TT TALKING POINTS
Dom Roman – @DomRoman
I don’t know about you but listening to Torquay United on the radio can be horribly painful. This isn’t to put down the coverage from Radio Devon or TUFC Radio, but it really is hard to get a feel for what is actually happening! Saturday afternoon dragged on and on into the late stages, and although it felt like the Gulls would get over the line – it was rather torturous to listen to. But 3 points it was, and a rather sweet win at that. Onwards, no time to dwell – it’s Solihull Moors (h) and it’s pre-match talking points…
BACK UNDER THE LIGHTS
Strangely enough this will be first Plainmoor night game for the Yellow Army to attend since the end of 2020! Taking until the 25th January to play under the Plainmoor lights in 21-22 is unbelievable really, and I’m very much looking forward to it. Night games have a different feel and energy to them, and often bring the best out of Torquay supporters, with perhaps the darkness encouraging a shedding of inhibitions and a noisier atmosphere. In all likelihood this will be a tight and tough game against a decent Moors team, and our support might just help tip the balance in United’s favour.
DUKE AND WEARNE
In the bleakness of an English winter and with COVID and injuries unsurprisingly making an impact, at least a couple of loan signings were always going to be required. And in the two Stephens (United had never fielded two before in a game, according to Torquay Stats!), it looks like Gary Johnson has found a couple of diamonds. One courtesy of Lee Johnson and one courtesy of Paul Hall – old friends and family doing us welcome favours. Stephen number 1 Wearne was ready for action versus Daggers and could have easily scored one or two that day, but he made up for that at Alty. With any luck he’ll bag more in the coming matches, with United lacking a regular goal-scorer his presence could be crucial. Stephen number 2 Duke-McKenna got off to a very promising start at Altrincham, dynamic and skilful, Matty Hayward was cooing about this lad and these two could hold the key versus Solihull.
THE DEFENCE AND DALLAS
Will Joe Lewis and Dean Moxey return on Tuesday night? That’s the big question and I’m sure we won’t know until about….7.15pm! The patched up defence did well on Saturday, with Ali Omar coping admirably on his return to action and Chiori Johnson battling hard to deny Altrincham as they pushed forward in the second half. However, losing Mox and Lewis would perhaps have been fatal against a better team, not to disrespect the lads who filled in, but a more confident opposition would have probably taken advantage of our makeshift defence. After scoring all five against Dover, Moors dangerman Andrew Dallas will be full of confidence, whilst Joe Sbarra will provide a goal-scoring threat from midfield, so whoever plays will need to be on their toes.
The Lemon bagged his 5th goal of the season on Saturday, and should have had his 6th. But let’s forget that extraordinary 2nd half miss, it’s just delightful to see the skilful midfielder getting back to his form from 2020-21. Far too often this year he’s been on the periphery of games and not been getting enough touches in the box, but things have been changing recently and he’s making his mark once again. The Welsh maestro turned 25 yesterday, what better way to celebrate than another of his patented winners at Plainmoor?
20 GAMES TO GO
Seven points off the play-off places, 16 points from the last 21, this fabulous form is a credit to Gary Johnson, all of his staff and the entire squad. This season could easily have meandered through to April, the Gulls sitting in obscurity and fumbling to the end of the season. Certainly the challenges we’ve had to face with squad changes, COVID, injuries and loan players leaving could have justifiably been used as excuses, but we’ve got more heart than that. Now the pressure intensifies a little as an outside chance of the play-offs edges into view. 20 games left and with around 70 points the general marker for a top 7 position, we need at least 36 points. That means winning around half of the games, and the margin for error is fine – but it is possible…
COYY – Dom
THE GULLS WEEK 24th – 30th JAN by Danny Burnell
PROUD AWAY SPONSOR OF KLAIDI LOLOS