TT MATCH VERDICT
Matty Orton – @MattyOrton1
After subsequently gaining the long awaited back to back wins, the pursuit now would be to go on and hit the run of form we critically require at the right time of the season. Victoria Road in East London would be the garrison we’d endeavour to achieve it on. Another old ground where a ball has been kicked on the same patch of grass for just over a hundred years.
It’s a long old trek from South Devon (where isn’t), so would usually be a game for the capital based fans to reinforce – disembarking at Dagenham East on the District Line and filling the Pipe Major pub not too far from the ground.
Daggers have been in good form recently and have reportedly felt hard done by with 3 wins and 2 draws in their last 6. Despite winning only 4 games at home this season they have generally, been a fair and consistent mid-table team
Their goal that stunned the 1,165 at Plainmoor back in December was a worthy, well worked winner that would have been distinguished in a game at least a couple of divisions higher. They then produced a 10 man, stubborn and resolute second half performance which won them the game. Most TUFC fans recognised the accomplished effort and were happy to accept it and move on.
When ‘moving on’ was a luxury, of course, where now anything other than a win would be considered a shortcoming for the dwindling chance we have of escaping this league automatically.
Johnson perhaps has had his hand forced with the way we set up prior to this, however, it proved to be the switch we needed which produced the results we needed. With Andrews in a position not unbeknown to him on the left and Randell on the right it enabled Law and Wynter to overlap, ensuring a bit of shape, balance and contingency to a side who had become repetitious and redundant of confidence just a couple of games before.
It was a 1st half that really didn’t produce much at all. Lemonheigh-Evans had a chance through on goal in the 11th minute but unfortunately a poor touch ran the ball forward just that little bit too much. Weston was starting to give Law a few problems in a game where both sides struggled for any real rhythm, movement or glitz. It would be difficult to find a passage of play where either side found more than 3 consecutive passes. Boden had a couple of wallops, we looked fairly solid at the back, the referee failed to give a blatant Torquay penalty for a Kenny Clarke handball and the ‘Geeza’ on the commentary was having his wife’s special lasagne for tea. That really was it. Scrappy and lacking any real quality.
It was averaging out to be a game where one goal would be prove to be the vanquisher, and so it would prove.
Dagenham had a stonewall penalty shout in the 51st minute with MaCallum getting bundled down in the box but once again, the referee wasn’t interested. It could be heard that the linesman was getting more than his fair share of stick from both sides, as the lack of conviction was starting to frustrate.
Lemonheigh-Evans then made an lively run down Dagenham’s right resulting with a burst of pace into the box and a pull back for Law who put a chance high and wide.
It was then time for new loan signing Benji Kimpioka to come on for Boden. He promptly put the Daggers keeper under constrain resulting in a scrambled clearance that hit the striker’s legs. As the game entered the last 20 minutes you could sense a goal was looming. It was tight and would need someone to find that pocket of space, that one turn or to make that extra yard for it to open up.
Umerah then joined the fray and, almost immediately he had found his point blank header denied by Elliot Justham who clawed away.
Daggers MOTM Kenny Clark, who had had a relatively easy afternoon, suddenly found his hands full with Kimpioka, as he had another shot saved. Moments later a very good handball shout for Torquay was waved away (for the second time).
Then, in a split second (*or rather as the stream froze) Dagenham scored their goal from a move down the left-hand side. Angelo Balanta found the space to pull the trigger with a sure strike across Covolan and into the back of the net on 80 minutes.
In a last ditch attempt in the dying embers of the game a long throw from Moxey into the box caused a scramble. Kimpioka pounced on the loose ball turned and rifled the it goal-wards with such force that Umerah found himself in the way of it hitting the back of the net. You’ve seen those go in, you’ve seen those penalties given. Put us out of our misery referee.
Covolan 6 – Felt like an assured presence at the back. Could be heard being loud and vocal in around his area and did what he could with trying to keep out the winning strike.
Wynter 5 – Wynter let himself down by backing off his man and failing to shepherd out the ball which led to Dagenham’s goal. Swing your boot at it and get rid. It was frustrating as he had spent the majority of the afternoon staying strong against some tricky customers.
Law 6 – He’s been bright recently and is positively a good player for such a young lad in that position. However, would have probably felt he was in at the deep-end when Weston turned him twice early on. Exactly the type of game he’s here for and will have been a big learning curve for him.
Sherring 6 – Dealt with most things chucked his way in a fairly solid display defensively in what was a tight game.
Lewis 6 – Again very much like Sherring, Joe was adequately comfortable for large parts of the game.
