TT MATCH VERDICT
Sam Jones – @samuellejones
It’s strange writing a match report for a game you’re not at. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of going to some far flung corner of the country, watching an utter shit show for 90 minutes, and then furiously writing the match report on your phone on the way home. Whether that be train, bus, walking or whatever your preferred method of transportation is. If the game has gone really badly, my Yellow shirt and furrowed brow tends to get me a row to myself, as I must give off warning signs like a poisonous insect that you would see on a nature documentary. But alas, that is not the case now. I can write this report from the comfort of my own living room, in my pyjamas, with my partner keeping her distance at my incessant chatter about my love for the Yellows. She’s a clever girl.
With Gary’s men having won 4 out of the last 5, and my sides still aching from the absolute pleasure that was Legends of the Buckle Era, I was cautiously optimistic that our winning run could go on. If this form continues, will we see a #LOTJE in about 10 years time? Asa, Kyle, Connor, Danny and all the gang back together as Johnson and Downes led us to the promised land of League 2. Am I getting ahead of myself? Probably. Anyway, back to the football…
Torquay started with their strongest possible line up. Covolan started in goal, with a back four of Wynter, Sherring, Lewis and Law. Andrews and Randell were on the wings, with Hall and Little in midfield. The Lemon lined up just behind Wright up front. The match started with United dominating, especially out wide. Law and Andrews were getting loads of space on the left as their blossoming partnership continued, and Randell and Wynter looked good on the right. First real moment of note came from the Terras, as United gave away a daft free kick which was whipped dangerously into the box. United cleared, and their dominance of the ball continued. A few dangerous crosses into the box from the wide men threatened to create a chance, but no chances of note occurred.
As the half ticked towards the 20 minute mark the game became a bit scrappy. Neither side could really create much, and Weymouth grew a bit of confidence. Cambridge loanee Andrew Dallas took advantage of some lax United defending to run right into the United box but couldn’t decide what to do with it and the home side cleared. That seemed to give the Terras a boost, who were having most of the ball at this point. United we’re trying to break, only for the final ball to be lacking and the move to break down. Little happened for the next 15 minutes, apart from the odd over hit cross or free kick into the wall. That was until United spurned their best chance of the first half. Some good interplay down the right hand-side led to Wynter putting the ball in the box. It fell to The Lemon only 10 yards out, who managed to steer it towards goal only for away keeper Ethan Ross to make a fine save. He really should have done better.
Five minutes later and United created another great chance. This time, a cross from Randell found Little in the box, who could only put the ball wide when well placed. The Gulls were definitely in the ascendancy. And then it went all Torquay United. Weymouth put the ball in the box, and the Yellows failed to clear it. As it flashed in front of goal, Wynter made a complete hash of it and was beaten by the Weymouth player. Cov then decided to leg it from his goal to help but only ended up crashing into Dallas, who went down like JR Ewing (one for the older generation I think). He dusted himself off and slotted the penalty passed Cov, who did get a toe on it. The half-petered out, and the Gulls were down 1-0.
The second half started and Gary had obviously given them a metaphorical rocket up the bum. He also made a sub, as Law came off for veteran Dean Moxey. United could have easily been level within 5 minutes of the half starting, or even ahead. Firstly, a long free kick into the box led to Joe Lewis hitting the bar from about 8 yards out. Then a beautiful corner from Andrews was met by the Viking himself, whose flicked header hit the bar again. United were having all the ball, but couldn’t create much. That was until the ball fell to Jake 25 yards out. After some aerial tennis, Wright expertly flicked the ball to Andrews. He took a touch and fired the ball into the back of the net, passed a despairing Ethan Ross. Beautiful strike and the Gulls were level.
The pressure didn’t stop there, as United could smell blood. Weymouth hardly touched the ball as the home team tried to find a way through. However, on too many occasions the final ball was lacking (heard that one before). They seemed to have most joy when crossing the ball into the box, as the away keeper did not look comfortable under the ball and kept deciding to punch it. Most of the time Weymouth cleared but on one occasion it fell to Moxey on the edge of the box, who twatted it over the bar.
