TT TALKING POINTS: Dagenham (A)

TT Talking Points

Thomas

Thomas Kelly – @ThomasKellytufc

Tom Kelly discusses some of the major talking points from Torquay’s late defeat to Dagenham.

Benji Kimpioka looks an exciting addition to the squad

Prior to the game, Gary Johnson bolstered his squad with the loan signing of Benji Kimpioka from Sunderland (thanks Lee!). A pacey winger (something we have been crying out for since Nemane’s injury) came on early in the second half and his performance, I felt was really good. With a few more games under his belt could become a very exciting prospect for us as we speed towards the end of the season. Creating some good runs, skill on the ball and linking well up front with Umerah, he offered us something different and you can see that he will be a key player for us going forward. Prior to his sub we looked flat and devoid of any attacking impetus. He should have scored right at the end if it wasn’t for the brilliant defending of Josh Umerah in front of the Dagenham goal, but his impact in his 30 minutes or so was more than what most of our previous attacking loanees have offered since they came in so that’s a positive note on an afternoon where there were few.

The sooner Danny Wright (and the others) back into the side the better

Linking onto the first point, since Danny’s injury, we’ve really struggled to find our scoring boots and it’s definitely one of the reasons for our fall down the table. I really want Umerah to do well, as I do Street but neither have really offered much (although it’s fair to mention that both have had first team starts to a premium). You get the feeling that if Wright had stayed fit that at least up front, our goals for tally would be a lot better than it is currently. It’s great to hear that he is back in training and hopefully he should be back in the team soon. It may take him a couple of games to get back to full match fitness but I feel much more confident with him in the side than out of it. Him and Benji sounds a tasty partnership and could be vital in the coming weeks. Same goes for the likes of Whitfield & Cameron, key players coming back will help shore us up and hopefully get us back on track.

A draw would have been a fair result.

Previous games against Dagenham have always been a tight affair and I expected no less today. Watching the highlights of the Hartlepool game they played on Tuesday night, you could argue that they deserved a point from that considering the chances they created. After a drab first half, the game slowly opened up in the second half. Their goal came after we had put some good pressure on the hosts and despite not being able to see it due to a conveniently timed crash of their livestream, it would appear that a defensive error lead to them scoring. We possibly should have had a penalty in the first half, they definitely should have had a penalty in the second. We should have levelled it right at the death but we all know what happened there. On another day that ball ends up in the back of the net. Sigh…

Josh was unlucky not to score

If there is one player who I really want to do well it’s young Josh Umerah. I find it amazing the number of “fouls” he apparently gives away from referees in this division. Everyone will remember his contribution to Dagenham in the last minute of the game, somehow deflecting Benji’s strike destined for goal wide of the post. Yet he was denied a goal by a brilliant save by who I feel is a really underrated keeper in Elliot Justham. He clawed away Umerah’s close range header destined for the top corner away from goal. He really needs a few goals, doesn’t he? With appearances mostly coming from the bench and those returning from injury, will Josh get many more chances to (try to) impress?

The long ball tactic didn’t work and our passing was in general poor

I’ve always maintained that when we pass the ball around, we play better football. Easy really. The first half we reverted back to long balls to try and unlock the Daggers defence. We didn’t get too many chances other than CLE getting in but was unable to get his shot away. Both teams were sloppy in the first half with ball retention and it led to a very poor half of football. Our set pieces were again shoddy for most parts of the game and it was only until the introduction of Benji that our passing began to improve. The pitch was bouncy and bobbly in places but Dagenham were able to deal with the long balls quite easily and our real chances only came when we were able to string some passes together.

The subs helped yet hindered us at the same time

Gary brought on Benji early in the second half which was a good thing. To take off Andrews was a bit of a weird one for me. Little was largely ineffective today, moving into a central midfield role after a few games in where he seemed to play more in the Whitfield role and did a pretty good job against King’s Lynn & Solihull Moors. Andrews did manage to get a couple of good set pieces in the box on another afternoon where we were very wasteful with the ball and I think it should have been Little to have made way. His shot which was closer to hitting the aircraft flying towards London City Airport proving his final moment in the game. Since moving back into his preferred position, he was definitely had his best games (shock horror!) and although he didn’t light up the pitch today, I think he deserved to stay on for Little, but what do I know?! I’m just a fan.

It wasn’t meant to be it for us on Saturday and with draws for Sutton & Hartlepool, it’s very much a missed opportunity for us to close the gap. Dover’s expulsion and subsequent loss of the three points from earlier on in the season has made our chase all the more difficult considering Sutton hadn’t played Dover yet, therefore not losing any points and pulling further ahead from us. Should our focus now shift to ensuring a play-off finish or do we still believe that automatic promotion is still achievable?  This feels very Torquay United like doesn’t it? Onto the three W’s next, keep believing and COYY!!

Tom.

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