Thomas Kelly – @tommyktufc
2nd half performance not good enough
Despite falling a goal down early in the first half, the Gulls did enjoy the majority of the better chances during the first half and probably should have gone into half time with at least a one goal advantage. The game was definitely there for us if we really wanted it.
Which makes our second half performance all the more frustrating. After a few early shots straight at the keeper, Gary Johnson’s team failed to impose themselves at all for the rest of the game. Tonbridge (18th in the NLS on a poor run of form), looked the more likely side to win the game and did.
Our play in the second half was ridged, sloppy, slow and predictable. The hosts with nothing to lose, created the better of the chances in the second half and ultimately deserved to win. We had a few moments but overall it wasn’t enough and good luck to the Angels in the next round. A very pleasant away day experience. Our curse of playing NLS sides in cup competitions continues to haunt us. A disappointing result after two morale boosting victories against Weymouth and Stockport.
Missing Asa and CLE
Two noticeable absentees from the game were Asa and the Lemon. At Weymouth, Asa I felt played one of his best games for us since coming back from injury. He definitely inspires leadership and stability in the squad.
Connor as we all know is a quality player. It’s fair to say that maybe he hasn’t been at his best so far this season but we would all would rather have him in the squad than out of it.
With Asa, maybe it’s more a case of wrapping him up in cotton wool and not risking him for a Trophy game, which I understand, although I was expecting he would be on the bench at least, especially with our next game not until Boxing Day.
With Connor, I’m not sure why he was left out of the squad. I know he became a father recently and missed out against Weymouth due to a Covid related issue (from what I understand) and recently came back into the squad from injury, but It is hard to replace the quality that these two players bring to the side and we are definitely worse off without them in the team. With a busy fixture list coming up, keeping them fit and present in the starting XI must be a high priority for Gary.
On the topic of key players….
Take Armani out of the mix too and boy we would have real problems
Credit to Armani once again, he worked hard and created some decent moves during the first half, setting up Wright for the equaliser and coming oh so close with a free kick in the first half. As mentioned in the match report, he did become a little bit anonymous as the second half progressed, but copy and paste that for pretty much the rest of the side to be honest. Armani at least was trying to find that killer ball, but it just didn’t happen for him. A midfield trio of Armani, Asa and Connor is a frightful combination for any National League club and links to my previous talking point about how worse our team is without them playing. Armani is a creator in the midfield and we should be thankful to have him play for us.
His selection raised a few eyebrows amongst the fanbase prior to kick off, although there was always the expectation that the number two goalkeeper would be called into the first team for a Trophy game against NLS opposition.
Let me say that he made some very good saves and is a very good shot stopper…..however, when you can’t gather the ball from set pieces or command your box, you’re just asking for trouble. I thought that he should have done better for the first goal, the general consensus amongst those at the game was that he should have come off his line as the ball was whipped in from the free kick. As for their second goal…oh dear.
Drops the ball from a corner and Tonbridge take full advantage. He doesn’t inspire confidence at all from a defensive standpoint and if we the fans feel that, you know the rest of the team does and ultimately, Shaun is a much better keeper in all aspects.
I’m confident in saying if Shaun was in goal, we wouldn’t have lost that game in 90 minutes, maybe not have won it, but definitely not lost.
Marcin sounded like he played a blinder despite being on the losing side for Gloucester at Wrexham and I personally think having Shaun as our number one and Marcin as our number two would be my preferable duo. We definitely do not need three keepers on the books at a club our size and I’m sorry to say that I would be very surprised to see Mark don the Torquay shirt again. A nice guy I’m sure, but it hasn’t worked out.
Improvement required for Boxing Day
The cliché of “at least we can focus on the league” is one that is used often, especially for clubs exiting the FA Trophy in the early rounds. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved a run in the competition and a potential Wembley trip if our season ends with us not challenging for the play-offs or fighting a relegation battle. That said, the bread and butter is the league and a win on Boxing Day will provide the perfect Christmas remedy to forget all about our disappointing result in Kent.
Our last two league games have shown that we have the quality on our day to challenge any team in this tightly contested National League and we will need to be at our very best to beat a Yeovil side currently unbeaten in all competitions since the 23rd October. We ended Stockport’s unbeaten run in the league under Dave Challinor, let’s hope another run comes to an end on Boxing Day.
Wishing all of you a safe and happy Christmas
Finally, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and that at least for a few days, we can all forget about what is going on around us and enjoy the festivities and the football over the festive period.
Stay safe, keep it Yellow, up the Gulls!!