Clive Hayward – @Byehorse
Decisive early and late strikes earned Torquay another crucial 3 points in windy Derbyshire this afternoon. It brings back memories of another big May Day Bank Holiday win many years ago when we scored two late goals at Halifax, leaving promotion (from Division Four) all-but assured. That was 1988, and I’m sorry to say we cocked that one up good and proper. I’m really starting to believe that this season will be different and deliver silverware as well as that all important Golden Share.
Just for a change, it was the rules on loanees’ availability that depleted us today, rather than injuries. Scott Boden’s replacement Benji Mbunga-Kimpioka had an afternoon to forget, but his partner Billy Waters has hit rich form at the business end of the year and his late goal put the result beyond real doubt after a sharp opener from Lemonheigh-Evans ten minutes in.
This was Torquay’s first ever league win at Chesterfield, although we did break our duck there in 2011 when nobody who saw Nicho’s free kick sail into the top corner will ever forget it.
Their “new” ground is undeniably a huge upgrade on the dilapidated Saltergate, where I recall several soul-destroying afternoons sitting on wooden benches in a stand which should have been condemned years earlier. It has had more name changes in its 11 year history than a scrambling paedophile and the sign-writer’s most recent job has been to copperplate: “The Technique Stadium”.
Torquay started much the better of the two teams, and caught the Spireites napping on 10 minutes. Randell found Andrews in space, who shaped to shoot but instead picked out the Lemon with a cute diagonal pass. One touch and a deadly left foot finish into the bottom right hand corner gave us a lead we never much looked like surrendering.
Apart from a 5 minute spell midway through the second half Chesterfield looked a mid-table side with low confidence playing against stone cold title contenders.
Harry Maguire’s brother Lawrence has plied his trade for Chesterfield for several years now. He looks a decent player too: physically imposing with a good left foot. He clearly knew what he was doing, and played well on the left of Chesterfield’s back three. I saw him ask the referee for free kicks once or twice, but as in London’s recent history The Lawrence Enquiry bore little fruit.
That’s enough puns to be going on with, Here come the ratings…
Covolan- 7.5: Difficult to mark keepers with little to do. Caught what he needed to and made an effective flap at a dangerous corner. He added his standard shithousery from an hour onwards and overall he’ll be pleased with his afternoon.
Wynter- 7: Untroubled defensively. A nice bit of shepherding and a well-timed tackle to snuff out a counter-attack the highlight.
Warren- 7.5: A rugged performance against a dangerous striker in Danny Rowe. Minus 0.5 for the inevitable booking.
Sherring- 8: Assured. He’s had several partners this season and has been consistently good.
Moxey- 8: Continues to roll back the years. Positional play and distribution still Football League standard. I’d keep him this summer with that in mind.
Hall- 7: Not showy. Little that I can remember but in a solid away win that will do.
Randell- 8: How we would love to keep him. He’s going to play a lot higher than League 2 though. His passing is of a superior quality. Could probably run the game from centre midfield but he’s established on the right and is a Rolls Royce of a young talent.
Lemonheigh-Evans- 7.5: Lively & involved as ever. Showed his versatility by starting in midfield and then moving into the “hole” to accommodate Little in second half.
Andrews- 6.5: Perhaps a little “off” it today on left side. He does have dips like this and I wonder if he could maybe get a bit fitter. Lovely pass for the goal though.
Waters- 8: Did everything we wanted today. Looking very sharp with clever turns and spins. Took his chance like a barracuda dispatching a poorly mullet. He was so alert to see that the ball was going to drop nicely on the edge of he box and rifled it home before anyone else had time to react
Mbunga-Kimpioka- 5.5: A wasted afternoon for our Swedish starlet (©D Thomas). Struggled to show his ability but I wouldn’t quibble with selection in Boden’s absence
Little- (for Mbunga-Kimpioka, 56 mins)- 6: Slotted into midfield necessitating the Lemon moving up the pitch. Produced little. Stayed the course. I wonder if we’ve seen the best of Armani. Nice lad, gifted footballer but probably a luxury if we get promoted because League Two will be a big step up for us.
Buse- (for Andrews, 71 mins)-7.5: Devotees of my match reports will know I’m not a fan. Matt did very well today though. Strong, energetic and did play a couple of nice passes. Well done.
Umerah- (for Warren, 81): On paper, a very attacking substitution but in fact a reshuffle meant this was not so. Josh hardly got a kick but who cares?
Koszela- Unused. Still a much better player out of the side than in it.
MacDonald- The Geordie custodian may not feature again this season, but he’s earned a title winner’s medal.
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Man of the Match
Billy Waters, for me. He’s at the top of his game now and is a great asset. Billy worked hard for his second goal in 72 hours. I love a striker who disappears for long periods and appears ghost-like to break opponents’ hearts. He did more than that today, but his killer goal today was a rapier thrust which administered the coup de grace to the labouring Spireites.
Adam Randell. Excellence comes as standard with this lad. We’re going to hate him when he’s running Argyle’s midfield but he’s done us a massive favour this season.
4-4-2 at the start. Morphed into 4-4-1-1 after Little joined the party. Solid, but created enough chances to win an important game at a traditional Torquay graveyard.
Chesterfield weren’t bad, by any means. I’d have to say that we’re just used to winning games at the moment, and were better than them where & when it mattered.
It wouldn’t have been much fun for home fans, had there been any. Our early goal put us on the front foot. Danny Rowe looks a terrific striker, but often he was forced to come deep and try to win the game on his own.
I greatly enjoyed the contribution of their co-commentator, an ex pro by the name of Drew Talbot. Drew was clearly rooting for the home team but they disappointed him greatly. He hated most of the 90 minutes and his sighs and groans were music to yellow ears. Drew gave the Man of the Match award to Liam Mandeville, who was subbed without being able to Stoke a comeback.
Referee David Richardson was pretty flawless actually. Credit where it’s due. I don’t remember a controversial decision from him although his failure to book Covolan for his ever-inventive time-wasting might not have pleased the home team. The assistants were competent flag carriers.
This looks like a title-winning squad to me. Gary Johnson knows how it’s done and confidence is clearly high at the moment. It seems not to matter what fresh injury hell is visited upon us, the 11 selected are getting the job done week after week.
COYY – Clive