Gulls fans will have been delighted to see Danny’s name on the team sheet for this massive game. It’s been painfully obvious that without the triple threat of him, Whitfield and Nemane in the side we have been a completely different team over the second half of this season. The fact that we have still made the playoffs is partly down to some decent performances (eventually) from those who remained, but also testament to how far ahead of the pack those three had put us in the first place.
After just thirty-odd seconds, he rose like a leaping salmon to guide the opener home, and although Notts responded well, found himself in the perfect position to drive home Adam Randell’s clever pull-back early in the second half, restoring the lead. He knows exactly where to be, and when to be there, and with willing runners positioned strategically around him, Wright remains a real goal threat at this level. I hope he’s lying down on a chaise longue somewhere, being gently fanned by a handsome muscular gentleman and fed grapes like a revered Egyptian queen, because we need him fit and ready to do the same again next week.
I’m afraid we need to talk about Armani Little – again. Frankly I’m a little (no pun intended) bored of it, but Gary keeps selecting him and so he keeps writing himself into these Talking Points blogs. On his day, there is absolutely no doubt that the man has talent, but if that day only comes twice a season, that’s a problem. On Saturday he was slow to track back for the first Notts goal and failed to really challenge for the cross that was diverted home for the second. In a crucial playoff semi-final, he should have been busting a gut to protect the lead, but he was outrun, outjumped and outfought.
If you look up ‘luxury player’ in the dictionary, you probably won’t find an entry because it’s far too niche and just a silly thing to look for in the dictionary – but if you did, you’d find a picture of Armani Little, standing over a corner that’s about to hit the first man.
I was starting to get worried going into the 30-minutes of extra time. Maybe I shouldn’t have been – as well all know, this team has proved on numerous occasions already this season that they are capable of a late turnaround. But I just had a feeling that Notts were going to edge it, particularly when Danny Wright went off.
Pleasingly, I was proved wrong, and I think we had the fitness and composure to control spells of the game really well during this period. We were strong and confident, growing into the game, and bar a couple of genuine scares did what we needed to do to get over the line.
The Yellow Army
I didn’t get a ticket for this one as I had a pre-planned family event to attend immediately after the game. But my goodness, what an atmosphere it must have been. I am full of praise for the 1,709 Gulls fans in attendance, as on the TV it sounded like 18,000 and there never seemed to be a break in the singing. Notably, there was nothing but positivity, even when the Notts goals went in. There’s no doubt that we really made the home advantage count. Top marks, everyone.