TT MATCH VERDICT
Chris Wade – @TufcChris
Now, as a parent, there are some things that you have to think long and hard about. Allowing them to support Torquay United has been one the hardest. My biggest passion, my biggest hobby but one that brings so much heartache, joy and emotion. But today was the day that my 4-year-old son joined his 8-year-old brother, father and grandfather in Bristow’s Bench for the first time. He was in “Plainmoor Stadium”.
There was a pre-match boost with the news at 1445 that Chiori Johnson and Dan Holman had signed deals with the club. The former started on the bench and the latter in attack. A strong starting line-up on the pitch, with said 4-year-old asking for a midget gem at 1501.
United were on the front foot early in a 4-3-3 formation with Klaidi Lolos and Keelan O’Connell in wide positions and Holman in attack with Danny Wright. Holman’s ability was clear straight away, twice turning defenders and thumping right footed shots against the crossbar in the first 12 minutes. Another left footed effort fizzed just over from our new number 15. Skipper Armani Little was pulling the strings in midfield and also fired a shot just over on 36 minutes. O’Connell was alert and lively as well. The Johnson pass and move interplay was in evidence in a positive first half, with goalkeeper Mark Halstead a spectator.
The 4-year-old half time verdict was clear. “It’s great and I like Danny Wright even more in person than watching him on the computer”. He had the bug.
All that was missing for him was a goal, and the breakthrough came five minutes after half time. O’Connell stole the ball on halfway and exchanged passes with Holman, with the new man chipping the ball down the left. O’Connell attacked the full back and delivered a left footed cross onto the six-yard line for you know who to thunder in a header. Danny Wright and 1-0.
It only took six minutes for number two to arrive. Chippenham had played out from the back the whole game, and it proved their undoing. United had pressed well and did so again. The goalkeeper drove the ball inadvertently against Holman, and he was alert enough to regain his footing and smartly chip the ball in on the angle for 2-0.
The substitutions then began with Holman being replaced by ‘Player A’, Gabby Rogers, with Dan Martin, Jake Andrews and Johnson entering the fray soon after. After some nice early touches, Rogers really announced himself by picking the ball up 30 yards out and lining up a shot. He crashed a shot into the top right corner via a helpful deflection. The crowd roared (well, 621) and said 4-year-old was astonished by the “the power Daddy”. Rogers looks useful.
Mark Halstead was finally called into action to routinely push a shot behind on 83 minutes, and after Louie Slough had replaced Dean Moxey for the final seven minutes, the whistle was blown on a very useful 90 minutes. The fitness and sharpness is getting there.
Mark Halstead 6 – Not being harsh but he had virtually nothing to do.
Ben Wynter 6 – Solid enough and supported the attack well.
Joe Lewis 6 – It’s a struggle to give any defenders more than 6 as they had so little to do.
Ali Omar 7 – As above but was particularly dominant in the air, so gets 7.
Dean Moxey 6 – As cool and composed as ever.
Tom Lapslie 7 – I like him. Combative, competitive and gets forward. Also, the sort of bloke you want in your side, including shoving a Chippenham bloke to start some pushing and shoving. Like him.
Armani Little 7 – Another smooth game for the deputy skipper in midfield. He looks properly fit and ready to go.
Klaidi Lolos 6 – Looked comfortable in a wide position but didn’t hugely impact the game.
Keelan O’Connell 6 – Lively and good assist. Got a couple of hefty whacks.
Danny Wright 7 – Danny Wright. Simple as that.
Dan Holman 8 – See Man of The Match..
Gabby Rogers 7 – Sign him. Simple as that. Has a trick, good feet, alert and can thump it in from range. Very promising.
Jake Andrews 6 – Cruised around midfield and looks in good shape.
Chiori Johnson 6 – Real promise here and pleased to have him on board. Can cover various positions too.
Dan Martin 6 – Held his position well but not sure he will compete for Moxey’s slot from game one.
Louie Slough 6 – A couple of good runs from left back in his 7 minutes on the pitch.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Holman and Danny Wright
Now, two is a cop out, but there was an argument in the car home. Holman was excellent and looks just what we need and is the official Man of The Match from me, but in a surprising turn of events when asked, youngest son said “Danny Wright, it has to be Danny Wright”. So it has to be.