To say the least, February was a pivotal month for non-league football, with the National League North and South being rendered null and void with other leagues below likely to follow suit. With this decision being made, up to 27 ExGulls have seen their seasons end prematurely. Luckily for Torquay United and fans of the National League, the show goes on and players like Josh Rees and Luke Young have thrived in the last month. The managerial merry-go-round has started up again with 1 casualty and a switch of Yorkshire clubs for another manager, and we also go for a trot around the globe as one ExGull switches Florida for Iceland in some transfer news!
Kieffer Moore – Cardiff City
We start off in South Wales again as Moore scored 5 goals including a brace against Coventry City. Cardiff City have returned to winning ways after the appointment of Mick McCarthy with Moore going from strength to strength. The Welshman has now scored 16 goals for club and country this season, with the most crucial of his strikes coming from the penalty spot in a 2-1 win away against A.F.C. Bournemouth. That win did push Cardiff City temporarily into the play-offs but they find themselves just outside them heading into March.
Darren Moore – Doncaster Rovers to Sheffield Wednesday
From one Moore to another, Darren Moore is one of the best young managers in the Football League at the moment. Most notable for his manager of the month award with West Bromwich Albion in April 2018, the former Torquay defender has done a solid job as manager of Doncaster Rovers guiding them into the play-offs as they look to return to the Championship. For Moore though he’s decided to take the opportunity at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday look to stay in the Championship. The Owls started the season off with -6 points due to breaching the League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules, if it wasn’t for that they would be outside the relegation zone, but only on goal difference.
BREAKING: We are delighted to announce the appointment of Darren Moore as our new first team manager!#swfc
Jayden Stockley seems to have found his old form since joining The Addicks on a temporary basis from Preston North End. He’s been nicknamed “The Headmaster” at The Valley and good reason why, as all 4 of his goals have come from headers, as well, they’ve all been assisted by Andrew Shinnie. Despite Stockley’s good form, Charlton haven’t won when he’s scored and their form has seen them slip out of the play-offs into mid-table.
Keith Curle – Northampton Town
Keith Curle became the 10th managerial casualty of the season in League 1 after being sacked by the Cobblers. This was after joining the club in October 2018 and last season guiding them into League 1 with a play-off win over Exeter City. Out of the 4 teams promoted from League 2, only Northampton Town currently sit in the relegation zone and after only 1 win in 10 games with 1 goal in 2021, Northampton Town made the decision to let the former Torquay United boss go.
John Marquis – Portsmouth F.C.
John Marquis only managed to add 1 goal to his tally for the season in February with his goal coming in a shock defeat to struggling Bristol Rovers. His poor run of form in front of goal has seen him drop to the bench in favour of Ellis Harrison.
Aiden O’Brien – Sunderland A.F.C
With his best month in front of goal this season, Aiden O’Brien has scored twice for Lee Johnson’s side as they mount a promotion challenge. His first strike came in Sunderland’s last defeat away against Shrewsbury Town, with his other goal opening to scoring as they beat Fleetwood Town 2-0 at the Stadium of Light.
Anthony O’Connor – Bradford City
In the last 15 games, no-one has won more points in League 2 than Bradford City (30) as they look to push into the play-offs. Anthony O’Connor has been an ever-present for the Bantams and the defender in February even got amongst the goals scoring an equaliser, which set Bradford City on their way to a 2-1 win over Morecambe F.C.
Ryan Bowman – Exeter City
Another striker who’s been amongst the goals this season is Ryan Bowman. The now Grecian has scored twice with the second equaliser coming in a 3-2 win over Bradford City. His second got Exeter’s opener but before half time he was given a straight red card, his first of the season and Exeter City’s second of the game as they finished their 1-1 draw away to Newport County with 9 men!
Baily Cargill – Forest Green Rovers
Not often do you see a defender score twice in a game, we’ve seen it at Plainmoor this season with Kyle Cameron’s brace against Dover Athletic and Baily Cargill joined the trend with his double in a 4-3 win against Oldham Athletic. Cargill who only joined Forest Green Rovers last month has now scored more goals for his new side then any other during his 8-year career.
For the first time this season, a Reidy goal didn’t turn out to be the winner. He scored the second against Bolton Wanderers to put Mansfield Town 2-0 up, but in the final 11 minutes Bolton Wanderers rallied and grabbed all 3 points with a winning goal a minute from time.
Joss Labadie – Newport County
He may be known better for his yellow cards but Joss Labadie does chip in with goals and his first of the season gave Newport County all 3 points as they beat Walsall F.C. 1-0. Frank Vincent did receive a yellow card, as Labadie became the 21st different goal scorer for the Exiles this season in League 2.
Josh Rees – Aldershot Town
What a month it’s been for midfielder Josh Rees. The former loanee has scored 5 goals including a hat-trick in a 6-goal thriller against Maidenhead United. He’s currently Aldershot Town’s top scorer with 7 goals and added to that tally with a last minute equaliser in Aldershot’s F.A. Trophy tie against Hereford F.C. Despite scoring his penalty in the shoot-out, Mohamed Bettamer missed his penalty as Josh Gowling’s side progressed to the semi-finals of the F.A. Trophy.
