TT MATCH VERDICT
Clive Hayward – @Byehorse
I feel a bit like Ronald Reagan tonight. It’s ok- I haven’t been shot and neither have I reached for the hair dye. What I mean is this: the future US President earned his living in the early days as a baseball commentator, but he never went to a game. He called them from sleepy Iowa, based on wire reports and making his own sound effects. This is the 2020 version of that: I am sitting on my sofa watching the feed rather than shivering on the Pop Side. I miss Plainmoor (my choice) but it’s nice and warm here and the catering is better!
It was a first half of ridiculous dominance from the Gulls. They started like a house on fire, having a first header on goal with a minute gone and Maidenhead keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond was already wasting time by 7.40 pm. Ben Whitfield was buzzing around having shots saved and Danny Wright was a real threat. The keeper looked a worry for the visitors, and on 10 minutes he dropped the ball at Wright’s feet. Danny got his shot off but it was straight at the keeper: it bounced straight back to him and he contrived to hit the post with his follow up from a yard out.
Was it going to be one of those nights?
Maybe not- Asa Hall had been everywhere in the first 45. He had had a goal disallowed as he outjumped the hapless Ashby-Hammond to nod home. A soft free kick saved Taye’s bacon on that occasion, but in injury time Hall hit a beautiful first-time volleyed pass from the centre circle into Whitfield’s stride. The Belting Bingley Bantam lobbed into the wide-open goal with a lovely finish that was probably a lot harder than he made it look.
After a shaky first half, Ashby-Hammond did really well at the start of the second, with a double save to deny a fiercely hit shot from the Lemon and then recovering quickly to turn the luckless Wright’s follow up around the post.
Maidenhead’s first shot on goal was more likely to trouble the Cary Park pigeons than Shaun MacDonald, and after 58 minutes Torquay put this game to bed. Randell whipped in a dangerous cross from the left and Danny Wright did what Danny Wright does- great movement to get ahead of any marker and glance a header low into the right hand corner. He should have had a hat-trick tonight but a goal a game will do nicely.
That, as Reagan might have said, was the ball-game. Maidenhead huffed and puffed. MacDonald pulled off a smart save from a well-struck 30 yarder and claimed the resulting corner convincingly.
To be fair to Maidenhead, they kept going and it was slightly annoying to concede with 8 minutes of normal time remaining. We failed to pick up properly on the near post and luckless sub Matt Buse could only get an earhole on the ball as it flashed past him into the net.
Torquay saw the game out with as much assurance as Torquay ever will. Bums may well have been cold but nowhere near squeaky. Three more points. Good performances all the way through the team. What a season this could be. Do I jinx it by starting to turn up? Yeah, probably!
Macdonald – 8: Little to do. No errors.
Sherring – 7.5: I didn’t really notice him. Is that good?
Cameron – 8: Got forward occasionally. Never troubled.
Kerr – 8.5: Solid. No nonsense.
Andrews – 8.5: Lively. Nearly brought the house down with a late free kick that clipped the bar.
Nemane – 7.5: Not his best game but some lovely touches. Good player.
Hall – 9: Excellent throughout. Won everything, controlled the game. Had a goal disallowed and made the crucial first.
Randell – 7.5: Committed. Needs to eliminate the occasional rash challenge.
Whits – 8: Lovely finish. Too good for Maidenhead.
Lemon – 8: Never stopped running. Popped up everywhere across the front line. On another day he could have scored several.
Wright – 8: Should have scored several. One will do nicely though.
Warren – unused – myxomatosis?
Buse – 8 (On for Whits, 81) : An action-packed 10 minutes. Put himself about. Great attitude. Surely Taunton’s greatest ever journeyman.
Waters- 6 (Lemon, 74): Harsh probably. Game was fading away by the time he got on
Covolan – unused. I’ll give our Samba Stopper a courtesy 8 for turning up on a cold night.
Umerah – 7 (Wright, 68): Gives away too many free kicks. Never gets the 50-50 call. Institutional racism?
Do you agree with Clive? Rate the players here -> TT PLAYER RATER
Man of the Match: Asa Hall
Asa Hall. Ominously perhaps, the game was again sponsored by MB Insolvency. They concurred with my decision though, so if I ever need to be liquidated I won’t hesitate to call them in.
Good games from most. This team is delivering on a consistent basis. Whitfield and The Lemon have really found their feet this year and look class acts. MacDonald is my second choice but he’s done very well since the Crawley debacle gave him his chance.
A word for Matt Buse. Another player I wouldn‘t go out of my way to praise but he’s towelled himself off after his spell in Bath and looks fit, keen and up for the fight.
Nah. Dunno. Sorry- it’s not my thing really. Same starting XI as Saturday. We mixed it up a bit: played through the midfield at times, but it’s lovely to have Wright to hit up front early when we want to.
Limited. I really feel for Alan Devonshire. He was a lovely player who would have run games in this league with his eyes shut. Bliss never hides, but he had one of his “nothing” games tonight. Flicked a ball on for a goal kick in the first half. Had a shot blocked in the second. At half time I thought that the keeper was a bit of a liability. Probably a bit harsh. He had an awful lot to do and didn’t disgrace himself. What were his parents thinking naming him Taye though? River where he was conceived? Mum’s favourite beverage?
Referee was a Mr Quelch. I kid you not. I thought Asa was unlucky to have his goal disallowed but it’s a decision most refs would have made. Linos impeccable. Offsides looked right, and not a dropped flag in sight.
This is going unbelievably well. I thought having fans back in the ground might give them the jitters. Six points in 4 days seems to be the answer to that. We’ve looked the stronger side by far in all our recent matches and we are worthy table toppers.
COYY – Clive
NEXT UP: 12th December – KING’S LYNN (a)
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