TT MATCH VERDICT
Danny Burnell – @dannyburnell_92
And so that wraps up the pre-season schedule. 5 wins, 1 defeat, and most importantly vital minutes under the belt of the new recruits. In all honesty, it’s 5 wins we would have all expected. 3 Southern Prem teams, a lower half NL South team & the Bournemouth youngsters, anything less than maximum results would have yielded a slight cause for concern amongst the fans. But of course, as the football cliché states, you can only beat what’s in front of you. As we all know, results in pre-season mean nothing, it has zilch baring on the season ahead, its all about fitness, formation shaping and bedding in before the real stuff gets going.
Onto this evenings game, and what a pleasure it is to see fans back under the floodlights at Plainmoor, albeit only a few hundred of the hardy souls (and holidaymakers). Tuesday night’s and football go together like Bonnie & Clyde, like Tarzan & Jane, like errrrr. Graham & Gritton. Made for each other. Freezing cold November night, with the yellow army in full voice, with only a smattering of away fans, yes please, that’s what I live for.
In true Gary Johnson style, United were once again bolstered by the pre-match announcement that Gabby Rodgers has signed for the Club. The worst kept secret in Plainmoor was the identity of ‘Player A’, but GJ moved swiftly to acquire the Torquay born midfield maestro.
United would line up in a conventional 4-4-2. The keeper and back four of Halstead, Wynter, Omar, Lewis & Moxey. O’Connell & Rogers, providing the width, Lapslie & Captain Little in the middle, with Cheltenham 2015/16 up front. (Holman & Wright). The absence of Hall & Lemonheigh-Evans the concerns amongst the Torquay faithful for this final warm up.
The Gulls first attempt would come after just 20 seconds, as Rogers’ cross found Lapslie, but his header glanced just wide of the right post. It was a lively start from the home side, but it was in the 5th minute when Halstead was called into action. A mistake from the usually reliable Lewis allowed the Cherries striker through, but his attempt was comfortably saved by Halstead. In truth, he should have done better.
But, on 9 Minutes Holman lashed home to make it 1-0, after pinball in the Cherries box, and from then on there was no looking back. A well taken strike with a predatory instinct. Holman again made it 2-0 in the 34th minute with a swivel and shot, before a well greeted Ali Omar header made it 3 without reply a couple of minutes before the break.
Fortunately for the Gulls this young Bournemouth side were sticking to their ‘play out from the back’ philosophy, but unfortunately for them, more often than not the Gulls would win the ball high up in the final third create chance after chance. On the odd occasion their football did flow, Bournemouth did look quite dangerous. That, together with our sloppy mistakes will be the only downside to an otherwise dominant, pleasing half.
Half time verdict – the pressing was fantastic, the switch of play was superb. What more can you ask. The way the visitors were playing, and with our relentless press, it made for a very enjoyable first half.
4 half time subs entailed, with Johnson, Andrews, Lolos and Martin replacing Wynter, O’Connell, Wright & Moxey.
Torquay started the second half as they ended the first. More pressing, and it wasn’t long before Holman was presented with an opportunity for his hat trick . Unfortunately his effort was blocked by the on rushing keeper. A few moments later a weaving run from Lolos resulted in the bar being rattled and moments later it shook once again as good work from the Greek striker found Andrews, whose effort was inches from perfection.
As the game went on the subs kept on coming, with Moyse & Piper getting some more vital minutes, and it was the latter whose superb through ball found Lapslie. who coolly slotted home for 4-0. He was everywhere, not one blade of grass he didn’t cover. Hard to believe he scored just 3 for Colchester. What a player. The young cherries didn’t give up in fairness to them, and on the odd occasion they ventured into the Gulls half, they had the ability to cause issues. However, 4-0 is how it would stay and it wouldn’t be Torquay United without a slight concern. New recruit Rogers hobbled off with a few minutes left much to the annoyance of the gulls faithful. We hope it was a precaution and he’s raring to go in 11 days time.
Full time verdict – A very useful run out. The opposition weren’t up to much unfortunately. This was just their 2nd pre-season game so maybe that’s a factor, but in truth Torquay could have stuck in the sword and got a lot more on another day. As it was, a useful, team building, team bonding win which cements their 5th win of pre-season. The pressing game was a huge positive. The constant pressure they put on that back-line yielded a number of chances. Should that ploy continue, we could see some very exciting matches back at fortress Plainmoor!
Halstead: 7 – Very little to do, but he did what he had to well. 2 sloppy back passes in the first half allowed the forwards through, but the GK stood strong and never looked like conceding.
Wynter: 7 – Got forward well when needed, didn’t have a lot to do defensively. Good switches of play to the left hand side.
Lewis: 6 – Not his best game, sloppiness let Bournemouth for their first chance. Other than that, did what was needed.
Omar: 7 – Well taken goal and could have had a second. Solid performance.
Moxey: 7 – As per Wynter, good switches of play when required.
O’Connell: 7 – Looked lively in the first half, shame to see him go off. Won the ball back in the final third numerous times. Decent deliveries, needed consistently.
Little: 7 – Good captain’s controlled performance from Little. A sound pre-season from him, looks like he’s taken captaincy in his stride. Well marshalled performance.
Lapslie: 9 MOTM – Tenacious, powerful performance from the midfielder. Was everywhere at once. Breaking up the play, getting into great goal-scoring positions. Will be a important player this season for sure.
Rogers: 7 – Thought he did okay. Tried a little bit too much at times, but no doubt he will be a good signing.
Wright : 6 – Very little involvement in the first half. Quiet, but a good pre-season none the less
Holman: 8 – Two well taken goals and a constant threat. Could and should have had a hat-trick. Will be a very useful option this season.
Martin: 6 – Very little involvement. Game wound down in the second half.
Andrews: 6 – See above, won free kicks as he always does.
Lolos: 7 – For effort and desire I will give him a 7. Thought he continued to work hard and demand the ball. Better options available sometimes when though on goal.
Johnson: 7 – Like the look of him a lot. Will provide stiff competition for the reliable Wynter. Tracks back well and has plenty of pace.
Slough: 6 – Very little to do in truth. Looks strong though.
Moyse: 7 – A 7 just for that through ball alone. Had a promising pre-season. Interesting to see what GJ’s plans are for him.
Piper: 6 – Little involvement. Didn’t look out his depth by any stretch.
Marcin B: 6 – Think he touched it once.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Tom Lapslie
The midfield maestro. Absolutely top notch performance and no doubt he will be crucial to the Gulls this season. Already firming up as a fans favourite, his desire to get up the field was a pleasing aspect us fans maybe weren’t expecting. Took his goal remarkably well, and did the ugly side of the game with aplomb.
COYY – Danny