TT MATCH VERDICT
Clive Hayward – @Byehorse
Torquay did the right things at the right time tonight.
They hit the front early thanks to a good strike in the 8th minute from man of the match Jake Andrews. He converted a 25 yard free kick with a dipping effort which Solihull keeper Boot should have, nearly did but couldn’t keep it out. “He’ll” be reliving that moment all night.
The game was won and lost on 39 minutes. After producing very little, the visitors crossed from the right and ex-Gull Jamie Ward was unmarked 10 yards out. A player of his class will score 7 times out of 10 from there. Gloriously though, he screwed his shot wide. Seconds later Jake Andrews found an overlap down the left: his cross was on the money and beat everyone but Adam Randell, who had made good ground to sweep in a half volley at the far post.
As it should, this gave the home side a real confidence boost and they turned on the flicks & first time football we got used to before Christmas before the half time whistle.
The second half was more prosaic, but by Torquay standards it was very comfortable. The clock ran down quickly, and it was very much a case of a good job competently done.
Covolan- 7: Generally assured: only one dodgy moment late on. Positive in his distribution.
Wynter- 6: Little to report. No howlers. Didn’t get forward often.
Law- 7: Promising performance. With Andrews also operating down the left this was a strong area for Torquay tonight.
Sherring- 6.5: A clean sheet against a massive centre forward was a plus. Co-ordination with Lewis not always telepathic.
Lewis- 6: As per Sherring. Half a point off for a poor second half defensive header that could have been punished.
Hall- 6.5: Covered the ground well. Almost opened the scoring with a bullet header. Has had better games.
Randell- 7: Didn’t do a lot wrong and got into the right place for the killer goal.
Evans- 7: Some sublime touches, but little end product tonight.
Andrews- 8: All action. Took responsibility for set pieces and his free kick gave us a flying start.
Little- 6: He’s getting credit for the amount of minutes he plays at the moment. Did work hard tonight but didn’t threaten.
Boden- 6.5: What you see is what you get. Not a centre forward who gets the pulse racing but worth the shirt. Gives team-mates and indeed opposition centre-backs s target to hit.
Buse- Unbused (bused: get it??)
Koszela- Not tonight Olaf.
Waters- Replaced Little for last 5 minutes
Umerah- Replaced Boden on a technical knock-out at the end of Round 10. Never got going.
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Man Of The Match – Jake Andrews
He had a superb first half. He delivered with a good quality free kick and decent crosses. If we’re honest Ben Whitfield is irreplaceable but Jake is taking the chance to start with both hands.
Law: he looked confident tonight. Got forward well at times, and pretty much won his battle with the highly rated Barnett, who couldn’t find the right formula. If you want public spending gags, I’m your man.
Boden: we won’t remember this lad in 5 years time. He is the Journeyman’s Journeyman centre forward. Not blessed with pace or particularly gifted in front of goal, but he knows what he’s about. He’s like a tight end in American Football: always shows for the ball and will be black and blue in the morning having taken a pummelling with his back to goal.
A nice 4-4-2 basically, with Little perhaps a bit deeper than Boden. I understand that formation and for me, it works. At this level I’m not too worried about getting outnumbered in midfield: there is precious little quality in this league to cause any concern on that score.
Remember away fans? A good night for Moors supporters to stay 200 miles away. They started slowly, conceded early and when they missed their golden chance to equalise they were quickly punished. Never threatened. I almost feel their pain. I hope they manage to start selling some Land Rovers again soon.
Sian Massey-Ellis’s husband started the game but finished it as Fourth Official having been unable to continue. She may need to deploy his hot water bottle later. His replacement, Shelton Elsby, did fine on his big night out and nearly wore his whistle out on Josh Umerah, who clearly has no friends in the refereeing fraternity .
Another clean sheet, another three points. United were purposeful tonight and as we get to the business end of the season it’s all about the “w”. We have probably blown the league and I feel a horrible sense of wasted opportunity but it beats the hell out of a relegation battle.
COYY – Clive