Chris Wade – @tufcChris
Never Give Up
Whilst natural talent is a large part of being a footballer, what you have inside your core is just as important. This group of Torquay United players have been incredible this season in their will to win and to never give up. The fact that it comes in a season where they have barely played in front of a crowd makes it even more incredible. Loads of times this season, I have thought to myself how the atmosphere would be up and how the crowd would be lifting the players. But we haven’t been there, so it has all had to come from each other and within. Yesterday was the 17th time in 35 matches that we have scored after the 80th minute. That is 49% of our games, virtually half. The passion, desire and determination is instilled in the players by Gary and Aaron, but doing it on the pitch is down to the players. The fact that the latest rescue mission came with ten men tells you all that you need to know about these players, and men. If they get us back into the promised land, we will owe them all a bigger level of gratitude than perhaps any other group of players in our history.
The latest loan signing made his first appearance in the second half. We have lacked natural width in recent weeks in the absence of Aaron Nemane and Ben Whitfield, although Jake Andrews and Adam Randell have done well in a slightly different team structure. Tomlinson is a young lad who has joined us on loan from Bristol Rovers after impressing and scoring in a recent friendly match at Plainmoor. Early impressions are that he is the kind of player that Gary likes. Diminutive in stature, he moved well with the ball and linked with his fellow midfielders. Although clearly left footed, he played on the right with the intention of cutting in onto his left foot. He didn’t get a lot of opportunities as Notts County were sitting on a 2-0 lead when he came on, but he was busy and lively. Another attacking player could be vital in the closing weeks of the season.
The Return of Dean Moxey
Left back has been a troublesome area at times this campaign. From Moxey’s suspension at the start of the season, to playing midfielders there, playing centre backs there and loan singings: continuity has been lacking. Dean hasn’t been fit all the time (and another suspension after his dismissal against Sutton didn’t help), but he is now back when we need him the most. In the last three games, he has been strong, decisive in all that he does and adds another option going forward. As the most senior of the back four by a mile, you can see his communication with his fellow defenders is helping them all. And then there is the long throw. Although not used as a base part of our attacking play, it is useful to have in our armoury. And boy did it pay off yesterday. The long throw in the 98th minute was flicked on by Joe Lewis and turned over the line by Ben Wynter. The long throw can be worth its value in key moments and there it was again.
This kid is incredible. The progression in him this season has been amazing and his ability is frightening. You almost forget at times that he is only 20 years old. He has played in central midfield, right back and recently on the right wing. But he has affected the game in all of these positions. On Saturday, playing off the right for 56 minutes before moving inside when Tomlinson replaced Buse, his touch and ability to spot a pass was excellent. He is able to see teammates with incredible vison and has the calmness to manage his way out of most tricky situations. He has been a breath of fresh air all season and his desire to win for a club that isn’t even his own his brilliant. But we won’t talk about that 100th minute free kick…
What Happens Next?
I have now reached the stage of the season where I want to know what ultimately happens. Where do we finish, do we win the league? Clearly this is ridiculous. We are now back to where we all want to be by the end of 29 May, but how are we going to stay there? There are tough home fixtures against play-off chasing Aldershot (at a push), Eastleigh and Bromley, as well as tough looking trips to Chesterfield and Stockport. Not to mention the final two games where the pressure will be at its highest against Barnet and Altrincham (with crowds). The injuries have bitten again, and it may well influence the results in the last seven games. When/if Wright, Whitfield, Nemane, Cameron, Little and Mbunga-Kimpioka are available could well have a key part to play in our ultimate destiny. But what is clear is that whoever puts on the yellow shirt will be giving their everything… until the final, final minute of the season.
COYY – Chris