Thomas Kelly – @tommyktufc
Twelve games to go, thirty six points still to play for. Saturdays victory over Kings Lynn has continued the Gulls decent form in 2022, tasting defeat just once and remaining unbeaten away from home. Four consecutive draws have seen our hopes for a top seven finish dwindle in recent weeks, but as we approach the final twelve games, the Gulls are eight points from that last play-off spot and have some big games coming up as we reach the final part of the season. Can we make it? Of course, but we’ll need a heck of a run to do it. Despite being rubbish at predicting results, here’s my predictions for the final twelve matches, with a yellow hat on of course!
FC Halifax (a) – DRAW
Ex-Gull Billy Waters made his former club pay back in November, getting on the scoresheet in our 3-2 defeat at Plainmoor. The Shayman have had an excellent season so far, currently lying in fourth place and on course for a play-off finish come the end of the season.The Shayman (as time of publishing) are four games unbeaten but face a difficult game at home to Bromley before our trip to Yorkshire. Will that help the Gulls? We’ll wait and see. I think it will be an entertaining game and one where we come back with a point from. One we can win if our best XI is out there but I think a point is more likely.
Aldershot (h) – WIN
A quick turnaround sees the Gulls back at Plainmoor against an Aldershot side languishing in 20th place. With games in hand over the bottom three and a relatively healthy points advantage, the Shots look safe for another season in the National League. The Surrey side are in poor form though and we should have enough in us to get all three points, although having beaten us 1-0 earlier in the season, the Shots should not be taken lightly as they look to do the double over the Gulls.
Weymouth (h) – WIN
One side that definitely is running out of time to save themselves is Weymouth. The Terras will be hoping we can help them out by beating Aldershot, but with a run of just one league win their last nineteen league matches, it looks like the Wessex side will be playing NLS football next season. For Torquay, if the play-offs are to be considered, this is a must-win.
Notts County (h) – DRAW
Memories of the play-off semi final defeat will linger with Magpies boss Ian Birchnall, who despite playing attractive football (according to forums!), has seen his side slip out of the play-off positions. Anything other than a play-off finish would be an absolute failure for a club of Notts’ size and if they don’t turn around results soon, Birchnall could risk the sack before seasons end. A big County following will certainly provide a brilliant atmosphere but with such tough games against promotion hopefuls between now and then, things could get interesting for sure. I think a point here would be a good result but it’s another we have the potential to win if all our key players click on the day.
Woking (a) – DRAW
Woking away. Happy memories in 2019, but for whatever reason victories at Kingfield has been limited in recent years. Our 2-0 victory last season our first win there since 2007. Watching our 4-0 demolition earlier on the season, I thought Woking were one of the best sides I’ve seen this season in the National League, but it’s been tough going for them in recent months, a run of poor results has seen Alan Dowson sacked and the Cards currently in the bottom half of the table. With our record, I think right now a draw is what we will get from Kingfield as Woking tend to up their game against us after our NLS rivalry.
Eastleigh (h) – WIN
Another club having a relatively poor season are Eastleigh. Regularly considered as challengers for the play-offs, the Spitfires are misfiring this season and find themselves a disappointing seventeen place. Away from home, the Hampshire side have lost twelve out of sixteen league games and will most likely have nothing to play for other than contracts for next season, which always makes things more challenging when there’s no real danger of relegation but no hope of promotion. Games like this have to be 3 points if we are still in with a shout for the play-offs by then.
Grimsby (a) – LOSE
Grimsby (at time of writing) occupy the final play-off spot and despite some poor results from the end of October to the middle of January have picked up form and look set to fight it out for a ticket to the play-offs.
Our record against them has seen us not win against them in our last four meetings and this is one game where I think (if my predictions amazingly come to fruition) will see the Gulls just fall short. I think it will be more competitive than our home fixture earlier in the season but with the second best home record in the National League, it will be a tough job to take the points back to Devon. A lot can change though from now until then though!
Maidenhead (h) – WIN
Another side with nothing really to play for and one you would imagine we should, on paper have the quality to overcome. Then again, I thought we were home and dry at half time in the reverse fixture! Having picked up just 10 points on the road (at time of publishing), it’s one you’d hope the Gulls will win.
Dagenham & Redbridge (a) – LOSE
Another side I thought were brilliant at Plainmoor was Dagenham & Redbridge. The Daggers played well for an hour after going 2-0 down early doors at Plainmoor and recovered for a 2-2 draw. The Gulls haven’t tasted success at what used to be known as Victoria Road since Kieffer Moore (wonder whatever happened to him), scored the winner back in 2016. The Daggers are right in the chase for a play-off spot and this could go either way. I just have a feeling we’ll be on the wrong end of this one for some reason. Hopefully I’m wrong!
Chesterfield (h) – DRAW
What a season for Chesterfield. A cup run culminating in a glamour tie to Stamford Bridge but also one where ex-manager James Rowe was released from his post under mutual consent after misconduct allegations came to light. Under returning boss Paul Cook, their title ambitions have taken a hit with some poor results and Stockport’s monster run, but a place in the play-offs looks most likely now. Who knows if they will still have a chance of the title by the time they come to Plainmoor, but with our record against the top teams pretty decent, a point I think would be a good bet.
Southend (a) – DRAW
Ahh the memories of 2004 at Southend. Promotion to League 1 on the last day of the season, could it also signal the Gulls a place in the play-offs on the last day? It’s unlikely, at least right now. Southend, despite a truly dreadful start to the campaign have hit their stride and full credit to them for putting themselves in a position where like us, a play-off finish although unlikely, is still potentially within reach…just. This could come down to a winner take all or a dead rubber, its impossible to tell right now. Ask me now I think our season ends with a point. I hope we have something to play for, let’s enjoy the ride and support the team on like we do best!!
Stockport County (a) TBC – LOSE
One to be pre-arranged for a Tuesday night…yay. The table doesn’t lie, Stockport are the leagues best side at the moment and the last team to beat them in the league was us. On current form, it looks certain that County’s exile from the Football League will end and going to a packed Edgeley Park will be a tough ask for United. I think a point here would be very welcome, but being honest, with Stockport’s quality, it’s difficult to predict anything other than a home win.
Total Points – 17/36
Final NL Points – 64
Probably not enough for a top 7 finish, but I think most of us are living more in hope than expectation of another play-off run this season. The great thing about football and following Torquay Unites is that it’s so unpredictable! Do you think I’m far off with my predictions or not far off track? Let us know your thoughts, I’d be interested to see your predictions for the final run in. Keep it Yellow & COYY!!
COYY – Thomas
One thought on “PREDICTING THE RUN-IN by Thomas Kelly”
Torquay will go ahead in the 80th minute at Southend United on the last day and we will all be looking for results elsewhere to sneak into that last spot…..