Sam Druiff – @samdruiff
Torquay made it five league wins on the bounce in front of the BT Sport cameras as they competently beat Hartlepool by five goals to nil. The table topping Gulls had the chance to extend their gap at the top to five points after pre season favourites Stockport fell to defeat at home to Weymouth.
Johnson named one change from the mid-week trip to Aldershot by replacing Josh Umerah with skipper Asa Hall, making a five man midfield. United opened the scoring eleven minutes in after Plymouth’s Adam Randell made the most of the Pools’ very wide defence to play a gorgeous ball through to Danny Wright who coolly finished into the bottom corner with his left foot. On fourteen minutes, good work from Torquay down the right hand side saw a great headed lay off from Wynter beautifully finished by Wright on his right foot this time, 2-0 with no sign of stopping. Hartlepool, clearly rocked, were playing some risky, lethargic football at the back, and when the inevitable wayward pass was made, the energetic Ben Whitfield pounced and with a composed finish to put the Gulls three goals to the good.
Into the second half and Torquay were at it again, Hartlepool didn’t really offer much and Johnson’s boys smelt blood. Fifty six minutes in and good work from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans found Whitfield who dinked a perfect ball in for Wright to head home a perfect hat-trick. Johnson made a few changes, taking off Asa for Jake Andrews, giving Armani Little some minutes for Whitfield, and bringing Gary Warren on for Dean Moxey to see the Gulls home and dry. It was late on when the last sub, Gary Warren, poked home a Kyle Cameron header to cap off a five goal thriller.
In truth, Hartlepool never really looked anything like troubling the Yellow back line bar a couple of chances. I must admit, this is as good a Torquay side I’ve seen, and if we can stay injury free, I believe we can go far this season.
Covolan – 6 – Untroubled really. Solid when called upon.
Wynter – 7 – Faultless on the right, assist for Wright as well.
Sherring – 7 – Same as Covolan really, reliable but relatively untroubled.
Cameron – 7 – See above, did get an assist that was very nearly another goal!
Moxey – 7 – Another good display on the left, adds that balance of experience that we would have relied on Davis for. Great understanding with Whitfield.
Nemane – 6 – Good game from young Aaron, very good on the ball and adds pace to a side that is far from blessed with pace. I do think his decision making needs improving, frequently overruns it. However, I’m so pleased he has proved me wrong, and keeping Jake Andrews out of the side is no mean feat!
Hall – 8 – Captain’s performance, adds so much structure to the entire side and for me is the lynchpin that holds it together. Wise from Johnson to take him off after an hour once the game was put to bed. Asa is as important, if not moreso, than Chris Hargreaves was in 08/09.
Randell – 8 – One of the best passes I’ve seen all season to set up Wright for the first. Again, consistent and is a real talent. When Little is fit, he gives GJ a headache!
Evans – 8 – My POTS so far, I was sceptical of him signing a permanent deal as I think he’s always been very inconsistent at this level, one minute he’s playing an Iniesta role, the next he’s almost a passenger. However this season he’s been one of the key players going forward and works so well playing just behind Wright.
Whitfield – 9 – Fantastic evening for Ben, who is just getting better and better. Set up Wright for a goal and scored a brilliant goal of his own. My favourite thing about Ben is he never stops working, absolutely everything you want from a player.
Wright – 10 – MOTM. See below.
Warren – 7
Andrews – 7
Little – 7
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MOTM: Danny Wright
Danny Wright. First time I think I’ve ever seen someone score a perfect hat-trick. I was pleased with the signing of Wright, he quickly adds the extra experience that we missed last season. Yesterday was the perfect performance, yes he scored three goals, but he also brought other players into the game, Hartlepool couldn’t cope and even went to a back three (I think!) to try and contain him. Danny read the game so well and I think if we use him correctly, he will be a league winning striker.
As mentioned, a 451 with Evans just behind Wright. Looking at that starting 11, it’s arguably our strongest with Little coming in for Randell at some point. All across the pitch there is a beautiful balance of experience and youth. The defence is more assured with Cameron maturing and Moxey holding the back line together. Asa controls the midfield and Danny leads the line. This side has a strong resemblance to the last conference promotion under Buckle in my opinion.
Opening goal, just showed how leaking their defence looked and set the tone.
Honestly, hardly noticed them – as it should be. Well done whoever you were.
Unbeaten before yesterday? One of the teams to beat? Sure. Looked poor from start to finish, no defence, toothless going forward and didn’t offer any real competition. Couldn’t cope with the massive big time yellows, unlucky lads.
COYY – Sam
Up Next: Crawley (h, on the BBC Red Button!) – Sunday 8th Oct, 12:45ko
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