Tyrone Marsh – Stevenage F.C. to Boreham Wood
After 6 months at Stevenage F.C., scoring 1 goal in 14 appearances, Marsh returned to Boreham Wood on an 18-month contract. Since returning to Meadow Park, Marsh scored on his second-debut as Boreham Wood beat Maidenhead United 1-0. He also bagged the opening goal against Bromley F.C. as they drew 1-1.
Jamie Ward – Solihull Moors
In one of the many games Josh Rees scored in last month, it was Jamie Ward who opened the scoring at the EBB Stadium. Unfortunately the winger, who’s been capped 35 times by Northern Ireland, was substituted after 35 minutes due to an injury. That injury saw him miss Solihull Moors defeat to Torquay at Damson Park.
Luke Young – Wrexham A.F.C.
Always a fan favourite at Plainmoor, Luke Young is definitely one now at the Racecourse Ground. He scored from the penalty spot in a 2-0 win over Woking F.C. on what was his 100th appearance for Wrexham A.F.C. He once again was on the score-sheet as the Red Dragons breezed past Wealdstone F.C.
Only Yeovil Town have gained more points in 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣1️⃣ than @Wrexham_AFC 📈⚽️
2 of the current ExGulls strike force at Huish Park found the back of the net, as Yeovil Town have turned themselves into one of the in-form teams in the National League since the turn of the year.
Rhys Murphy, most notably scored a hat-trick against local rivals Weymouth F.C. in a 3-1 victory as well as goals against Altrincham F.C. and Boreham Wood. The latter of those games saw Reuben Reid score his first goal since returning to the Glovers in January.
Null and Void of the National League North and South
As it’s been well noted, the clubs of the National League were asked to either conclude or continue with the season. The first vote was for a resolution, which would’ve determined if teams voted for their own league or altogether. That resolution passed and teams would be voting on their own leagues. The National League continued to operate for the remainder of the season whilst, the National League North and South voted in favour of declaring the season null and void.
This saw the season end for 27 ExGulls including Billericay Town’s Jake Robinson who had scored 12 league goals in the National League South, as well as Ashley Hemmings who scored 5 goals and was in good form for Kidderminster Harriers in the National League North.
Rhys Healey – Toulouse F.C.
Healey was on the score-sheet twice this month as Toulouse F.C. look to push for an immediate return to Ligue 1. His first goal came as a last minute penalty in 3-1 defeat away to Auxerre, whilst his second opened the scoring as Toulouse F.C. beat Amiens S.C. 3-0 at Stadium Municipal.
Ronan Murray – Sligo Rovers to Drogheda United
Transfer news in Republic of Ireland has seen striker Ronan Murray switch Sligo Rovers for Premier Division new boys Drogheda United. Murray only scored twice in 33 appearances since joining from Dundalk F.C. in 2019.
Axel Andresson – Viking F.K. to Riga F.C.
The Icelandic defender, who made 4 appearances for Torquay United during the 2017-18 season, has made the switch from the Norwegian Eliteserien to join current Latvian champions Riga F.C.
After 2 years with Viking F.K., where he won the 1. Divisjon 2018 title (Norway’s second tier) a new challenge has arrived in the Latvian capital with a club who were only formed in 2014.
Alex Davey – Tampa Bay Rowdies to Akranes S.C.
Another defender who’s made a move in February is Alex Davey, who’s switched the warm weather of Florida for the snow of Iceland. Davey started last season’s USL with Hartford Athletic before making the move to Tampa Bay Rowdies, where he made 1 substitute appearance, as they became Conference Champions.
He’s now playing for Íþróttabandalag Akraness, or simply known as Akranes S.C. or ÍA, who are currently managed by former Burnley and Huddersfield Town midfielder Joey Guðjónsson.
Giancarlo Gallifuoco – Melbourne Victory to Kuala Lumpur F.C.
From Europe to Asia! Giancarlo Gallifuoco becomes the second ExGull, after Guy Gnabouyou to be playing in the Malaysian Super League after joining Kuala Lumpur United F.C.
The Australian defender left Melbourne Victory at the end of the 2019-20 season making 4 appearances after his second spell at Marvel Park, and is now wearing the number 9 shirt for the Super League new boys.
The keeper who’s spent most of this season on the bench, made an emergency loan move to League 2 strugglers Southend United. Bass went straight into the starting XI against Salford City and kept a clean sheet as they drew 0-0. Unfortunately for Bass, who’s had an injury hit season, he only played 45 minutes before coming off with an injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season.
Passing of Tony Collins
Unfortunately February saw the passing of 2 ExGulls. Tony Collins was the first black manager in the Football League in 1960, taking charge of Rochdale A.F.C. for 7 years. He was also widely recognised as a successful scout and hugely respected figure within the game. Collins spent 2 years at Plainmoor, scoring 17 goals and making 89 appearances for Torquay United before returning to Watford F.C. in 1957.
Passing of Gary McGuire
We also heard the sad news of Gary McGuire. The goalkeeper won promotion from the Fourth Division during his spell with the club between 1966-68, after a spell in Australia. After leaving the club he followed the Gulls from afar and attended away games whenever he could.