TT ANALYSIS: THE RUN-IN by Danny Burnell

TT BLOG

Danny Burnell

Danny Burnell – @dannyburnell92 

Danny analyses the last 18 games of the season. 

FEBRUARY

12th – Dover (a) : On paper, the most ‘straightforward’ of the lot. A team with a campaign to forget having started the season on -12 points. In truth, very lucky to be given a reprieve after last season’s refusal to fulfil their fixtures, but they know full well they will be plying their trade in the NL South come August. A game, which on paper, Torquay should win comfortably. As we all know, the Gulls rarely do ‘comfortable’.

Earlier this season : Torquay 2-1 Dover. A Little double, including a 90th minute winner, spared United’s blushes to pick up 3 points back in November. Travis Gregory opened the scoring in the 3rd minute for the visitors.

Dover’s position: 23rd (as at 8/2/22), W1, D4, L22, GD -40, Points -5

Last 3 at ‘The Crabble’: 

17/8/19: Dover 1-2 TUFC

07/4/18: Dover 1-0 TUFC

22/4/17: Dover 1-2 TUFC

Difficulty – 1/5: You can never count your chickens in this league, ask Eastleigh. But GJ’s men should have plenty in the tank to beat a hapless Dover. Don’t make me look like a plank please!


19th – Barnet (h) : An odd team are Barnet. An away win over Stockport their highlight of the season so far. A vast improvement on last season’s dismal display, which in truth, became a farce when they knew relegation was not a possibility. A racism row seems to have divided the club leaving them in a bit of turmoil. Think they will be safe, but won’t be many teams below them come May. Defence is leaky.

Earlier this season : Barnet 2-1 Torquay. A game in which Torquay didn’t come out until the second half. Armani’s free-kick levelled the game and the Gulls were right on course for 3 points. A break-away saw the Bees get and convert a penalty to take the points. Desperately disappointing result after a ‘mini-revival’.

Barnet’s position: 17th(as at 8/2/22), W8, D6, L12, GD -17, Points 30

Last 3 at Plainmoor: 

22/05/21: TUFC 2-2 Barnet

06/12/14: TUFC 1-2 Barnet

16/4/13: TUFC 3-2 Barnet

Difficulty – 2/5: A game in which the Gulls will go in as favourites. If the Gulls want to go up, they must simply beat the teams below them. Plainmoor form may see them through. Barnet all but ended United’s title hopes last May when they came to Plainmoor to get a surprising draw from 2 down.


22nd – Boreham Wood (h) : A season to remember for Boreham Wood. 5th in the league at typing, and a glamour tie at Goodison Park to look forward too, Luke Garrard has get the Wood rocking. Plenty of games in hand to catch the top two, so won’t be surprised to see them in the title mix in May. They don’t score many. Just 34, 5 less than the Gulls, in 23 games, but on the contrary only 15 conceded. A water tight defence who are physically strong.

Earlier this season : Boreham Wood 2-0 Torquay. A Tuesday night to forget for the Yellows back in October. Kane Smith & Scott Boden goals either side of the half gave Wood a comfortable win.

BW position: 5th(as at 8/2/22), W14, D7, L2, GD +19, Points 49

Last 3 at Plainmoor: 

14/11/20: TUFC 1-1 BW

19/10/19: TUFC 3-2 BW (FA Cup)

03/8/19: TUFC 2-1 BW

Difficulty – 4/5: Dosn’t get much tougher than this against a Boreham Wood team who have lost just twice all season. Ex Gulls Tyrone Marsh & Scott Boden are a handful, as well as Josh Rees. Torquay will have to be at their very best to get anything out of this one, even with home advantage. Wood could have more than one eye on Everton, who they face a week after coming to Plainmoor.


26th – Wealdstone (a) : The month ends with a trip to Grosvenor Vale. Wealdstone will probably be where they expected to be at this stage. They will always be a team flirting with relegation, but seems as though they’ve done enough to stay up, baring an implosion. Joint second lowest scorers in the league, but equally for a team in 18th, don’t concede an awful lot (Plainmoor excluded).

