TT MATCH VERDICT
Elliot Milner – @Elliotmilner03
It really was a win/win scenario for Torquay today, United either lost and the Yellow Army would be pleased to focus on the league and have no further distraction to this already stellar campaign or we won, and could revel in the chance of a return to Wembley. The latter being eventually the case. After a spineless defeat to relegation contenders Dagenham on Tuesday, Johnson’s side highlighted a more commanding display against ‘the Generals’. Well at least I think we did, as I was unable to see half the pitch in the first half, due to the Chesham ‘cameraman’ not knowing how to wipe a camera and several technological mishaps which occurred throughout.
In the first half United wrestled with possession, creating a few good chances. One being a trademark deep cross from Jake Andrews, just escaping Ben Whitfield at the back post. Chesham were forced into an early substitution, which helped catalyse the Torquay attack. Just after, Armani Little (with his new headband) played a delightful switch to make-shift right back Adam Randell, who surged into the Chesham half. With ease he found Josh Umerah inside the opposition box, who laid the ball to Billy Waters, but the resulting shot was blocked by the oncoming Chesham defence.
Waters had another chance only minutes later with a ball being deflected over the top of the defence, after an intelligent Whitfield run. The deflected shot was flagged offside and Waters willingly placed it into the back of the net anyway. Chesham did have two free kick opportunities in the first half, but both were comfortably collected by Covolan, who had very little do before half time. There was little threat from the home side in the opening half, their most exciting sequence of play being the cameraman finally wiping the condensation off the camera, whilst agonisingly trying to reposition the shot, which took a few minutes! Meanwhile, Torquay had 2 corners which to my knowledge were unsuccessful. This was followed by numerous apologies by the Chesham commentator.
The Gulls came rushing out of the blocks in the opening stages of the second half and broke the deadlock. Armani Little’s floated free-kick from narrowly outside the left edge of the 18-yard box, was effortlessly headed home from six yards by Josh Umerah to put United into the lead in the 48th minute. Soon after another chance was gifted to Umerah from a centrally positioned free kick. A flicked ball fell to the striker at the edge of the six-yard box and he cannoned a shot onto the underside of the bar. Sadly for the Gulls, the raising of the linesman’s flag prohibited any debate on whether the strike has crossed the line.
Armani Little and Dean Moxey were both replaced mid-way through the second half, both giving decent accounts of themselves after coming back from injury. Chesham threatened United’s lead in the 71st minute after a terrific strike from attacking midfielder Bradley Clayton. The effort was stopped by an even better save from Lucas Covolan to keep the Gulls lead intact.
During the second half, the Chesham media team experienced a freak power-cut, which stopped the stream for a few minutes. What followed, was one of the best spelling and grammar displays ever to grace the county of Buckinghamshire and after switching the computer off and on they had somehow fixed the technical nightmare. Another chance late on from Clayton was then dragged wide, and this ended up being their last real opportunity as the ref’s whistle blew to confirm United’s entry into the next round.
Realistically, a match United should always have won, but I am not sure many of the Yellow Army are bothered about the success within the competition. A much needed break from the league campaign, allowed for a reasonably comfortable victory – this performance will hopefully put the team back on track to winning the league.
Lucas Covolan 7 – A fantastic flying save in the second half which kept us in the lead. After being out the team for a few weeks his solid performance today opens the debate about who should be #1 number one on Boxing Day.
Adam Randell 7 – A couple of penetrating runs, another comfortable and effective game for our make-shift fullback.
Gary Warren 7 – Solid game from ‘Dawlish’, controlled the back four well.
Fraser Kerr 6 – Went unnoticed, which is probably a good thing.
Dean Moxey 6 – A decent return, but not as effective as his counterpart Randell.
Jake Andrews 6 – Nothing exciting, a few unsuccessful balls into the box and none of his corners seemed to find a man.
Armani Little 8 – His darting runs with the cheeky one-twos was there to be adored in the first half and a trademark free kick assist in the second. Always creates chances, hopefully he suffers no more injuries.
Matt Buse 7 – A more accomplished display from the non-league Kante. Much improved from Tuesday night, probably because Gary started him in his natural position.
Ben Whitfield 6 – A surprisingly quiet game for Ben, I’m sure he will be back at the races against Yeovil.
Billy Waters 6 – Exciting first half but decided to boot the ball over the stand in the second.
Josh Umerah 8 – MOTM see below.
Connor Lemonheigh-Evans 6 – Came on for Armani, would have preferred to see one of the youngsters come on again for a chance.
Kyle Cameron 6 – Saw out the game well, not much else to say. Well done on 100 appearances for the Gulls Kyle!
Do you agree with Elliot? Rate the players here – TUFC PLAYER RATINGS
MAN OF THE MATCH: JOSH UMERAH
I have really warmed to Umerah over the season so far, always troubles the defence, makes himself a nuisance plus somehow never goes down and today was no exception. He held up the ball well on several occasions, allowing Water to play off him with ease. A straight-forward finish for his goal, but he worked hard and I would like to see him involved for a physical game on Boxing Day.
A simple 4-4-2, which did not change during the game. With Wynter still out injured, Randell had an accomplished game at right-back. The striker pairing was successful, but there was minimal support from the wide players going forward. I think we will revert back to 4-2-3-1 for Saturday and believe that is probably the formation where we have played our best football this season.
Being two steps below us, they did an impressive job keeping United at bay in the first half, especially due to them being forced into an early substitution. Their midfielder Bradley Clayton looked the only real threat for Chesham. They currently sit in 7th 4 points below our house-sharing mates Truro City in the Southern Premier South. From today’s performance they could maybe push for promotion into the National League South.
Scott Jackson was the referee at the Meadow. He did disallow a Torquay goal and a debatable goal in the second half, both being straightforward decisions. Waters was booked in the second half for booting the ball over the cleverly named Meadow End, another decision which did not need much discussion. Overall a comfortable game for the officials, which was made easier by there being no fans inside the ground.
After the loss on Tuesday night, a break from the league was very much needed for the Gulls, Hopefully this has allowed a few players to be rested and be refreshed for the big game against Yeovil. Personally, I am happy to still be in the cup and the outside chance of a trip to Wembley is always exciting. Fingers crossed it doesn’t affect the league campaign. This win should allow us to push on and get a result on Boxing Day, but until then Merry Christmas Yellow Army.
COYY – Elliot