strong relationship on the ball with Andrews, Whitfield and Lemonheigh-Evans on the left and when the ball is on the right Wynter is making needed runs when it seems a teammate has entered a cul-de-sac. With Little returning from injury fans will be buzzing to see Torquay’s attacking play.
Credits due, where credit is due to Sholing. They made the afternoon tough for Torquay but you always felt that the Gulls had control of the game from the opening, with only the odd occasion of allowing the hosts back into it. Sholing worked hard on set pieces, creating some good opportunities but MacDonald looked confident to deny the ball going in. It also needed Hall at the end to make sure Mac got his clean sheet. Their only weakness was their counter attack, especially when they beat their man. They didn’t seem to have the composure to keep running with the ball and allowed Torquay to come back and defend.
Not the greatest day for the officials with some controversial calls for penalties being waved away by the referee. Still not sure if Hall had blocked the ball on the line with his arm or chest, but the Sholing twitter account felt pretty confident it did hit the skippers arm (see below).
Ben Wynter winning the penalty before half times seemed to be the key moment in the cup tie. It may not have been a penalty to the home fans and players but it put Torquay in control of the tie, and started to make the hill a bit steeper for Sholing F.C. to climb.
A positive day all-round for Torquay, progression in the cup where in the next round a potential Devonian derby against either Plymouth Argyle or Exeter City could become a reality. Other positives were a full 90 minutes for captain Asa Hall, as well as much needed game time for MacDonald in between the sticks, plus Josh Umerah showing what he can do, causing constant issues for defenders as well as the keeper. Also seeing the likes of Kerr and Little on the bench can only be a positive thing and they both could potentially be involved on Tuesday night against Aldershot Town.
COYY – Harry
National League – Aldershot Town @ The EBB Stadium 7.45pm 27th Oct 20
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