TT MATCH VERDICT
Matty Orton – @MattyOrton1
It is almost 12 months to the day since we were last in West Yorkshire, but we’ll get to that.
There’s certainly an element of freedom without expectation when playing away from home (not that the Shay is usually a cauldron of noise), but with stadiums still empty it turns home advantage on it’s head somewhat, so it would be interesting to see how The Shaymen responded after getting their last gasp equaliser against Notts County mid-week. West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester proved to be the most memorable away days of last season, but there would be no weird pies served in The Three Pigeons this time round as the Gulls sought to complete a three point plan. 1) Get in 2) Get the job done and 3) Get out. Mission accomplished.
It was prior knowledge for the Gulls that the excellent Randell would be out due to suspension, but the discovery that Dean Moxey hadn’t been named in the matchday squad came just before kick off. In came Gary Warren and Billy Waters.
It was a scruffy opening 15 minutes with both sides exchanging some soft blows. Torquay were struggling to beat the first man with set pieces, whilst Halifax were beginning to build with some patient play.
MacDonald was called into action as he had to palm Kieran Green’s strike over the bar. After gathering the resulting corner Mac distributed quickly and after a few passes the ball had found Whitfield down the left hand side after combining with Cameron.
Whits delivered a dangerous cross into the Halifax area and the ball found itself at the feet of the skipper Asa who swept home for 1-0.
Halifax had arguably been bright up until the goal but we seemed to be the most settled side at the midway point of the 1st half. Town were starting to struggle with ideas and within the space of 5 minutes on the half hour Kyle Cam had played his part as a defender, a left wing back and a striker. At this point Halifax were struggling to get a foothold on the game and the frustration from Shaymen was beginning to show. Despite this Nathan Clarke was doing a good job holding Halifax back-line which was consistently catching us offside.
It wasn’t pretty though. Both sides were guilty of giving away too much possession as there was no rhythm in either’s play and it was Halifax who finished the half the brightest despite United have most of the dominance.
Halifax started brightly in the 2nd half with a couple of quick corners. Then a minute after a stunning long range effort from Whits, Jack Hyde wins a flick on and plays in Jamie Allen. Allen got ahead of Warren who had slipped on the turf and dispatched into the bottom corner past Mac and it was 1-1.
The game then became stretched and on the hour we appeared to be sitting deeper and reverted to a flat back 4 with Asa holding. Kyle wasn’t having as much freedom coming forward as he was allowed in the 1st half.
Nemane had been a threat on the break all afternoon and a quick burst of pace into the box proved too much for Tom Bradbury who committed a late challenge just inside the box. The referee had a good think about it which resulted in him pointing to the spot.
Danny Wright was given the responsibility. He absolutely skied it and I’m sure he’d be still searching for it somewhere down the Calder Valley if he was asked to go and fetch it. A poor pen from him, still 1-1.
Halifax could have won it in the 81st minute. Niall Maher saw his effort parried behind by MacDonald. Bradbury had a golden opportunity to head home from the ensuing corner but his effort flew just over the crossbar.
A minute later and the ball is magnificently rifled into the Halifax net as Conor buried it with a magnificent turn and shot with power into the bottom right hand corner. 2-1 to the mighty Gulls and I’m sure relief for Danny!
It was then all about managing the last 10 minutes. Halifax had two corners in the 90th and 91st minute as it was backs to wall stuff, with some last ditch defending. The sigh of relief came when the ball went out for a goal kick and it was into the changing rooms and back down the M6 as soon as possible, in what was a very difficult but very accomplished and tricky away win.
MacDonald – 7. Pulled off a good save in the first half. Quick off his line and beat a defender to the ball once or twice. Another good save to deny Maher on 80 minutes and it was pretty much job done for Shaun. Despite not getting a clean sheet there was only so much he could do to try and stop Allen from netting the equaliser.
Wynter – 6. Wynts found himself a little at sorts today and I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that wasn’t his best performance. Neither was it his worst. Was frustratingly cut inside on a couple occasions and was stuck with the ball under his feet once or twice but overall his reading of the game and distribution of the ball was generally pretty good.
Sherring – 6. Made a crucial tackle on Jake Hyde in the 36th minute. But apart from that had a relatively quiet game. As I see it, that’s positive, as it meant he was consistently in the right place at the right time doing what he should be doing.
