TT MATCH PREVIEW
Steve Harris – @SteveHarris84
Match details: Wrexham versus Torquay United
Venue: Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Date: Monday 5th April 2021
Current form (all competitions):
Wrexham: D, W, W, D, W, L
Torquay United: D, L, W, W, L, W
Wrexham: Kwame Thomas 9
Torquay: Asa Hall 10
Head to Head:
Last time the two teams met: Torquay United 3-1 Wrexham, Saturday 5th December 2020
Torquay United strengthened their position as league leaders in front of a socially distanced crowd of 975 with a comfortable victory over Wrexham.
The Gulls were in front with the first attack of the game on five minutes when Ben Whitfield raced down the left hand side before cutting inside and slotting past Wrexham keeper Christian Dibble, following good work from Asa Hall and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans. United doubled their lead in the 17th minute from the penalty spot when Kwame Thomas was adjudged to have handled the ball. Hall then converted the spot-kick to score his fifth goal of the campaign.
Wrexham reduced their arrears in the 19th minute when an Elliott Durrell corner picked out Theo Vassell, who nodded home his first goal for the club. In the 35th minute, Vassell produced a goal line clearance to deny Whitfield after he connected with a cross from Aaron Nemane.
Two minutes later, United’s top scorer Danny Wright, who appeared for Wrexham between 2011 and 2013, narrowly headed a Jake Andrews cross wide. In first half injury time, Whitfield teed up Lemonheigh-Evans for a shot which hit the post.
Early in the second half, Whitfield and Lemonheigh-Evans both blasted over for United before they had a penalty appeal turned down after Adam Randell appeared to be have been felled. The Gulls then forced a succession of corners, which were repelled by the Wrexham backline. Wrexham found themselves restricted to half chances as left back Jamie Reckord drilled a shot from distance wide on 67 minutes.
United restored their two-goal cushion in the 74th minute when Whitfield turned provider for Lemonheigh-Evans who made it three for the Gulls with a close range effort. With ten minutes to go, former United midfielder Luke Young curled a free-kick wide for Wrexham. A minute later, substitute Adi Yussuf was denied by a last ditch tackle by Gulls’ defender Kyle Cameron, as United remain two points clear at the top of the table.
Manager: Dean Keates
Dragons’ manager Dean Keates returned to the Racecourse Ground for a second spell as manager in October 2019 following the dismissal of Bryan Hughes. He had previously led the Dragons to the brink of the National League play-offs before departing to take charge of his hometown club Walsall, where he began his playing career in the 1996-97 season. Following the club’s takeover by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElenny, Keates will be looking to lead the Dragons to another play-off spot in the 2020-21 season.
Keates also played for the Dragons between 2011 and 2015 and was part of their FA Trophy winning side in 2013, when they beat Grimsby Town on penalties in what was Wrexham’s first ever appearance at Wembley. As a player he also appeared for Hull City, Kidderminster Harriers, Lincoln City, Peterborough United and Wycombe Wanderers.
One to watch: Luke Young
A player who needs no introduction to Torquay United fans, Luke Young joined the Gulls in 2014 after making over 100 appearances for his home-town club, Plymouth Argyle after progressing through their youth set-up.
He soon became an instant hit with Plainmoor faithful as he helped to spearhead a run of six straight wins between August and September 2014, which made an immediate return to the Football League for the recently relegated Gulls seem like a reality. Young then followed this up with what was arguably his finest moment for United when he scored a stunning 40-yard volley against Wrexham on October 4, 2014; he then went on to win the first of his three player of the year awards at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Injury then meant that Young missed most of the 2015-16 season, but he still managed to return to play a part in helping the Gulls to secure their first ‘great escape’ under Kevin Nicholson.
After returning to full fitness in the 2016-17 campaign, he once again played an influential role in helping United avoid relegation a second time under Nicholson. Over the course of the season, he scored six goals and played a key part in both goals in the Gulls’ 2-0 win over North Ferriby United on the final day of the season. He also lifted his second player of the year prize.
However, despite completing a hat-trick of player of the year awards in the 2017-18 season, he was unable to prevent the Gulls being relegated to National League South and he joined Wrexham in the summer of 2018.
In his first season at the Racecourse Ground, he helped the Red Dragons to reach the National League play-offs – an achievement that they are currently looking to emulate in the 2020-21 campaign.
View from the Sofa by Sam Jones
To use a rough quote from Football Manager, “These runs can be tough on the legs, but the momentum they generate is fantastic”. If Torquay can win today then, following the horrible win against Woking, that would be 2 wins on the bounce and 4 in 5. This will be tougher than Woking though, as Wrexham are a better side. However, they are ravaged by injuries too and are missing most of their first choice front line. I’m cautiously optimistic, especially as Poirot could definitely beat Deadpool in a fight. Dewch arnoch chi felynau!
Tyler French – Shaun Pearson – Theo Vassell
Reece Hall-Johnson – Jay Harris – Luke Young – Jamie Reckord
Jordan Ponticelli – Dior Angus
Ben Wynter – Sam Sherring – Joe Lewis – Ryan Law
Adam Randell – Asa Hall – Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – Jake Andrews
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