Dom Roman – @DomRoman
The Ed discusses the Welsh rock in Torquay’s defence
I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a strong centre half! It must be ingrained in me from my earliest years watch the Gulls, and seeing players of the ilk of Wes Saunders and Matt Elliott suffocate opposition attacks. From then on I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the likes of Darren Moore, Steve Woods, Guy Branston and Angus MacDonald (amongst others) in the famous yellow shirt – centre back is what TUFC have generally done best.
The latest leader in our defence is the Welsh rock Joe Lewis, a man whose potential and hair growing ability appears to have no boundaries! I think we all knew Joe could be an excellent player right from the start, which was the summer of 2019. I witnessed the stature of the 19 year-old close up at a sponsorship event, and it was hard to believe this was still a teenager, such was his size and physique.
2019-20 ended up being a learning experience for the defender, and I think we were all over-joyed when Joe re-joined us on a permanent deal in January last year. A fantastic deal by Gary Johnson, and one that paid off as Lewis and Sam Sherring created a formidable partnership at the back. Joe’s size and aggression dovetailing perfectly with Sherring’s coolness and composure. What also struck me was the heart that Joe Lewis plays with. It’s okay having the right attributes, but the Welshman really plays each game like it’s his last and soon became a favourite with the Yellow Army.
Passion and fire like that cannot be taught and as 2021-22 approached quickly, it was clear we’d be heavily reliant on him. As it turned out too reliant, as an unsettled and vulnerable United team wobbled into the season badly, with Ali Omar becoming more of a hindrance than help in defence and Lewis making errors as the nerves kicked in. But as the campaign has unfolded into the crucial winter months the centre back has regained his confidence and has undoubtedly been one of the main catalysts in our upturn in form.
Joe’s concentration and positioning has improved, helped by the guidance of Dean Moxey next to him he’s making better decisions and playing sensibly, whilst still showing all the gusto and growl we’ve become accustomed to seeing. He’s also doing what he does best, literally throwing himself at anything that comes his way – chucking his big frame around to block shots and crosses. And most impressively in recent games, he’s been imposing his will on some tough opponents and refusing to buckle.
The two derby games versus Yeovil were perfect examples of how the Welshman is developing and maturing. Adi Yussuf is a strong and irritating striker who is tough to pin down, but Joe simply would not allow him to dictate a fascinating battle and snuffed out the Glovers front man in two massive Gulls wins. Add to that 4 goals already this season (including one worldie) and you’ve got a young chap enhancing his reputation and making great strides right in front of our eyes.
At only 22 he’s grasping responsibility with both hands at Plainmoor and relishing the chance to prove himself as one of the best centre backs in the National League. Top man.
COYY – Dom
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