The United were hunting in flocks now, like seagulls watching someone’s chippy dinner. They weren’t giving Weymouth a moments peace. After a couple of soft penalty shouts (one which incensed the commentators for some reason), United created what looked to be the golden chance. Some great play from Wynter slipped in Randell, who pulled it back for Connor. He decided to take a touch and try and place it into the bottom corner. Unfortunately this didn’t work as it was blocked on the line by Revan.
Gary decided to throw the dice and brought on two strikers, as Little and Wright were sacrificed for Boden and Waters. Immediately after that, United won a corner which Andrews went over to take. His peach of a cross was met by a flying Lemon who found himself in the right plaice to leap like a salmon to plant the ball in the back of the net passed a floundering keeper. 6 minutes left and advantage Gulls, who had surely caught this game hook, line and sinker.
The rest of the game dragged on for what felt like an age. Boden decided to try and fight the away keeper, and Waters fluffed it when put through by Evans. Deep into injury time, some sloppiness from Sherring led to a series of corners for Weymouth. Fortunately, despite some pinball in the box, these came to nothing and the Gulls held on for the win. 5 wins in 6 for Gary’s men, and only 3 points behind Sutton (even if they have a game in hand). Gary’s men don’t know when to quit, do they?
Lucas Covolan – 6: Despite the stupidity displayed when giving away the penalty, I though Cov had a good game. Looked very solid when called upon, and his distribution was excellent. The undisputed number 1 now, but there is still a nagging feeling that we could do better.
Ben Wynter – 5: Ben hasn’t been the same since injury, and he made a pretty daft mistake for the penalty. Going forward he did well enough, with one cross in particular that Little should’ve tucked away. There is still talent there, and he’s still a young player. He’ll be back.
Sam Sherring – 6: Solid enough, but a bit sloppy at times which lead to unnecessary pressure that could’ve let to a late equaliser. Forming a decent partnership with Lewis.
Joe Lewis – 7: So glad he’s signed full time, he is a cracking young player. Apart from one daft header which gave away a corner, he played very well and should’ve scored early in the second half.
Ryan Law – 7: One of the better loan signings this season, he’s very solid at left back and has a great relationship with Andrews. Bit surprised he was hooked at half time for Moxey, so wonder if he had a knock.
Adam Randell – 8: Excellent game from the Plymouth youngster, and definitely our best loan signing of the season. He caused absolute havoc on the right hand side and some of his cross field passing were almost erotic. Going to be playing in the Football League next season, hopefully with us.
Armani Little – 6: Much better from the man-bunned midfielder. Unsurprisingly he looked so much more comfortable when in the middle of the park, and knitted the play together well. Still a bit sloppy in posession, and his set piece delivery was crap, but he’s getting back to the player we want.
Asa Hall – 6: Broke up play, was a beast in the air and generally caused a nuisance in midfield. What more do you want from the Viking?
Jake Andrews – 8: Man of the Match. See below.
Connor Lemonheigh – Evans – 7: Best attacking midfielder in the League? He buzzed in the space between midfield and attack, with his movement and skill causing Weymouth so much trouble. His winning header wasn’t bad either.
Danny Wright – 8: The non-League Lewandowski, if the world class Pole was 36 years old and from Norwich. Despite being in the twilight of his career, he is so important to our attack.
Dean Moxey – 6: We were so dominant in the second half, he hardly had any defending to do. His long throw was a menace and he provided some experience on the left.
Scott Boden – N/A: Helped close the game out, and almost started a fight with the opposition keeper. Things you love to see.
Billy Waters – N/A: Ran a lot, fouled a couple of times and mucked up when through on goal. Is his middle name Benyon by any chance?
