Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom blogs about Tuesday night’s game at Exmouth
EXMOUTH TOWN 0-2 TORQUAY UNITED – MATCH SUMMARY
The Gulls travelled to East Devon for their second pre-season game to take on Kevin Hill’s Exmouth team and what transpired was a largely scrappy, but competitive game on a hard pitch, where Exmouth Town gave for long periods as good as they were getting. Credit to Hilly, he’s clearly had an impact on the club and assembled a strong and organised team. I wish them luck for 22-23.
But enough about Torquay United’s past, it’s the performances of our new crop of young players we’re really concerned about…and on a beautiful evening at the seaside, the results were a little mixed. The first half highlights included a number of perfectly wafted diagonal balls from Ali Omar, some bright runs and crosses by Marcus Day and Olaf Koszela handing off a Town defender in rugby fashion. Unfortunately the final third finish just eluded us and the game remained scoreless, with Ross Marshall proving why he’s a centre back by banging a great chance well over the bar.
Into the second half, and Torquay remained largely unchanged (before an inevitable influx of subs), with the pivotal Brett McGavin looking to get on the ball and dictate play, whilst Crowe and Day continued to push up the flanks. But Exmouth pushed back, and United’s lack of experience with each other and necessary cohesion became apparent. Some frustratingly misplaced passes and wasteful finishing making it seem like a 0-0 was on the cards, and Town sensed a chance to get one over us.
But just when we were starting to ponder our walks back to trains and cars, a deliciously looping cross from the right fell perfectly for the lanky McGavin to nod in from close range. Then before the 90 minutes were up (and with Exmouth flagging) Trialist C made an intelligent run into the box and found youngster Brandon Quinn, who pounced on the opportunity and doubled the lead. Delight all-round!
Two late moments to savour (three if you include Hilly arriving to a well-deserved ovation!) in a match that lacked too much quality to raise the Yellow Army pulses, but gave Gary Johnson just the sort of test he would have hoped for. Much to improve and work on as we head towards the big kick-off, but that’s what friendlies are for aren’t they?!
Rhys Lovett – Lovett will be happy with his evening. Clutching some crosses, vocal with the back 3 and dealing with Exmouth’s efforts. An upgrade on Halstead? Watch this space!
Ali Omar – His usual strong and enthusiastic headers, plus some sweet long balls sprayed across field. Looks comfortable in the back 3 alongside Mox and Marshall.
Ross Marshall – Marshall has a confident presence and aura about him. Big, strong and fitted in well. Okay it was Exmouth, but impressive stuff from him.
Dylan Crowe – Crowe looks like he can be an excellent signing – enjoying the right wing back role, eager to get on the ball and put in some nice crosses to boot.
Brett McGavin – United’s most influential player, keen to get hold of possession and keen to get into the box. Could be a key man for 22-23.
Kieron Evans – Evans had a busy game, but his toil didn’t lead to much this time around.
Olaf Kozsela – Olaf chased and harried, working hard down the channels to help team mates, just failing to find the final touch.
Others – Dean Moxey was well…Dean Moxey, steady as usual! Marcus Day was industrious and an inconsistent mix of good and not so good from the wing. The rest of the trialist family (apparently including ex-Maidenhead midfielder Shaun Donnellan) got involved going forward and had their moments, whether that was enough for Gary Johnson is another thing, but perhaps we’ll see more of them at the weekend. Midfielder Alex Moyse has bulked up and got stuck in around the midfield, and well done to Brandon Quinn for taking his chance late on.
First and foremost it was just nice to be back at football, catching up with Yellow Army mates and winding Chris Wade up about the cricket! Exmouth Town were very welcoming and let’s be honest, standing in lovely evening sunshine with a pint glass in hand is never a bad option. On the pitch Torquay United are understandably work-in-progress and struggled mostly to rise above mediocrity against a staunch Exmouth team. But the good news is we have new guys such as McGavin, Marshall and Crowe who can (on first look at least) become very good National League players and a new signing in Corie Andrews who could give us the finishing touch we’re craving (no pressure chap!). Onwards to Newport, Exeter and Argyle, before the real stuff starts. It’s nice to be back.