@ExGulls gives his latest monthly update on ex-Gulls
October saw the return of football to the National League, which also saw a majority of ex-Gulls get their seasons underway. Some, just like the current nest of Gulls got their season off to a flyer, whilst others had an October to forget. A couple of players have joined new clubs as well as player who made his European debut!
An added bonus, we’ve also looked at ex-Gulls involved in the F.A. First Round with a few involved in some upsets!
Angus MacDonald (Rotherham United)
October will be a month defender Angus MacDonald would rather forget. Signing for Rotherham United in the summer after leaving relegated Hull City, he scored his first goal for Rotherham United, but unfortunately it was a last minute own goal in a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town
The game after didn’t go any better for the defender as he received the Millers first red card of the season. Norwich City went on to win the game, 2-1, with MacDonald’s straight red card being shown when the game was 1-1.
John Marquis (Portsmouth F.C.)
On the other hand, it’s been John Marquis’s month! He’s managed to bag himself 6 goals in 8 games in all competitions for Portsmouth F.C.
Kenny Jackett’s side were 21st at the beginning of the month before pushing themselves to 7th by Halloween. At the time of writing he is currently the top scorer in League 1 with 7 goals after 11 games.
He’s managed to score braces in wins over Sunderland A.F.C. and Northampton Town to give him the early lead for the League 1 golden boot.
Conor Wilkinson (Leyton Orient)
In League 2, Conor Wilkinson, just like John Marquis, has had an outstanding month finding the back of the net on 5 occasions with 4 of those goals coming in the league. One of his strikes came after only 4 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Exeter City. Orient still sit within the middle of the table, but if Wilkinson can keep up his good form it will only see the Orient push up the league and look towards a play-off spot.
Saikou Janneh (Newport County)
From one striker who was on loan at Plainmoor to another, as Saikou Janneh scored his first Football League goal with Newport County’s winner against Tranmere Rovers. Janneh has been regularly making appearances for the Exiles since joining on loan from Bristol City, which not only has it been great to see but is another reason why Torquay is an ideal place to loan young players to as they’ll be able to make the step up to the Football League.
Adebayo Azeez (Dover Athletic)
In our last report we mentioned that Adebayo Azeez had left Newport County but on the opening day of the season it was announced that the striker had returned to Dover Athletic. He’s played in every game, apart from the 2-0 defeat at Plainmoor and managed to score the winning goal as Dover beat Eastleigh F.C. 3-2 at the Crabble.
Nathan Blissett (Maidenhead United)
In the summer Nathan Blissett left Solihull Moors to join Maidenhead United in search for first team football and under Alan Devonshire the striker managed to register 5 appearances for the Berkshire side, so far. The key moment for him though was his first goal for the club, equalising in Maidenhead United’s 2-1 win against Dagenham & Redbridge. This was Blissett’s first goal since August 2019 scoring a hat-trick for Solihull Moors in a 6-1 win over Chorley F.C. in last years National League season.
Jamie Ward and Krystian Pearce (Solihull Moors)
Solihull Moors announced the signing of two former Football League regulars in October. At the beginning of the month they signed the Northern Ireland international Jamie Ward who left Scunthorpe United at the beginning of the year. The forward, who was initially training with Solihull, signed a one-year deal before the opening day where he scored a penalty in their 2-1 defeat to Woking. Since then he has not been included in a matchday squad.
Solihull also signed experienced defender Krystian Pearce, towards the end of the month, on a short-term deal. Pearce left Mansfield Town at the end of last season made his debut for the club in a 3-1 defeat away to Maidenhead United.
Louis Britton (Stockport County)
The freshest ex-Gull, Louis Britton returned to Bristol City the night of the Aldershot Town victory, prior to when his loan was due to expire. It was announced later that week he would join Stockport County on loan where, at the time of writing, was yet to make his first start for the National League title hopefuls.
Joe Quigley and Rhys Murphy (Yeovil Town)
Ex-Gulls playing for the same team seems to become more common as the season goes along, Joe Quigley left Dagenham & Redbridge to join Yeovil Town and has already got off the mark for the Glovers, scoring and converting his penalty in a penalty shoot-out as Yeovil Town knocked Dover Athletic out the FA Cup. Also in that tie, Rhys Murphy scored twice in the opening 30 minutes to give the Glovers a 2-0 lead. Later that week, Quigley, got his first National League goal of the season in a 2-1 defeat to Sutton United.