Earlier this season :  Torquay 5-0 Wealdstone. A 5* display back at the start of October, which saw Joe Lewis hit an undisputed goal of the season contender! Holman x 2, Little & Lapslie also on target which saw the Gulls 4 up at HT.

Wealdstone position: 18th(as at 8/2/22), W7, D7, L11, GD -12, Points 28

Last 2 at Grosvenor Vale: 

01/12/20: Wealdstone 1-2 TUFC

27/10/18: Wealdstone 0-3 TUFC

Difficulty – 2/5: Very poor when they came to Plainmoor. I know you can’t judge a team on one performance but if you do, there’s every reason why they sit where they do. Credible draws at Wrexham and Daggers show they can put it about. Torquay need to be on their game to win, but should have enough in attack.

MONTH DIFFICULTY – 2/5 : On paper, United’s most ‘favourable’ month in terms of opponents. Boreham Wood will provide a stern test, but you would like to think the others are winnable, especially for a team with play-off hopes! Football isn’t played on paper however……

POINTS PREDICTION: 7

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MARCH

5th – Bromley (h) : It’s a tough start to the month for Johnsons’ Yellows as Bromley head to the bay. A team that like to grind out results, who rarely win by more than 1 (us excluded of course). Having a very good season under Andy Woodman and every chance of going up should their good form continue. Will be another tough game for the Devonians.

Earlier this season : Bromley 2-0 Torquay. More than routine for Bromley who swept aside a poor Gulls side with two first half goals. An anomaly this one, a Saturday 3pm kick off  in front of the BT cameras. Best forgotten, like another certain Bromley result in 2015, and 2018…….

Bromley’s position: 4th (as at 8/2/22), W15, D5, L6, GD +14, Points 50

Last 3 at Plainmoor:

08/05/21: TUFC 0-0 Bromley

20/1/18: TUFC 0-4 Bromley

09/8/16: TUFC 1-0 Bromley

Difficulty – 4/5: Bromley generally enjoy their trips to Plainmoor. 7-3 & 4-0 wins in recent times have proved they are a very accomplished side. If the Ravens keep up their good form coming into this one, Torquay will be right up against it.


12th – Kings Lynn (a) : Another fixture in the ‘should-win’ ‘must-win’ category. Kings Lynn look odds on to go down, baring a miracle. They expected to struggle, and struggle is what they are. Picked up a few wins this season, but mainly against teams in and around them. Leak goals for a past-time, an average of 2 a game.

Earlier this season : Torquay 2-0 Kings Lynn. As comfortable of a 2-0 win you’ll see all season when Torquay took the points in late October. Debutant Armstrong and Joe Lewis sealing the win against 2-sub Lynn. 

KL position: 22nd (as at 8/2/22), W4, D3, L18, GD -26, Points 15

Last one at ‘The Walks’:

12/12/20: KL 0-0 TUFC

Difficulty – 2/5 : Our only previous visit to KL yielded an uneventful 0-0. Should have enough to see off this Kings Lynn team who showed nothing on their trip to Plainmoor. The Torquay attack should prove to strong for the Lynn defence.


19th – Halifax (a) : Another tricky one for the Gulls against a Halifax team that have perhaps been the most improved from last season. Pete Wild has got the best out of Billy Waters who has had a fantastic season. They have been up the top for the majority of the season, but a few iffy results of late have seen them drop off the pace. Will need to re-discover early season form to keep up with Stockport & Chesterfield.

Earlier this season : Torquay 2-3 Halifax. A result which perhaps dosn’t tell you the full picture. Halifax raced into a 0-3 lead, before late late Little & Lolos goals glossed the scoreline. Billy Waters, of course, on target for the Shaymen.

Halifax’s position: 3rd (as at 8/2/22), W15, D5, L6, GD +20, Points 50

Last 3 at The Shay:

21/11/20: Halifax 1-2 TUFC

02/11/19: Halifax 2-4 TUFC

21/10/17: Halifax 1-1 TUFC

Difficulty – 3/5 : The Gulls don’t have a bad record at the Shay. Their position indicates it should be a home win, but every chance of GJ’s men bringing home a point or all 3 if they want it badly enough. 


