TT MATCH VERDICT
Clive Hayward – @Byehorse
TORQUAY UNITED 0-0 BOREHAM WOOD
A Torquay performance that shows us exactly where we are and what we are.
Based on his tweet this evening it seems that Armani Little has gone down with Covid. We won’t be going down with Dover but we sure as hell ain’t upwardly mobile either.
Without our main creative player, Gary Johnson tonight sent out a team that first and foremost wanted to avoid defeat. Against a Boreham Wood team that are clearly much better us – they are in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup on merit – this pragmatic approach was entirely understandable. But it was tough to watch, and it is a depressing thought that we have to scrap for a point against a club which tonight had an away support of 33.
The referee struggled to impose himself on a game which, in fairness, was full of committed challenges, niggly fouls and gamesmanship. The fourth official has probably developed tinnitus tonight, given the remorseless abuse dished out for 96 minutes by Aaron Downes. I don’t really see the point in Assistant Managers screaming at fourth officials. If anything, I would think it can be counter-productive.
Torquay didn’t fashion a clear chance all night. We were marginally better in the second half, but nearly all our energies were expended on stopping “The Wood” from playing. They were slightly more threatening for most of the game, but all shots were capably saved by Shaun MacDonald, who must surely be Little’s only realistic competitor for Player of the Season.
Borehamwood hit the post in the first half. In the second, Duke-McKenna’s fierce volley from a half-cleared corner went narrowly wide.
There’s not much else to say. We scrapped very, very hard for a point. I cannot get over excited about that. I suppose it gave Sweet Caroline a night off. I hope she enjoyed it more than I did.
Shaun MacDonald 9- Solid handling all night. Kicked well on an evening when the ball took huge punishment.
Ben Wynter 6- Perfectly respectable performance. Worked hard, Never had a chance to go forward.
Joe Lewis 7- Solid in a no-nonsense central trio.
Asa Hall 7- Shored up the back very well on a night when it was needed.
Dean Moxey 7.5 – Gets the extra half mark for his long throws, which seemed to be our main attacking ploy.
Dan Martin 7- Also didn’t get upfield much but gave an athletic performance: will be missed if his late injury keeps him out on Saturday.
Stephen Duke-McKenna 7- Always tried to get on the ball. One of these days he will catch one right on the edge of the box. If he had a left foot he would be a world beater.
Tom Lapslie 6- All effort as always. Creates nothing though. Made Charlie Oatway look like Zico tonight.
Stephen Wearne 6- Not a memorable night for the young Mackem. Struggled to make an impact in a game where second touches were a luxury we decided we couldn’t afford
Connor Lemonheigh-Evans 6- Fed on scraps. Effort was there. Not much came off.
Danny Wright 6- Produced the odd scrap and nearly caused one when he shoved an opponent in front of their bench. Occupied centre halves to a degree. It’s a difficult one to mark. Ultimately he did a man’s job and gave our defenders someone to hit upfront, but he never really threatened.
Chiori Johnson (for Martin- 90)
Klaidi Lolos (for Wright- 89). A pointless substitution: we could have saved the fourth official’s batteries
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MAN OF THE MATCH: SHAUN MACDONALD
Shaun McDonald, by a country mile. His handling was superb, apart from one late parry of a fierce shot which looked for a second to have eluded him. He came for crosses, he kicked it miles and he is a commanding, reassuring presence between the sticks.
I’m going to give it to the Popside youngsters, who these days without fail make their own atmosphere. A good noise, a proper bounce and loyalty to a club most of them will never have seen do very well.
Very definitely five at the back. Although Lewis, Hall & Moxey gave some real solidity, we were never really able to push Martin or Wynter forward.
The safety-first approach led to long hoofs in the general direction of Danny Wright being the order of the day, with big Moxey throws spicing it up in the sense that a mouldy parsnip gives extra heat to a curry!
The coaching staff encouraged our tiny midfielders to win the second balls, but it was to little avail.
You can see why Boreham Wood are where they are. First and foremost very solid, but with bits of flair dotted around the side. They know what they are about, and I think they will go close to automatic promotion.
I spent most of the night trying to think of puns for their left back Jamie Reckord, and was relieved when the ref blew the vinyl whistle.
Possibly Armani’s lateral flow result! There really isn’t anything to say in this category. If the Boreham Wood chance that hit the post had gone in, that would probably have been game over.
We are going nowhere this season I’m afraid. The team is run by a manager who knows the league and has worked out ways to make us hard to beat. Admirable in its own way, but sometimes I can’t help taking a sideways glance at Sutton and Hartlepool and wondering why the fates were so cruel last summer. But there’s a jaunt to Wealdstone to look forward to on Saturday, and it gets us out of the house!
COYY – Clive
PROUD AWAY SPONSOR OF KLAIDI LOLOS