Hall 5 – Asa drifted through most of the match, and despite covering ground as usual he went largely un-noticed and was, for the most part ineffective. Not like him at all.
Randell 6 – Didn’t do a lot wrong in my opinion, possibly lost possession once or twice when he shouldn’t have but got wide and delivered some good crosses.
Lemonheigh-Evans 4 – Connor struggled with link-up play today. He got himself into a couple of good positions but didn’t convincingly have a shot on goal when he perhaps could or should have.
Andrews 4 – Unfortunately Jake didn’t deliver on his set pieces like we know he can, and like he has in the last couple of games. The ball bobbled on what was a poor quality pitch I’ll give him that. If you know you know.
Little 4 – He didn’t influence the game as we know he can – playing in the hole just behind Boden. I’m not sure Armani is the right player to be in there. Connor has played the same role before sitting in behind Jamie Reid and perhaps with both of them on the field it would be more effective with Armani playing wider and Connor central. The lad has ability but I’m not he was given the chance to utilise it from a more industrious position.
Boden 5 – Took two huge hits in the first half but chased lost causes and made it difficult for the opposition when he could, but needed the ball to his feet more than what he got.
Moxey 5 – Good to see Moxey back but will need time to get up to speed after returning from injury.
Kimpioka 7 – See MOTM
Umerah 5 – Didn’t find himself in the right position at the right time
Do you agree with Matty’s ratings? Rate the players here
Man of the Match – Benjamin Mbunga-Kimpioka
It’s always difficult to give Man of the Match in a poor quality game that you have lost but it would be Kimpioka, only for the potential he has to influence games. Perhaps this is the partnership pairing Umerah needs given the opportunity. A classic debut from a young lad who wants to impress and give everything he’s got.
He instantly made an impact charging down the Dagenham keeper from the off. He looked hungry, on and off the ball and with 6 minutes of being on had cut across the 18 yard area a looped a ball back in for Umerah, who forced the keeper to claw away in what was a brilliant save. He’ll give us that threat going forward we have severely missed of late.
Dean Moxey was a welcomed return to have in the squad. The other lads can’t get back soon enough.
Additionally, a quick mention for Ollie Watkins. In a week where a Torquay born lad gets on the score-sheet for England at Wembley. Yes it was in a friendly, yes Wembley was empty and yes it was against the worst ranked FIFA side in the world, but who really cares? Geddon Bey!
Johnson stuck to the previous 4-4-1-1, with a back four of Wynter, Sherring, Lewis and Ryan Law. In midfield were, Randell (right), Hall, Lemongheigh-Evans and Jake Andrews (left), with Little playing just behind Boden. Although not by any means the worst display we have seen this season, it proved to be a slightly bleak performance with no real demonstration of quality. Boden unfortunately didn’t have much to work off with Little seemingly too far off him, where presumably he should have been tighter and was therefore unable to offer any substantial balls to into feet. We never looked threatening until the cameo of Kampioka who, with the way he influenced the game, was unfortunate not to get more minutes than he did.
As I mentioned Dagenham were, and are, a fair and constant mid-table team. Nothing more nothing less. They have some good players in Balanta and Weston and don’t be too surprised if they ghost into that last play-off spot. Moreover, it’s a reflection of where we are right now, reverberating the definitive standard (a mid-table NL side) we now find ourselves playing at.
Bizarrely failed to commit to not 1, 2 but 3 stonewall penalties. Apart from that he ran the game well for who I believe was a quite a young referee according to the summarisers at the start of the game.
With the revocation of Dover’s points it becomes a situation where Sutton have won their game in hand with 13 games to go, and 39 points still to play for. We still play them of course. At this stage it wouldn’t be heedless I think, although slightly too early to say the title is gone, more fortuitous and random things have happened in the game of football, but that isn’t to say the next run of games up to and including April 13th will be season defining. We mustn’t deduct the importance of returning injuries. It was good to have Moxey back in the squad and the good news this week is welcomed by all but, nonetheless, as with any returning player, you watch with one eye open until they are fully up to speed and sometimes that takes time – time which is unfavourably less on our side as the games hollow down.
I found myself having a familiar phone conversation about TUFC with my mum on the phone the other day. As ever she gave me her familiar response. Imagine the thickest Devonian accent you can get and the relative of an 18th century Potato Rioter who was hung in Bovey Tracey (true story), she said “We never do things easy down ‘ere, and Torquay United certainly don’t!”.
For an extremely casual Plainmoor follower, you cannot deny, that is wisdom at its finest.