TT MATCH VERDICT
Clive Hayward – @byehorse
TORQUAY UNITED 0-2 SOLIHULL MOORS
A tight game between two play-off aspirants which never caught light. The visitors won it late to deal a big blow to Torquay’s hopes of gate-crashing the millionaires’ party in May.
Torquay had to pick the same makeshift back four as Saturday and they did fine, again. Although able to field four talented midfielders, our game-plan went pear-shaped after 6 minutes when Danny Wright pulled up lame and was replaced by another candidate for the glue factory, Dan Holman.
With all the cutting edge of an oven glove, the Yellows desperately needed Armani Little to convert the best chance of the game after 65 minutes, but he failed to get a meaningful shot away. He covered so much ground tonight and nearly dragged us through, but it was a big miss and it just wasn’t to be.
Moors’ lamp-post sub Kyle Hudlin lit up the final minute with a deft backheeled winner, and as the stampede for the exits began Andrew Dallas continued his prolific form with a quite unnecessary second goal.
It all feels a bit flat late this Tuesday night. I did predict a defeat this evening, and this seems a serious setback. So let’s try a little joke. Halfway through the first half the ref stopped the game because of a Dallas head injury. I’m pleased to say he suffered no ill effects, but after what happened to JFK you can’t be too careful! (Get it? Dallas head injury??).
Shaun MacDonald 7 – No errors. Saved what he could. Getting more vocal, which is good.
Chiori Johnson 6.5- Did a job at right back.
Ben Wynter 6.5- Another competent display, showing his versatility again at centre back.
Ali Omar 8- I am not going to get carried away here, but this performance completed back to back carnage avoidance from the big man. Always tentative with time on the ball, but good clearances and missed little. Well done Ali.
Dan Martin 6- Did ok going forward but much of Solihull’s better stuff came down his left flank.
Asa Hall 5- A vertical, Family Stand roof-tickling shot summed up his night. “He’s not the Messiah: he’s a tired old man.”
Armani Little 8- Always wanted the ball and did some sublime things with it. Not his night though.
Stephen Duke-McKenzie 7- I can’t fault this lad. Good confidence from one so young. A Cruyff turn took my breath away.
Stephen Wearne 7- Lively at times down the left. He should score more goals for us before he returns to Wearside.
Connor Lemonheigh-Evans 6.5- Not a stinker by any means, but failed to make any great impact.
Danny Wright (Holman 6 mins)- It’s a shame, but for all his talismanic qualities when fit, the injuries are piling up faster than the Downing Street recycling bin.
Holman (for Wright, 6 mins) 5- Didn’t do enough. We needed inspiration. We got frustration and insufficient perspiration. How long will he have to live off that Yeovil winner?
Lolos (for Duke-McKenna, 88 mins)
O’Connell (for Wearne, 88 mins)
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MAN OF THE MATCH: Armani Little
Many have gone for Ali Omar. I understand why, because the boy has again put in a performance few thought him capable of. For me, however, it’s Armani’s accolade. He was the Man Most Likely.
As aforementioned, Ali Omar has done his CV no harm whatsoever in the last few days. Whilst I wouldn’t dream of picking him ahead of a fit Lewis or Moxey, he did all we could ever ask from a young centre half of his limited ability. I hope it builds his confidence, although pro football is a tough game and I can’t see him being at the club next season: there must be so many better options for us.
At kick off it looked like 4-2-4. That was the only similarity with Brazil ’70. Armani operated mainly on the right but went wherever he could to try to get on the ball. The Lemon never really combined with Holman. Hall was a depressing presence in front of the back four (who were competent). Wearne gave us an outlet for breakaways down the left.
The league table would suggest they are slightly better than us, and they aren’t far off our bogey side. They didn’t need to work as hard as I would have liked, but they may threaten the play-offs. In Andrew Dallas, a product of the Rangers youth system, they have a really good prospect who knows where the goal is.
Most damaging backheel since Crewe’s late heartbreaker in 2012 (Nick Powell scored, we blew automatic promotion and 2 years later we got relegated from the League).
What a shame. There has been lots to like about Torquay over the last few weeks. I think the two young loanees (Wearne and Duke-McKenna) are doing nicely but strikers are harder to come by. How we miss a Billy Waters or a Sinclair Armstrong.
COYY – Clive
PROUD AWAY SPONSOR OF KLAIDI LOLOS