22nd – Aldershot (h) : A topsy turvy campaign for the Shots who seem to flatter to deceive. When they look as if they’ve found their feet, they are usually firmly reminded of their position. Should do enough to stay up, but any higher than 17th would be a surprise. Torquay & Shots are very familiar having played each other umpteen times over the past decade.

Earlier this season : Aldershot 1-0 Torquay. A game contested by two poor, out of form teams that was decided by one moment of quality. Unfortunately for the Gulls, that moment came 5 minutes from time from Aldershot’s Lewis Kinsella. A(nother) night to forget.

Aldershot’s position: 16th(as at 8/2/22), W8, D6, L13, GD -10, Points 30

Last 3 at Plainmoor:

27/4/21: Torquay 2-1 Aldershot

14/12/19: Torquay 5-1 Aldershot (FA Trophy)

24/08/19: Torquay 2-0 Aldershot

Difficulty – 2/5 : Generally, in recent seasons we’ve got the better of the Shots. By this time in the season we will have a better understanding of what’s to play for, but more than likely the Gulls will have more to play for than their opponents. 


26th – Weymouth (h) : A very disappointing campaign from the Dorset side who need plenty of improvement if they are to be saved from regional football. A change of manager has done little thus far, but they have proved they can mix it with the big boys, with hard fought draws against Boreham Wood & Notts County.  

Earlier this season : Weymouth 1-2 Torquay. A game which saw the Gulls end a 3 match losing streak. Could have been 6 or 7 on another day but the aid of a fantastic Yellow Army following pre Christmas, it provided a catalyst for the recent purple patch.

Weymouth’s position: 21st(as at 8/2/22), W4, D5, L17, GD -24, Points 17

Last 2 at Plainmoor:

10/4/21: Torquay 2-1 Weymouth

10/02/09: Torquay 0-2 Weymouth

Difficulty – 1/5 : The bottom 3 look cast adrift at the time of writing. Will need a minor miracle for David Oldfield to keep his side in the division. Home advantage and the Gulls attack should prove too much. This looks a pivotal week for the Gulls with 2 home games against lower opposition.  

MONTH DIFFICULTY – 3/5 : 5 games, 3 at home. This month looks to be the pivotal one for Torquay’s ambitions. A positive month really could see us firmly in the chasing pack, or equally, a bad one could see us float into the obscurity of mid-table. A healthy number of points up for grabs.

POINTS PREDICTION: 9

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APRIL

2nd – Stockport (a) : The month starts as hard as it possible could. Away to current table toppers Stockport, there is no doubt they will be position number 1 or 2 by the time this fixture comes around. They score for fun, 55 so far, and look likely to add significantly to that tally with the likes of Paddy Madden in the team. Will be very tough, Torquay need to enter the game in decent form. 

Earlier this season : Torquay 2-1 Stockport. A real hard fought determined win for the Gulls with strikes from Asa & OG. Stockport had the majority of the play but United managed the threat and game very well to give a superb result. Dave Challinor’s one and only defeat at time of typing.

Stockport position: 1st(as at 8/2/22), W17, D4, L6, GD +29, Points 55

Last 3 at Edgeley Park: 

16/05/21: Stockport 2-2 TUFC

28/9/19: Stockport 0-4 TUFC

20/11/10: Stockport 1-1 TUFC

Difficulty – 5/5 : Toughest game in the run in that’s for sure. A fairly decent record up in Manchester, and Torquay may throw a spanner in the title chasing works. But only, if every player gives a 10/10.


9th – Notts County (h) : Dosn’t get much easier as the month goes on with the play off hopefuls coming down. Will sure to be a rapturous atmosphere as Messrs Cameron & Nemane return to the club they owe a lot to. Last 3 regular league games have ended all square, but you may remember, we won the last one….

Earlier this season : Notts County 1-1 Torquay. The first away game for United in the 21/22 season and expectation was low considering the opening day disappointments. Danny Wright’s header was cancelled out but the 10 men Gulls held on valiantly for a well deserved draw. 

Notts C position: 8th(as at 8/2/22), W13, D6, L6, GD +18, Points 45

Last 3 at Plainmoor: 

12/06/21: TUFC 4-2 Notts C

24/04/21: TUFC 2-2 Notts C

08/5/10: TUFC 0-0 Notts C

Difficulty – 4/5 : Will be another tough game that’s for sure, and every chance this County side will be firmly routed in the play-off’s by this time, with their games in hands played. Been known to throw up some ‘strange’ results, but Burchnall’s men will always be hard to beat.


