“We can build our team around him if he’d just stay another season“
Find out who Dom’s talking about (spoiler alert it’s not Keelan O’Connell) in his Chesterfield (h) talking points
Another win at home against play-off contenders (lame ones this time), followed by a lot of if onlys on social media. If only MacDonald had started the season? If only we’d beaten flipping Barnet? If only we’d kept Sinclair Armstrong until the end of the season? If only Manic Monday had been Triumphant Tuesday?! In the end the season is what it is, a season where a rush (some would say panic) to get players in and a play-off hangover left us with a mountain climb and overall a season where we weren’t quite good enough. All teams have imperfections and if onlys in their locker, the secret is dismissing those concerns and just achieving what you want anyway. And to be fair to the lads they have done their very best to make that happen. Falling short of 7th is no massive failure in this testing league, the main thing is we move forwards and don’t let it occur again in 2023.
The headlines have been going to Ali Omar, and that’s nice to see because he’s a lovely chap and a man who’ll try his heart out in a Torquay shirt. But the key to our defence is big Joe Lewis. I’d say the defender has the highest ceiling of any of our squad. Strong, quick, brave and intelligent, the Welshman has the attributes to take his mountainous frame much higher up the League pyramid. On Saturday he was once again tasked with a one-on-one battle with the opposition’s most important striker, and it was another battle that brought the best out of our long haired diamond as he kept Quigley quiet. A chap deserving of the Young Player of the Year award, we can build our team around him if he’d just stay another season. Fingers crossed!
Not many TUFC players have you on the edge of your seat when they take ownership of the ball, but the Duke is certainly one! Always alive to the situation and always hoping to create some chaos, the QPR youngster is a joy to behold. Full of frustration at times on Saturday as he tried to take the whole defence on too many times, Duke made up for that with a fantastic trademark turn and quality left foot finish in the corner. I’ve heard whispers he’d be happy to return to Plainmoor next year, and I’m sure we’d all love that to become reality. With maturity and guidance his decision making and output should only improve, and that’s a tasty proposition in anyone’s books.
What’s been the key to our best home wins this season? Well numerous things of course, but we’re always best when the team plays at a high tempo, an intensity that makes the opposition fidgety and earns us space to play in. On Saturday we had too much of that energy for Chesterfield, who tried to throw punches back in return but kept on missing. One of the guys who helps set this tempo is Mr Tom Lapslie, who ran and ran….and then ran again, popping up everywhere on the Plainmoor pitch, snapping at heels, winning tackles, pressurising mistakes and also chucking his frame into attacks. Next season we have to find this intensity more often, hopefully helped by a larger gathering of fitter and stronger players who can interchange and help keep our team fresh. These ‘marquee signings’ have a lot to live up to.
It was no surprise when Joe Lewis lofted the YPOTY trophy, though I was surprised that Ben Wynter was still eligible for it! The brilliant defender seems to have been here for ever, and deserves some kind of award for playing every second of the 2021-22 season so far (whilst rarely ever letting us down). The POTY award rightly or wrongly went to Shaun MacDonald. Whether or not you agree with that one, the keeper has been pivotal to the Gulls becoming a rather decent team (just think back to Halstead returning for the FA Trophy and grimace…) and deserves the plaudits. Runner up Armani Little shouldn’t be disappointed. He’s proved his point this season and had his best year as a professional, whilst casting aside questions about his chequered injury record. Other opportunities surely await for these guys (not to mention the Lemon) – this summer is going to be interesting….
COYY – Dom
“The boys gave it everything as we said they would and it gives the supporters hope for next year. I know it’s another season but we have got a lot more time now to get our squad together. There is a lot of negotiating to be done, of course”