Thomas Kelly – @Tommyktufc
Ten games in, it’s clear we aren’t as strong as we were last season.
They say ten games tends to be a good indicator to judge the strength of your squad for the season. Gary already made it clear that ten games was too long and that changes would have to be made after a slow start to our National League campaign. Whilst we have some talented players in the squad, it’s clear that right now we aren’t as strong as we were last season and you would expect Gary to utilize the loan market very soon, subject to funds being made available. It was always going to be hard to replace players like Randell and Sherring for example, but you get the feeling that the current signings we’ve brought in aren’t at the calibre as those who moved on last season. 13th (albeit having played a few games more than other clubs below us) is probably about right right now. Nothing is won or lost this early in the season but before long we need to get a few wins in a row under our belts to inject some confidence into the squad.
Shaun is our number one!
Since Shaun’s return to the team, we’ve looked much more comfortable (in the main) defensively and in my book, Shaun is once again our number one keeper. He’s vocal and commands his box well, much better than Halstead in my opinion. I feel more confident when Shaun is in goal for us. I can’t fault him for either goals last night and Boden took his penalty very well. It will be interesting to see how Gary goes forward from here with three keepers on the books now. I don’t think we will see the return of the weekly rotations like we did with Mac and Cov before but Mac has certainly improved us from a keeper standpoint that’s for sure.
Boreham Wood were clinical, we weren’t.
Boreham Wood have always been a tricky outfit in the National League. Despite the small fanbase, the club benefit from the link with Arsenal, sharing their ground with the Arsenal Ladies games from the WSL. They’ve started this season well and despite matching them for the majority of the game, the Wood were clinical when given the opportunity whilst we weren’t. Let’s not forget that they currently lie 2nd in the National League and as we discovered, they are a tough side to break down. They aren’t the side you would want to be chasing the game, and we huffed and puffed but never really looked like threatening Ashmore in the BW goal.
Inconsistency reigns in the NL and there is lots of football still to play!
Despite our relatively poor start to the season, if there is one thing that this National League is, it’s that anyone (maybe barring Dover) can beat anyone. Our 5-0 thrashing of Wealdstone showcased that when the majority of our players play at their best, we are more than a match for anyone in this league. Unfortunately, consistency is something that we are finding difficult to grasp and often if a couple of our better players have a poor game, the rest of the side tend to follow suit. We’ve shown great character for example playing for over an hour away at Notts County and coming away with a point and finding the spirit to score two late Gary time goals away at Chesterfield, but we’ve also had some really poor results which has dented confidence in some of the lads, such as our 4-0 home defeat to Woking and 3-1 opening day defeat to Alty.
That said, despite some of the money that has been thrown around so far, we find ourselves directly behind Wrexham, Stockport & Notts County in the league table, all clubs who have spent big to try to reach the EFL. With 34 games still to be played, nothing is won or lost this early in the season, remember how well we started then fell away after the New Year? If we hit form at the right time, who knows.
Once again, the Yellow Army did themselves proud.
We sure do rack up the miles as Torquay fans, boosted by I’m sure a lot of exile London based Gulls fans, the Yellow Army made up for a third of the attendance at the Wood. I’m not all convinced that Boreham Wood had 465 fans spread over the three stands but on a night of disappointment, the Yellow Army made themselves heard. Whatever happens on the pitch, we are a loyal bunch and it was good to see so many in Yellow in North London for a midweek game.
Win together, lose together.
Gary Johnson didn’t want to hang around much after the final whistle. No sooner had he shaken hands with the Boreham Wood manager, he was off down the tunnel, no doubt frustrated at his teams showing. Now, this is more just an observation than anything critical, but there were a few unhappy supporters at how Gary failed to clap the travelling Yellow Army at full time, this apparently not the first time it’s happened after a disappointing defeat.
No-one likes to lose and I can understand why Gary would not want to hang about to dwell over another disappointing result, but going back to the last talking point, we had a third of the crowd last night and I’ve always thought that the fans always deserve some recognition for their efforts. I know Gary appreciates us and of course when you win games it’s easy to celebrate with the fans and when you lose it’s much more difficult.
Hopefully you don’t think I’m having a go because Gary didn’t clap us, I’m not. He’s been the best manager we’ve had probably since Martin Ling. I can only say that this is what I observed and quite a few supporters were very vocal in their unhappiness about it as they left the ground, I think more in frustration at the manner of how we lost than anything else.
Hopefully we’ll get to see more of the Gary Johnson celebrations we’ve become accustomed too soon.
COYY – Tom