15th – Woking (a) : I was getting a bit worried as we haven’t played our Surrey friends for nigh on 6 months. Good Friday see’s us face our familiar foes, and there is little to separate them in the table. Its been a fairly steady season for the Cards who, on their Plainmoor viewing, looked genuine title contenders. Torquay that day aided them with a shocker of a display, but none the less, Woking at Woking is always a toughie. One of those that could go either way. Both will be 13/10 in the bookies.

Earlier this season : Torquay 0-4 Woking. The highlight of Woking’s season I’m sure, the lowlight of United’s. Cards were 2 up inside 4 minutes as Chiori Johnson saw red.

Woking’s position: 14th(as at 8/2/22), W10, D2, L14, GD 0, Points 32

Last 3 at Kingfield: 

20/4/21: Woking 0-2 TUFC

27/02/21: Woking 1-0 TUFC (FA Trophy)

03/9/19: Woking 1-1 TUFC

Difficulty – 3/5 : No matter what time of the year you play Woking, you’ll usually have to play well to get anything. There’s been some fantastic battles between the two over the last few years, and generally, it goes either way. Tough one to call, but their will be a winner. Woking don’t do draws….


18th – Eastleigh (h) : Part 2 of our Easter bonanza see’s us entertain the South Coast side. Usually a real bogey side for United, and will always pose a threat. Not the season they had hoped with them languishing lower mid table, and the removal of Ben Strevens did little to settle their form. Don’t score an awful lot with just 28 goals from 25 games to date.

Earlier this season : Eastleigh 2-1 Torquay. The festive fixture saw United’s decent run end in Hampshire. Armani’s goal was cancelled out by a very dubious penalty before Tyrone Barnett netted the winner. One of those grounds…..

Eastleigh’s position: 15th(as at 8/2/22), W9, D5, L11, GD -10, Points 32

Last 3 at Plainmoor: 

01/5/21: TUFC 3-1 Eastleigh

24/9/19: TUFC 2-3 Eastleigh

13/1/18: TUFC 1-2 Eastleigh

Difficulty – 3/5 : Eastleigh are the ultimate bogey team for Torquay. Not their best season but no doubt will still pose a problem. Hope they haven’t got a lot to play for by the time this fixture comes round.


23rd – Grimsby (a) : The Mariners were cruising when they visited Plainmoor in mid September. Their form continued until a bump in the road around November time saw them drop massively off the pace. Another team in and around us and could be a case of the loser being out of any sort of play-off hunt. 

Earlier this season : Torquay 1-3 Grimsby. A solid performance from the away side saw them pick up the 3 points as they continued to adapt to National League life very well following their relegation from League Two. 

Grimsby’s position: 9th(as at 8/2/22), W13, D4, L10, GD +11, Points 43

Last 3 at Blundell Park: 

22/8/15: Grimsby 2-2 TUFC

13/9/14: Grimsby 0-2 TUFC

17/4/10: Grimsby 0-3 TUFC

Difficulty – 4/5 : A happy hunting ground for United the past few visits, but it was a few years ago now. Should the respective forms continue could be a real 6-pointer in the race for the play-offs.


30th – Maidenhead (h) : A very disappointing campaign for the Magpies, and although there’s a sizeable gap to Weymouth and relegation at the moment, they will definitely need a few more wins. Can’t see there being many below them this season, perhaps the 3 currently there. 

Earlier this season : Maidenhead 3-4 Torquay. The Gulls got their first win of the season in a real Jekyll and Hyde performance. A Little brace, Hall & CLE goals gave them a 0-4 HT lead before nearly blowing it in the second half. Held on for a vital win.

Maidenhead’s position: 20th(as at 8/2/22), W7, D6, L12, GD -19, Points 27

Last 3 at Plainmoor

08/12/20: TUFC 2-1 Maidenhead

13/8/19: TUFC 0-2 Maidenhead

03/10/17: TUFC 4-0 Maidenhead

Difficulty – 2/5: Would usually put a Maidenhead home game in the 3 category, but their poor season means Torquay should go in as hot favourites. If the Magpies have anything to play for, could be a different story. Their season might be petering out by now….

