Luke Hunter – @lukehunter8
Luke discusses talking points from Saturday’s win against struggling Dover Athletic.
Saturday provided one of those classic Torquay United moments that I surely don’t need to recap at this point – as Chris pointed out rather eloquently in his post-match, football has a habit of dealing it’s own punishment and there was certainly a few in attendance left with egg on their face.
I think rather than bamboozle my way through scapegoat theory, or try and dissect what exactly it was that caused the MOTM reaction, I’ll take stock of where we are with Armani and address some facts and figures. Firstly, he’s our top scorer this season with seven – that’s one less than Billy Waters and Paul Mullin, and the same return as Rodrigues, and Wootton at Notts County. He tops the assist chart as well with six – twice as many as Moxey, who follows next. He’s vice-captain, remained loyal in the summer and finally seems to be enjoying a consistent run of matches without injury. Would I describe him as a set-piece specialist at this point? No. Is his game perfect? Absolutely not, and I’m not pretending otherwise – but who does have a perfect game at this level?
This is Torquay United, in the 5th division. Statistically, he’s our best attacking player – are people clamouring to drop him? Where exactly are those goals and assists coming from, otherwise? Stick with him (especially) for the 90 minutes he’s out there – and maybe a bit of encouragement might just be the influence he needs to refine a few of the other aspects of his game – he is still learning at 24, especially given the lack of game time of the last two years.
“If only they realised how important their positive support is to the lads” – Gary Johnson, post-match Dover.
This was a tricky game to navigate on the back of two weeks off – win 2-1, and it’s not good enough against lowly Dover, win 5-0, and well, it’s only Dover. We seem to be matching opponents at the moment, or *just* doing enough, but I’d rather that than the reverse and we are gathering a little bit of momentum now, with the potential of an ever better second half of November ahead. Three undefeated – four wins on the bounce at Plainmoor – these are good signs.
No, It wasn’t a very cohesive performance, I think we really missed CLE – but that probably goes without saying given his influence. We have specialists in midfield, rather than generalists (perhaps Lapslie aside) and I think it’s really crucial this season than ever to have a fully fit squad because they can compliment each other quite well when they’re all fully fit. At the end of the day though, there is no such thing as a bad three points.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional sports therapist. However, from the outside, looking in, something seems to be going wrong on this front. How have we had such mammoth injury misfortune for three consecutive seasons? I pitied Chiori Johnson who pulled up with a muscle injury some 100 seconds after entering the fray on Saturday, Dan Holman followed him off shortly after – though that was an impact injury, to be fair. Something isn’t right there with CJ in my opinion – either with the warm up, or the initial fitness test, or conditioning – all of which surely need to be overseen by management and somebody much more qualified than me – I’d like to see us address this; a part-time fitness coach, maybe? It can’t just be coincidence at this point. Regardless, best wishes to Chiori, who had impressed me at Wrexham and looked to be settling into life at United having had a fairly rough start.
The NHS End.
It’s been great seeing the (so-called) away-end populated these last two matches – it makes Plainmoor feel ‘proper’ – but that was especially nice on Saturday given the recipients. TT Contributor and NHS’er Rich, had mentioned it was well publicised internally and this *is* an area I’m qualified to discuss. Our marketing, digital and community output has been lacking for too long, and yet it can be so simply and easily improved. Not only was this a wonderful gesture for people who more than deserved it – it’s also (relatively) free exposure and a marketing campaign that reaches new audiences – and if just 10% of those 400/500 or so that attended return again, or bought a pint, or a programme, then we’re all the better for it. There’s a tonne of people in the Bay and beyond just waiting to be asked to a match. Again, this is something we can all do our part on. I really hope the club keep this up and build on it.