TT MATCH VERDICT
WEYMOUTH FC 1-2 TORQUAY UNITED
A cold day on the Jurassic Coast saw the Gulls record a nerve-settling win, keeping both tyres firmly on the road to mid-table obscurity.
United struggled to harness the elements in the first half, with several wayward balls being ushered out of play by a chilly Northern wind. Nevertheless, several clear chances were created, with Tom Lapslie’s back post header and Byron Moore’s wayward effort across the face of goal being the pick of the bunch.
Having failed to convert their early dominance into a lead, my worry was that the wind would be enough to give Weymouth a real chance at stealing a result (either I am a pessimist or I have watched Torquay United play before). In actual fact, the wind died down, and I was happy to be proved wrong when Joe Lewis rose to nod home an Armani Little corner just after the hour-mark.
It didn’t take long for Weymouth to force an equaliser, however, during a rare adventure past the halfway line. In real-time, I felt perhaps we could have defended the ball into the box a bit better, but it was sent across quickly and the man in claret was determined enough to get on the end of it, so maybe I’m being harsh.
United pushed hard for the winner, and Fitzsimmons in the Weymouth goal was called into action on several occasions, producing some acrobatic saves up high, and making himself big enough down low to snuff out a very favourable one-on-one opportunity for second half sub Sinclair Armstrong.
United did take the lead for the second time, however, when the tireless Armani Little rushed forward and laid off to Klaidi Lolos. His shot was pushed gratefully into the path of Armstrong, who finished coolly to send the Yellow Army into a frenzy. Clearly nervous for an unattended bin, the Weymouth stewards descended on the area and politely asked one or two overjubilant Gulls fans to leave the area.
MacDonald – 7 – Had so little to do that at one point he was stretching off to keep himself warm. Kicking was a bit suspect into the wind. In other news, grass is green.
Moxey – 8 – On the left as part of a quasi-back three. Classy on the ball and committed in defence. Threw himself at some late half-chances.
Lewis – 8 – Looked a bit isolated in the central area at times, which might have proved a problem against a more dangerous frontline. Otherwise solid and got the ball rolling with his goal.
Wynter – 7 – Had to hold back a bit today as part of a sparse defence not blessed with pace, but did everything that was asked of him. Let Moore and O’Connell do the running in front of him for the most part.
Martin – 7 – Found himself in good advanced positions, especially during the first half, but struggled to deliver the telling cross. A willing runner.
Hall – 8 – Along with Little and Lapslie, dominated the midfield. Dropped back to help defend when we didn’t have the ball.
Little – 9 – Am I really giving a 9? Yes, yes, I think I am. Took control of the midfield from the first minute and at the moment looks like he could create a chance every time he has the ball.
Lapslie – 8 – An old-school ‘box to box’ performance, with some strong tackling, and a couple of good chances – at least one of which he would have hoped to put away.
Moore – 6 – Linked up with the free-reigning Little but didn’t appear overly mobile and looked like he might have been carrying something.
Holman – 6 – Continues to be a fine specimen of a man, but not really his day today (again). Linked up well, found space a couple of times but snatched at his shots. Looked frustrated.
Lolos – 8 – A very lively showing. Some good direct running from wide positions, particularly in the second half, which led to some good chances. A bit of work on his end product and we’re laughing.
O’Connell – 7 – Came on for Moore but wouldn’t say his involvement had any real impact on the game.
Armstrong – 7 – Took his goal well, but could have easily had at least one more with that one-on-one chance. Probably would have still had a couple, though, had he been fit enough to enjoy a full 90 minutes.
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MAN OF THE MATCH: Armani Little
No goals today but involved in some capacity in virtually every chance we had. The man his teammates look for when we have possession – like he’s on a playground, joining in a match with kids in the year below.
Tom Lapslie & Asa Hall. The remaining two pieces of a midfield-shaped puzzle that Torquay really controlled today. Tom would have hoped to have got his early header at least on target, but apart from that put in a real shift. I wasn’t at the game last week, but heard him called out for having had a bad game. Based on that analysis, he looked like a different player today and alongside Armani and Little really impressed in central areas.
United continue to adapt to life without the freewheeling three-pronged attack of this time last year, and again opted for two up front, with three at the back and a loose wing-back system. Asa and Tom seem to sit deeper in the middle, allowing Armani to do his thing, and dropping in when required. I’m not convinced about our defensive shape – especially when two of your back three are recognised full-backs – and think if Weymouth had offered any real threat going forward, we might have struggled. That said, they didn’t and so we didn’t.
I’ve never pushed a small crying child into a river and walked away laughing, nor have I ever sung a Monty Python medley in the middle of a cemetery. Because despite the fact that I wear a lot of black and once deliberately dodged a train fare, I am a moderately nice person and don’t normally believe in kicking people when they’re down.
Suffice to say that based on yesterday’s performance, this Weymouth side are unfortunately as plain as a bag of ready salted crisps, and I would not be surprised to see them in a spot of bother in a few months’ time. But for the woodwork and a couple of brilliant saves, it really is no exaggeration to claim that the men in cyan could have had 5 or 6.
If you told me today that the referee broke down on the A35 and didn’t make it to the game, I’d believe you. Completely anonymous, in a good way.
Overall, a commanding performance over a clearly lesser side, which will hopefully being some stability and confidence back to Devon going into the festive programme, along with three comfortably deserved points.
COYY – Rob