Craig blogs about Saturday’s game at Plainmoor
TORQUAY UNITED 0-0 NEWPORT COUNTY – MATCH SUMMARY
On what was a hot and welcome return back at Plainmoor, we endured 90 minutes of at times scrappy and in the middle of the park football, with the occasional flurry of goalmouth action, oh and water breaks! With neither side being able to really fashion a proper “goal scoring opportunity”, it turned into a proper pre-season game with both managers rotating their squads to build up players match fitness.
It was Torquay who started the quickest and won a corner within the first couple of minutes but a Ali Omar header was cleared away by the Newport defence, followed midway through the first half by a free kick by Brett McGavin from 35 yards which consequently ended up in Warbro Road! New balls please! But the best chance of the 1st half fell to Newport who were prevented the lead by a superb save from Mark Halstead, who had a good game and looked a lot better than what we saw of him at the start of last season.
The 2nd half started at a slow and scrappy pace but that’s what was largely expected on a day when temperatures were so hot, United created a few good chances of their own, including Aaron Jarvis forcing a good save with a curling effort that Newport keeper Joe Day tipped around the post. Kieran Evans also worked his socks off trying to get wide to get crosses into the box, his free kick midway through the 2nd half nearly found the head of Ross Marshall but the centre half couldn’t quite get enough contact on the ball. As the 2nd half approached the 70th minute or so, United started to ring the changes with Marshall, Andrews and McGavin going off, replaced by former Plymouth defender Ollie Tomlinson, Olaf Koszela and Trialist A (whoever he may be).
On the whole a proper pre-season game but another good 90 minutes of football in the tank for the lads, with Plymouth and Exeter coming up it’s important to keep players fit and raring to go for the start of our league campaign in a couple of weeks against Oldham!
Here’s a quick player overview from today’s match (all the subs that came on didn’t really do anything of note to report other than Olaf Koszela who made a few good runs down the channels):
1. Mark Halstead – looked confident when coming out for crosses, commanded his area well when needed and pulled off a great save to keep Torquay level just before half time, so far a massive improvement on last season.
2. Dylan Crowe – looks a great signing, pacey and likes to beat a man to get a cross in, occasional silly foul given away but every player does in non league!
5. Ali Omar – there is always going to be a mistake in his game somewhere BUT he has massively improved and will be a key player for us this season, strong in the air and won a number of headers.
6. Ross Marshall – again looks another decent addition to the defence, positioning is good and definitely doesn’t shy away from a tackle!
21. Dean Moxey – not much to say much about Deano, as we know how assured he is at left back, a classy tidy player with bags of experience.
7. Ryan Hanson – a decent 70 odd minutes for Ryan, looks a good athletic player who can thread some smart passes together.
14. Brett McGavin – appears to be a really shrewd signing, provides height and grit to the midfield and isn’t afraid to have a shot at goal, worked hard all game.
19. Shaun Donnellan – again like McGavin this looks like a great bit of business, provides height in midfield (that we lacked at times last season) , wins tackles and breaks up play well.
11. Kieron Evans – a very talented player! Clever footballing brain and is a set piece specialist (think he will score a few free kicks this season).
9. Aaron Jarvis – a strong target man who moves into space and wins flick-ons, was so unlucky not to score in the 2nd half but for a great save from the Newport keeper.
10. Corie Andrews – definitely not match fit yet but seems like he’s going to be a handful when he is! Some clever runs.
With Plymouth and Exeter approaching GJ is going to start wanting to form a first XI pencilled in so he can work out what his best team is.