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Man of the Match: Jake Andrews
The Jake of a couple of seasons ago is back. He lined up in his natural position of wide left and was the best player on the park. Whether staying out wide, or drifting into the middle, he always looked to create something and drive the team forward. His finish for the equaliser was lovely, and his corner that for the winner was begging to be put into the back of the net. Where on earth has that quality been all season?!?!? No idea if we will see Whitfield again this season, but Jake is a more than worthy stand-in on the left hand side. Let’s hope Gary keeps him there.
Adam Randell is a classy player. He has slotted seamlessly onto the right hand side as a replacement for Nemane and had a very good game. His crossfield balls were excellent and he has a wicked cross on him. Danny Wright also deserves a shout out, as the big man is coming back to his best. Didn’t have many chances in front of goal, but his work rate was incredible and his hold play excellent. Got a cheeky little assist for the equaliser too.
United lined up in the 4-4-1-1 formation that served them so well at the beginning of the season. Considering the injuries we have, it was probably the strongest possible line up that we could put out. The only change was enforced, with striker Mbunga-Kimpioka having picked up an injury against Wrexham so Andrews came in for him. This meant that Armani moved from the left into central midfield with Asa.
United are at their best when they’re keeping the ball on the ground and passing between the lines. Today was no different, as most of the chances came with some nice passing down the pitch and a dangerous cross from out wide. However, when you have Danny Wright up top, the long ball option works well too. We still sorely miss the pace of Whitfield and Nemane on the wings, as often counter attacks would break down because of our lack of pace up front. The other big thing is, and I’m not sure if Weymouth are just crap at them, but we were definitely better from set pieces today. Hall and Lewis should have scored from them, before The Lemon did for the winner. The Jake effect? Probably.
Weymouth never really looked like they expected anything from this game. They we’re compact and sat deep in numbers but United still managed to create 5 or 6 good chances, which on another day they may have taken. They had moments of pressure, but never really created much and probably wouldn’t have scored if it wasn’t for the penalty. There are some talented players in their squad. Andrew Dallas is a tricky player up front, and Mensah and Revan at the back formed a good partnership at the back but it’s easy to see why they were in the bowels of the division. Their kit gives off Burnley vibes, and their style of play doesn’t help get that image out of my head either. Brian Stock the South Coast Dyche?
Karl Evans was today’s referee and he was absolutely fine. It’s always a good sign when you don’t notice the ref, but to be fair, there weren’t many decision to make. On the stream the penalty looked fair, and United’s various shouts for penalties probably weren’t. The only booking was for Weymouth’s keeper Ethan Ross for timewasting. I still wonder if a referee will give a player two yellow cards for time wasting, it would be a brave move but I would love to see it. All in all a good performance from Mr Evans and the rest of the officiating staff.
Not really sure there was a key moment in this game, but if I had to pick one, it would be half time. We weren’t bad in the first half by any means but in the second half we came out with a lot more oomph. Not sure how aggressive Gary and Downesy half time talk was, but it did the trick. No idea if it was quite East Thurrock levels of anger, but with United out for the second half so early, you probably could assume it was.
Who doesn’t love a later winner? Well, Woking, Wrexham and Weymouth probably don’t. The Gulls have now won their last 3 games with goals in the final 10 minutes, with the last two games coming from set pieces. This was a much better performance than the games against Woking and Wrexham, but none of that is as important as the three points. Now we have players back fit and not having to cram square pegs in round wholes due to availability, we’re winning games again. We are the absolute Yellow mustard.
We’re all aware that the form has been patchy in 2021. Not helped by the postponement of games due to Covid events or another hamstring biting the dust (Kai, I’m looking at you). But we are now starting to build up a head of steam as the season goes towards its final stretch. We’re developing this never say die attitude which means we still believe we can win games right up to the final whistle. With Sutton starting to falter, and key players coming back from injury, who knows what will happen now. But what I do know, is that Tuesday’s game at Sutton is absolutely enourmous.