Warren – 6. Easy to point the finger here but I’m not going to and I’ll disagree with the thought that Warren had an overall bad game. Was not the only player to lose his footing on a poor pitch. It was just unlucky and frustrating that it led to Jamie Allen being in on goal for the equaliser. Should Jake Hyde have won the initial flick on? Played a crucial and fearless role when it came to defending the last ditch assault on our box in the closing stages and therefore gets a bump in his rating.
Cameron – 8.5. See MOTM
Whitfield – 6.5. The Yorkshire lad back on Yorkshire soil. An assist for Whits today. Probably didn’t find as much space as he is used too on the left hand side but combined with Kyle Cameron and found Hall with the cross who swept home for 1 nil. Had an incredible shot from distance in the 2nd half. What an engine this lad has and his tireless endeavour is always admirable.
Hall – 8. Two words for the skipper today – goal and class! But if you must ask for more, Asa was a key man as United bossed the game in the 1st half and the midfielder remained integral as the battle continued in the second.
Evans – 8. A fantastic performance from Conor who seems to have upped his game this season. Him and Asa were key performers in the first half and a brilliant finish from him to win the game. Also had a free header at the far post in the 2nd half denied by an excellent save from Woods
Nemane – 7.5. Showed some impressive and fantastic footwork at times and was a headache for Halifax all afternoon. Forced the foul for the penalty when the ball looked like it had ‘gone’ but gambled and got the foul. An impressive afternoon for Nemane.
Wright – 5.5. I think Danny Wright struggled for service today and was finding himself a bit isolated at times. . The penalty was poor and he was only spared the blushes thanks to Conor’s winning goal.
Waters – 6. Hold up play was good and chased down some lost causes with intent. Probably needs a bit more pitch time before he really gets going but the potential is there.
Umerah – 6. Josh seems to be a very feasible player to have come off the bench. A big strong unit, I feel he did what was required of him today – come on for 20 minutes, hold the ball up and generally be a bit of nuisance.
Andrews N/A – Too late to earn a rating, but an enthusiastic late entrance from Jake.
Do you agree with Matty? Rate the players here – TUFC PLAYER RATINGS
MAN OF THE MATCH: Kyle Cameron
A great game for the big man. Was venturing forward at will carrying the ball over the halfway line and dispatching cross-field balls at times with the audacity of Paul Scholes. Picked up a pedestrian booking in the 2nd half but despite this I think it could be considered one of the most accomplished performances we have seen from him.
I saw it as a 4-4-2 with Kyle Cameron at left back, although I’m not sure how valid that observation is. Kyle was pushing his way into the Halifax 18 yard box at one point. Billy Waters slotted into the line-up as a partner for Wright, but was happy to take positions up behind Danny and link up play around the midfield.
Tom Bradbury heading in rather than over in the 81st minute would probably have won them the game. Mac could have done nothing about it but watch it fly into the back of the net. That was the key moment as a minute later we had the ball in the back of their net and found ourselves 2-1 up. It could have gone either way.
Halifax carried a threat and gave us a good game. They had some good players in Jamie Allen, Tom Bradbury, Luke Summerfield, Jack Senior – who all played well. They just seemed to lack confidence and represented a frustrated outfit who have only managed to score two goals in a game once this season. The discontent resonated in the voices of the home commentary. They need to find a bit of consistency and generate a bit of tenacity, then they should be alright.
Good. Played a couple sound advantages, wasn’t card or whistle happy. The ref had a long hard look at the penalty and stuck to his conviction despite the linesman not flagging for it, which I believe was the right decision. No complaints.
2nd November 2019. The Shay. Halifax. Back when JR-19 was bigger than Covid-19. Back when Frankie Vincent and Matt ‘Paul Scholes’ Buse lobbied a midfield to dream about. Back when Kalala rolled one in half arsed because you loved to see it. Back when the sweet prince had once again pulled on the yellow shirt and back when Torquay United went two points off top of the league.
That of course, was as good as it got. From thereon in, the season mirrored the diminishing deviation of 2020, and the Gulls commenced a run of 10 hideous games that fatally wounded any chance of re-establishing Football League status.
With what felt like a very good but ‘lightweight’ and injury stricken squad, it had the disconcerting tendency to ‘go missing’. It had happened at Notts and it certainly happened during that long and arduous mid-season run.
Those names above (all of them), are now consigned to the chronicles of TUFC history along with last season and yet, despite the belief that team gave us, you can’t help but feel Gary Johnson has evolved and engineered his side in a way that could, and certainly should take us one step closer to getting the job done.
COYY – Matty
1st December 2020 – Wealdstone United @ Grosvenor Vale
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