TT MATCH VERDICT
Joe Uglow – @Joe_Ugs
280 days since fans last entered Plainmoor, 975 socially distanced members of the Yellow Army were treated to a dominant display by the league leaders as they made it 9 unbeaten in the league.
With only one change from Tuesday night, Fraser Kerr coming in for Ben Wynter, Torquay started strongly, and there was only 5 minutes on the clock when United got a deserved breakthrough.
Asa Hall did well to win a flick-on header deep in his own half which set Connor Lemonheigh-Evans on a driving run. As CLE charged towards the halfway line, he switched the ball over to the left wing, finding Ben Whitfield in support. Whits cut in on his right foot and after forcing his way through some challenges, fired the ball into the bottom left-hand corner, 1-0 Torquay!
The boys looked up for it and set about searching for the second. Lemonheigh-Evans & Whitfield seemed to be involved in every promising attack as they twisted and turned their way through a sloppy Wrexham side.
In fact, the only way Wrexham could stop CLE was to scythe him down. Right back Horsfield flying in on him at knee height, out of control and nowhere near the ball, he was lucky to only receive a yellow card. Luckily for Connor he escaped without injury, but still needed lengthy treatment.
It wasn’t long before the Gulls doubled their lead, a corner was floated in, Kerr managed to get his head on the ball despite being held in a headlock at the time & the ball dropped to Hall who fired it towards goal, Wrexham’s number 4 Vassell threw himself at it and the referee pointed to the spot for a handball.
Asa Hall, back on penalty duties, stepped up & blasted the ball into the roof of the net. 2-0 Torquay and seemingly in control!
Or not! Straight from kick-off Wrexham set off to make amends and won a dubious corner on the left. The corner was floated in and Vassell rose unmarked to make amends & glance the ball into the far corner. 2-1 & game on!
Any hope that the goal would spur Wrexham on was short-lived as Torquay continued to enjoy the lion share of possession, cutting through the Wrexham midfield at will and forcing numerous chances.
Good work from Nemane found Whitfield at the back post who watched the ball all the way onto his right foot before driving his volley into the ground. The ball looped over the Wrexham keeper but unfortunately for Whits, not the Wrexham defender on the line who headed it clear.
It was once again so nearly 3-1 deep into first half stoppage time as the excellent Whitfield charged into the box before playing in Lemonheigh-Evans, whose shot was deflected onto the post and then diverted away from danger.
The half time whistle then signalled the end of a pulsating first half and the league leaders left to a standing ovation from the fans inside Plainmoor.
Midway through the second half Torquay had a big penalty shout turned down as Adam Randell found himself through on the left-hand side of the penalty area, only to be brought down by the lunging Wrexham defender. No penalty was the verdict, the ref giving a corner instead. Inside the ground it looked an appalling decision, but the ref would not listen to the Torquay protests.
We wouldn’t have to wait too long for the third though as good work by Sherring and Hall set the impressive Nemane off down the right wing, his switch ball found Whitfield who played in the outstanding Lemonheigh-Evans. He jinked past the Wrexham defender before stroking the ball home. 3-1 and game over!
Some excellent game management from the yellows saw the game out and the referee eventually called an end to proceedings.
GJ came over to the Popside for his obligatory winning fist pump as chants of Yellow Army rang out around the ground. It was like we’d never left.
280 days, Well worth the wait!
Shaun MacDonald – 6 – Not really called into action too many times, but when he was he made some rash decisions, coming for a couple balls that he got nowhere near, resulting in a yellow card and very nearly an unnecessary penalty.
Sam Sherring – 7 – Solid in the unfamiliar position of right back, marshalled Jeffrey fairly well towards the end.
Fraser Kerr – 7 – Looked solid enough, although does look susceptible to the ball over the top, a decent enough full debut.
Kyle Cameron – 8 – What a season he is having, won every header, made some crucial tackles, one in particular towards the end when Yussuf looked to have got the better of Kerr.
Jake Andrews – 7 – Looked at ease at left back, and was rarely troubled, having Jake in the side provides good balance at set pieces as well.
Asa Hall – 9 – Dominant performance in the middle from the Skipper, won his battles and nearly took the net off with his penalty. A proper captain’s display.
Adam Randell – 8 – Another impressive display from the young loanee, together with Hall, they made sure the Wrexham midfield didn’t get a sniff.
Aaron Nemane – 8 – He’s really proved a lot of people wrong this season, myself included, great engine, got forward well but also slotted in and helped out Sherring when we needed to defend.
Ben Whitfield – 9 – Everything seemed to come through him in the first half as he gave the Wrexham right back a torrid afternoon, his energy is unbelievable and he truly is a joy to watch.
Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – 9 – MOTM. Excellent display, more on him below.
Danny Wright – 7 – Put himself about and held the ball up when he wasn’t being grappled by the Wrexham defenders, nearly got on the scoresheet with a header in the first half.
Josh Umerah – 6 – Never really get going, however the referee didn’t give him any help, allowing the Wrexham defenders to use him as a climbing frame for most of the second half. His presence seemed to lead to us going slightly longer in the second half which I don’t think helped either.
Billy Waters – 6 – Billy had little chance to impact the game, as we were content with seeing the minutes out by the time he came on
Matt Buse – N/A
Do you agree with Joe? Rate the players here – TUFC PLAYER RATINGS
MAN OF THE MATCH: CONNOR LEMONHEIGH-EVANS
Excellent performance from Connor today, grabbing a goal and an assist. He’s really living up to his potential this season and it was clear Wrexham couldn’t handle him. He’s really improved his decision-making in the final third, and was a constant threat all afternoon.
The whole club – fair play to the club & the fans, I thought the organisation today was different class, everyone did their bit, & I didn’t encounter any issues all afternoon. Plainmoor felt far safer than many of the establishments that have been allowed to stay open throughout the pandemic. It felt great to be back on the terrace and hear all four sides roaring the boys to victory (through face masks of course)!
Initially from the warm-up it looked like we’d be starting with 3 centre halves however we ended up lining up in a 4-4-2 with Sherring slotting across to right back to accommodate Fraser Kerr at centre Half. CLE played a lot further up the pitch alongside Danny Wright and Nemane, with Whitfield providing the width. Randell & Hall ran the engine room in the middle and Andrews provided an outlet from left back all afternoon.
Wrexham were not great and appeared disjointed from back to front, really struggling to carve open many decent chances. Their defence looked shaky and they only really provided any threat when Anthony Jeffery came on towards the end. They’ll need some additions if they are to get anywhere near the play-offs.
I’ve been impressed by the standard of refereeing this season whilst no fans have been in the ground, but lo and behold the moment fans return, so do the awful referees! He got a lot of decisions wrong today, looked a stonewall penalty in the second half which he didn’t give and allowed the Wrexham defenders to get away with lots of pulling and shoving all afternoon.
A very impressive performance in what was a potentially tricky match. No doubt boosted by the return of fans to Plainmoor, some of the football on display, especially in the first half, was brilliant to watch. This really has the makings of a special season!
COYY – Joe