Ashley Fletcher and Jared Lewington (Tiverton Town)
From 1 striking duo of ExGulls to another and at Ladysmead and it’s been a sensational start to the season for Alex Fletcher. He’s already scored 8 goals this season and added to his tally with a brace against Walton Casuals. Tiverton Town ran out 5-0 winners that afternoon with Jared Lewington also adding his name to the scoresheet. Unfortunately for them both, due to Tiverton Town are not classed as an ‘Elite-Team’, so they will not being playing throughout November.
Manny Duku (Raith Rovers)
Manny Duku has had a thunderous start to life in Scotland. Duku who struggled to adapt to life at Plainmoor has settled in well at Stark’s Park scoring 4 goals this month. He was Raith Rovers’ top scorer in the Scottish League Cup netting in both games but their run was ended away to Hearts of Midlothian. Duku has also scored his first brace for his new side as he as they beat Queen of the South 5-2 as Raith Rovers have recorded an unbeaten start to their season.
Mikkel Andersen (F.C. Midtjylland)
Mikkel Andersen may not be a name that familiar to Torquay fans but he had a brief 3 game loan spell in 2008 from Reading F.C.. The Danish shot stopper has mainly been a number 2 since returning to F.C. Midtjylland but due to injury to first choice keeper, Jesper Hansen in their 3-2 win away to Brondby I.F., Andersen made his Champions League debut against Premier League Champions Liverpool F.C.
Liverpool FC ran out 2-0 winners with goals from Diogo Jota and a last minute Mohamed Salah penalty but it was still a night to remember for Andersen.
Alex Davey (Tampa Bay Rowdies)
Despite only making 1 substitute appearance, Alex Davey and the Tampa Bay Rowdies were confirmed as USL Eastern Champions and were due to play Phoenix Rising in the USL Championship Final. Unfortunately, due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Tampa Bay Rowdies team the league decided that the final won’t be played and there won’t be an overall winner on the USL Championship.
Jamie Reid (Mansfield Town)
After a difficult start to the season at the Stags, Reidy finally bagged his first goal for Mansfield this week in the Papa John’s Trophy away to Scunthorpe. The first half volleyed finish ended up being the deciding goal, and Jamie will be hoping this is just the start of things under new boss Nigel Clough.
FA Cup First Round
Two players were involved in the biggest upsets of the First Round with former fan favourite, Elliot Benyon, winning a penalty for Oxford City against League 1 side Northampton Town. It was scored by Josh Ashby, which put the National League South side 2-1 up and managed to hold on to set up a tie against another League 1 side, Shrewsbury Town.
Modou Touray was also involved in the biggest upset of the weekend as Nothern Premier League Division One North West side Marine F.C. beat League 2 Colchester United on penalties. Touray got the shoot-out up and running sending the keeper, Dean Gerken, the wrong way. In the next round they’ll be hosting National League South side Havant & Waterlooville.
From one shock via a penalty-shoot out to another, as Shaquile Coulthirst and Boreham Wood knocked Southend United out the cup. Being brought on in the final minute of extra time, Coulthirst couldn’t convert his spot kick, but his teammates redeemed the striker as they make the trip to Canvey Island for a chance to be in the hat for the Third Round.
We mention earlier that Krystian Pearce joined SoIihull Moors on a short-term deal and on his second start scored his first goal for the club. Solihull beat Scunthorpe United away from home 3-2, they’ll be making to trip to Morecambe F.C. in the Second round. Frankie Vincent wasn’t involved in the tie.
Anthony O’Connor marked his 100th appearances for Bradford City, scoring his first goal for the club as they avoided a shock to National League South side, Tonbridge Angels by putting 7 past the side from Kent. They’ll host League 2 strugglers Oldham Athletic in the next round.
RIP Gordon Astall
Lastly, we finish off with the passing of former England international, Gordon Astall. Astall was most notable for his time spent at Plymouth Argyle and Birmingham City but ended his playing days at Plainmoor, making 34 appearances and scoring 10 goals. (Stats according to Torquay Fan Stats) He passed away at the age of 93.