With a mini exodus of players, crowd favourite Jake Andrews being one and today’s game being against one of the more fancied sides in the division, expectations were somewhat mixed to say the least.
All eyes were on Gary Johnston’s’ selection as another two additions were made to the squad in quick succession with Gabby Rogers also being farmed out to get game time for a month at Truro City. You can be certain that plenty of hard work has been going on behind the scenes to improve the squad and move us up the league table away from danger.
As expected GJ in the main kept to the side and shape that performed well against Weymouth last time out, though with the likes of Ali Omar, Dan Holman and Keelan O’Connell not making the bench and Moore injured. Lolos deservedly got his start alongside Sinclair Armstrong. A combination many of us believed would be a effective and our likely best option up top. New loanee Jack Sparkes also slotted in on the right side playing ahead of Ben Wynter. Joe Felix (not Joao Felix!) sampling the Plainmoor atmosphere for the first time, made up the numbers on the bench alongside Harry Perritt and keeper Halstead.
With key players finally returning to the fold and with a couple new signings the bench looked a strong and healthy one. Rarely have we had the luxury of strong and mainly experienced subs bench with both Danny Wright and Conner Evans waiting in the wings to play their part. And play their part they most certainly did in a well fought and high quality end to end contest.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Without going into a full match report today’s 2-1 victory over one of the wealthier and more talented sides seen at Plainmoor was perhaps a little unexpected. The victory was built on sound organisation, good discipline and individual players religiously sticking to their tasks. Sinclair Armstrong optimised the spirit today with a gutsy high work rate performance. The lad has pace and skill and did exactly what GJ asked of him which ultimately paid dividends. When he didn’t have the ball and their dangerous left wing back Kitching was galloping forward on the flank, he was always chasing back at pace stopping any danger and breaking up their pattern down that side. A task no doubt set astutely by the manager.
After watching Stockport’s FA Cup exploits recently I must admit I expected more from them today though you could see plenty of quality in their play, with most of their good work going through captain Paddy Madden, who stood out and posed the most danger early on as we gave him far too much space and time on the ball. As the game wore on we got more to grips with his intelligent movement and raised our game just enough to nullify most of his threat.
STAND OUT PERFORMAMCES
Other than the Madden danger we defended very well today and looked well organised. Dan Martin surprised me with his pace, awareness and quick thinking. He was very much focused, covered his winger very well and always tried to be first to the ball. An excellent game from Dan. Joe Lewis and Dean Moxey soundly impressed, with Ben Wynter slipping comfortably into more central defensive role and Shaun MacDonald was once again assured behind them.
With the little terrier Laplslie biting ankles and covering so much ground, Asa Hall bringing his experience and heading ability to the table and Little beavering away around the pitch, we managed to match a very strong County in midfield.
Lolos and Armstrong both worked their socks off and when Armstrong finally succumbed to cramp late on we had Danny boy waiting in the wings to demonstrate to all just how to hold off defenders and win aerial balls and battles against good defenders. I thought he was just superb when he came on. No great pace – we all know that – but his positioning and strength in the final minutes were invaluable. Connor also contributed when introduced, with a great run down the right tricking his way past defenders to create a dangerous chance that went begging.
A DESERVED 3 POINTS
2-1 to the mighty Gulls – well they were mighty today! You’ve all read the reports. One own goal plus a penalty, and rode our luck at times – sounds very fortunate but I can assure you it wasn’t. It was a well deserved victory.
That’s pleasing for everyone and surely bodes well for the coming months. And finally a word of praise for the incredible support that undoubtedly saw us over the line. More of that in the next few months and who knows how far we can go.