MONTH DIFFICULTY – 4/5 : A really tough month for the Gulls with 18 points up for grabs. Will do very well to come away with 3 points from their 3 away matches. Home games look more favourable, but a lot riding on what’s to play for by then….

POINTS PREDICTION: 7

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MAY

2nd – Dagenham (a) : Another very tough start to the month in what is looking like a hard hitting May. The Daggers have been in and around the play-offs all season and look set to be amongst the chasing pack. A questionable winter has seen them drop off the pace, but they will be disappointed if they aren’t up there come 15 May. Very good side at Plainmoor and this Bank Holiday fixture could prove crucial.

Earlier this season : Torquay 2-2 Dagenham. A 20 second Asa header and Wright tap in soon after didn’t tell the whole story. Daggers hit back from 2 down and were good value for their point. Perhaps thought they deserved all 3.

Dag & Red position: 10th(as at 8/2/22), W13, D3, L11, GD +12, Points 42

Last 3 at Victoria Road: 

27/3/21: Daggers 1-0 TUFC

04/1/20: Daggers 0-0 TUFC

30/9/17: Daggers 1-0 TUFC

Difficulty – 5/5 : Asa’s goal in January was the first goal we’d scored against the Daggers in 6 attempts. Done the 1-0 double over us last season, even in our prime. We generally don’t score at Victoria Road, will be one of the toughest games of the run-in. Any result would be welcome.


7th – Chesterfield (h) : Chesterfield round off the 23 teams to head to Plainmoor for the 21/22 campaign. No doubt a sizeable away contingent will be down from Derbyshire as they look for automatic promotion. Keeping leading scorer Tshimanga will be their main aim. However, Stockport came and got nothing, as did Wrexham. Maybe the ‘party-pooper’ tag suits us…..

Earlier this season : Chesterfield 2-2 Torquay. A pretty dismal 88 minutes from a Torquay point of view as a Tshimanga double looked set to condemn them in front of the BT cameras. But for Little & Lapslie to score 89 & 95th minute goals respectively to earn the most unlikeliest of draws. No-one saw that coming.

Chesterfield’s position : 2nd(as at 8/2/22), W15, D9, L2, GD +26, Points 54

Last 3 at Plainmoor: 

13/10/20: TUFC 2-1 Chesterfield

21/12/19: TUFC 0-3 Chesterfield

16/11/13: TUFC 0-2 Chesterfield

Difficulty – 5/5 : It’s likely they’ll still be pushing for the title at this point. At time of writing, they sit a point behind Stockport with a game in hand. If they keep their top scorer fit, they have every chance of being on top at the end. Who comes in as manager, currently remains to be seen. Could be a crucial appointment.


15th – Southend (a) : It was like it was meant to be. Roots Hall on the last day. Echo’s of 2004 and Arjan Van Heusden running round topless. Southend have improved massively after long spells of keeping Dover company at the bottom. A solid run of form has seen them sneak up behind the Gulls, and this clash could genuinely be a shot for the play-offs, or to decide who finishes 11th and 12th. 

Earlier this season : Torquay 1-0 Southend. CLE’s ‘Gary time’ goal secured a huge 3 points back in September. It looked like a day where it just wouldn’t go in for the Gulls, but the persistence paid off.

Southend’s position: 13th(as at 8/2/22), W10, D5, L11, GD -8, Points 35

Last 3 at Roots Hall: 

29/3/14: Southend 1-0 TUFC

16/3/13: Southend 1-1 TUFC

22/10/11: Southend 4-1 TUFC

Difficulty – 4/5 :  Southend are currently flying. A massive turn around which has seen crowds of 7000+ return to Roots Hall. On recent form, will be a tough end to the season. 

MONTH DIFFICULTY – 5/5 : As I type now, these last 3 games look as hard as they could have got. A potential for all 3 to still be in with a shout of things to play for will mean United will have to be on their game until the very end.

POINTS PREDICTION: 2

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COYY – Danny

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TT STAT ATTACK 2021/22 – No.19

 

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