In another talking points blog, the Ed discusses Saturday’s win at The Shay
THE STUFF OF CHALLENGERS
I almost said champions, but it’s still early days so I’ll stick to challengers for now! It was the sort of afternoon that could have easily gone against weaker, more fragile Torquay United teams. A key midfielder suspended, left back injured and a centre back moved over to unfamiliar territory, then a somewhat calamitous concession of an equaliser and a frankly dreadful penalty. But not this vibrant and resilient United outfit. Take it on the chin, puff out your chests and go again. Dig deep and despite a far from perfect performance find that winner. Promotion credentials proven for another week – reset, reload and go again Tuesday week.
TWO’S A CROWD?
First Nelson, then Umerah, then Britton and yesterday Waters. Something just doesn’t quite click when the Gulls use two upfront this season. Not that Billy did badly, his touch outside the box was pretty sharp and he was actively involved in many Gulls moves. But this Torquay United team just seem smoother when Connor slots into the hole behind Danny, and the Lemon can cause havoc in the opposition’s penalty area – more about him later! 4-4-1-1 was arguably our best option last season with Reidy up top and with Danny happy to lead the line, I’d say nothing has changed in that respect.
Speaking of the Lemon! CLE’s winner was a thing of pure beauty, hit with the ferocious veracity of someone at the peak of their powers. We’ve had some delightful moments this season already and his arrowed finish slots right in amongst them. Connor, aided manfully by the evergreen Asa, probed and pushed in the midfield from the off. Finding space in the midfield and on the wing, this lad is an intelligent footballer and at this moment in time there can’t be many better in the National League. Fitness and form permitting, around 10 goals awaits for the Ex-Bristol City man. Cracking.
OFF THE BALL
What’s the differences between last season’s inconsistent team and this season’s table toppers? Well there is a few, but a major one for me is the work rate off the ball from United. Whilst Halifax allowed us time and space to build attacks especially in the first half, United hustled and harried their counterparts. Little things like pressurising a centre back to miss-place a pass or getting tight on the strikers to win back possession. This hard toil (drilled in expertly by GJ) is crucial to winning matches. One player who epitomises this tremendous attitude is Aaron Nemane. Aaron’s heart for the fight has shone through and he never stops charging around the pitch for the good of the team – making late blocks to help United secure the 3 points. Never take that sort of work ethic for granted, it’s been huge in getting us to the top of the table.
MAC IS BACK IN TOWN
Crawley game aside the men in-between the sticks have been very solid so far this campaign, and in Cov’s absence Shaun MacDonald has stepped in with the confidence of someone who has no intention dropping back to the bench. Town did not blitz the Geordie with shots on target, but there was a firm tip over when required and general command of the penalty area to help out the defence. Mac’s decision making let him down too often last season, however the initial signs are better these past two weeks of a more composed keeper pushing again to be no.1. Decisions for GJ to make.
WATCH OUT ROBBO!
The new Andy Robertson has emerged in the bay! But seriously how brilliant was our Kyle on Saturday? It was a shame to see the defender shift to left back (and Warren did struggle in his place…but let’s cut the lad some slack please), however Cam showed his increasing confidence to play the position perfectly. He remained aggressive defensively, pushed forward with the ball and showed a lovely turn of pace to repel some potentially dangerous attacks. Strong versatility from a strong player. Well done big man.