TT TALKING POINTS
Matt Roberts – @MatthewVA438
It feels almost repetitive now to continue mentioning our captain as the sole avenue from which we’d derive any sort of reward during games, but he has the ability to turn nothing into something as we all know. Last week, it was two goals against Dover and this week, sure enough, he produced another moment of brilliance which saw us equalise, if only for a short while at least (more on that shortly). A free kick in the perfect place for Little who as we’ve seen before can shoot with pinpoint accuracy. He placed the ball right where the goalkeeper couldn’t reach it, straight in the top corner.
I’m not going to claim that Little had a barnstormer of a game, no-one did, but it seems that only he can pull that sort of quality out of the bag when needed. The problem is that we can’t rely on him to do it all the time. Other players have to step up, which at present they are not doing, leading to the next point…
A lack of quality
Last week, we just about managed to beat a very poor Dover team who parked the bus as soon as they scored. We were poor for much of the game and it was a similar story against Barnet, the difference being that the Bees are a better side than Dover. Let me be clear, they’re not brilliant and nor will they be challenging for the higher reaches of the division, but they didn’t have to be very good to beat us.
From the off we were slow and ponderous, second to balls and giving it away far too often. The team’s arrival apparently less than an hour before kick-off won’t have helped matters but we can’t blame our inadequacy on the M4’s traffic problems. We could barely get out of our own half in the opening 45 minutes, much less register any sort of goal threat.
Players were anonymous, the effort is there for sure but too many players are seemingly proving that (at the moment) they aren’t cut out for this level of football. Basic mistakes are commonplace and real progression is hard to see right now.
The Barnet winner
In the 10 or so minutes after our goal we were well on top, passing it around nicely and looking a real threat for the first time in the game. This came to a shuddering halt, however, when once again we lost the ball cheaply. This resulted in the home side bearing down on the exposed Torquay back-line. Once their man was through, you just knew what was going to happen, Omar went in and conceded the penalty, Mac went the wrong way and just like that all of our hard work had been undone, we were back to square one. I thought we could still get something if we kept up our tempo from the previous 15 minutes, but we failed to reach those heights again for the rest of the game and created very little.
Use the width
As has been common this season, we looked extremely narrow against Barnet. When we actually did manage to get hold of the ball for any length of time, it was usually played down the middle through a congested midfield or just pumped over the top when it was swiftly collected by the Barnet defence. To the frustration of those of us watching, when we did get it wide and there was space to run into, O’Connell and Moore chose to cut inside which too often meant running down a blind alley. With no options the threat evaporated.
Torquay usually travel well away in London and Barnet was no different. I haven’t seen any figure given for the attendance but I’m guessing the away support was hovering around the 300 mark, although one fan suggested in the bar before the game that 400 tickets had been sold. The atmosphere generated was great throughout the game and much more vociferous than that mustered by the rather meagre home support. I know Barnet don’t get huge attendances but I was slightly surprised that almost all of the home fans were located in two thirds of one stand along one side, leaving the terrace empty. We gave the lads the positive support that Johnson spoke about after last week, but there’s only so much impact that can have.
In the middle
The teams that we’ve beaten so far this season, the likes of Wealdstone, King’s Lynn and Dover, are all clubs that you’d expect to be fearing relegation come May. We are inconsistent, lack quality, make basic mistakes and are eight points off the drop zone whilst somehow being as many points off the play-offs. What does all that add up to? Something that occurs once in a blue moon for Torquay, a season of mid-table obscurity in all likelihood.
TT MATCH VERDICT – BARNET 2-1 TUFC, 20th Nov 2021
One thought on “TT TALKING POINTS – BARNET (A) by Matt Roberts”