Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom reports back on the game at Plainmoor
TORQUAY UNITED 1-4 SOLIHULL MOORS – MATCH SUMMARY
After Saturday’s unfortunate cancellation, it was back to Plainmoor on a rainy Tuesday night, with an on-form Solihull Moors team the visitors. Gary Johnson named an unchanged XI, sticking with Rhys Lovett in goal and resisting the temptation of throwing the likes of Mark Halstead, Aaron Jarvis and Dan Martin back into action from the start.
With the one minute silence impeccably observed and the brass band finished, it was time to kick off. Despite the wet and slippy conditions, Solihull Moors grabbed the bull by the horns from the first whistle, dashing forward with all the freedom of a team who have scored goals for fun. United stood firm (just about), and to their credit started to carve out some attacks of their own. They even took the lead, Andrews dispossessed dithering Moors defender Moulden and squared for Will Goodwin who calmly banged a low shot into the bottom right hand corner. A lovely finish from a striker who reminds me a little of Kieffer Moore…whatever happened to him?
Could we hold onto this lead, or would the goal just make Neal Ardley’s team angry. The annoying answer came only two minutes later, a Moors midfielder finding far too much space in midfield (this was one of the stories of the night), slipping through Andrew Dallas, who made no mistake with a delicate finish after rounding a despairing Rhys Lovett. 1-1, and our brief joy had been scuppered, whilst the small Moors following celebrated in the corner of Bristow’s.
Then more misery on 28 minutes! Joe Sbarra, who had a terrific game for Moors, found time in the box to control a pass and finish low past the diving Lovett. 2-1 it was, a fair score-line considering what had transpired so far. Disappointing defending from United, failing to close down space and also ball watching for good measure. In response came United’s best move of the game, a link-up between Evans, Andrews and then Goodwin, who tested the keeper down low. A preview of what can happen when the team finds cohesion, but not enough this time around.
Half time, and the chocolate on offer was disappointingly Lidls own, no names mentioned (Rich).
With Martin on for Mox (taking the average age of the team down to the low 20s!), it was up to the Gulls to find a response. But on 56 minutes the next goal and the game was Solihull’s. Winger Ryan Barnett picked up the ball near his own corner flag, and seemingly beat half of the United team in a slaloming run close to the right touchline. The ball then found Josh Kelly, who was upended by Ben Wyatt. Did Wyatt get a piece of the ball? Difficult to tell, but it was an unnecessarily desperate challenge and Dallas calmly sent Lovett the wrong way to put Moors 3-1 up.
After that Gary Johnson threw the kitchen sink in with Jarvis and Iseguan entering the fray, with an adventurous 4-3-3 formation giving us more bodies going forward, some pressure upfront and the odd glimmer of hope. However in truth the swift counter attacking Solihull side always looks more likely to find another, and eventually after spurning a number of good chances, it came. Maycock poking in from close range to finish off a sobering evening at Plainmoor. A deserved 3 points for the superior visitors.
Rhys Lovett: 5.5 – As expected Rhy had a busy evening and he did his best to repel Moors. Maybe a little slow getting down to the second goal, but overall not a lot else he could this evening.
Dylan Crowe: 4.5 – Dylan had a tough game, defensively he’s got a lot to learn and he’s also hesitant in possession. Much work to be done for the young man.
Ali Omar: 5 – Ali’s usual commitment was there, but he found the lively Moors attackers too much to handle and his partnership with Marshall lacks way too much pace for my liking.
Ross Marshall: 4.5 – Same as Ali, wants to be aggressive and commanding, but hasn’t got the quality to back it up against this level of opposition.
Dean Moxey: 5 – Mox did all he could to stop Moors’ frequent attacks, but couldn’t run off an early knock and was subbed at half time.
Ryan Hanson: 4 – The midfield allowed Moors acres of room tonight, with Hanson struggling to assert himself centrally throughout and also giving the ball away far too many times. Not sure he’s quite ready for the responsibility at the moment.
Kieron Evans: 6 – Evans was involved and energetic, his link-up with Goodwin and Andrews showed promise and you could see what had been worked on around the training ground. Hopefully a player who can blossom in the coming months.
Brett McGavin: 5 – McGavin lacked the fitness, pace and strength to keep up with a Moors midfield who will give plenty the run-around this season. On the ball he found good touches and wanted desperately to make something happen.
Ben Wyatt: 5 – Sympathy for Ben, he’s an able worker but is not a left winger and made a bad decision lunging in for the penalty.
Corie Andrews: 5 – Andrews threatened at times, getting behind Moors in the first half and almost scoring. Almost isn’t good enough at the moment, but hopefully it’ll come soon! Too lethargic chasing down defenders for my liking.
Will Goodwin: 7 MOTM – See below.
Dan Martin: 5 – Good to see Dan back, not much to report though!
Aaron Jarvis: 5 – Jarvis tried to get stuck in and put himself about, a man working his way back to fitness.
Nelson Iseguan N/A – Arrived too late to get a mark….probably for the best.
MAN OF THE MATCH – WILL GOODWIN
Goodwin was strong all game, firm with possession and easily our best attacking threat. A cracking goal and a bright spark in a difficult evening. Finding the best combinations around this young man will be important going forward.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: KIERON EVANS
Honourable may be pushing it, but Kieron Evans showed smart touches, some good passing, plenty of running and deserves to keep his place in the team. Just one of the numerous youngsters we need to prosper this season.
Solihull Moors are a very good team, far too good for us at the moment. They have valuable continuity, a squad which has been built well by Neal Ardley, they have attacking variety, pace and movement that dwarfs what this limited Torquay United team can manage. Defensively a little shaky, which might see them trip up occasionally, but on that form Moors will be a shoe-in for the top 7 this season. A lesson for our young Gulls team of how to manipulate the football, support the man on the ball and overall a clear indication of how far off we are of being a decent outfit.
The referee had an eventful game, inconsistent with decisions and cards, typical National League officiating in many ways! Stonewall early penalty turned down, then a more debatable one given in the second half. Bookings handed out at random, and all in all a rather confused evening. Was typically booed afterwards by Bristow’s, but definitely not the reason we lost.
Started with a 4-4-2, but the under-manned midfield just found themselves swamped by Moors. Then switched to 3 upfront later on when Jarvis entered the fray. Tactically it’s work in progress at the moment, and the midfield looks lightweight, missing the busy Tom Lapslie to close down the opposition. Back to the drawing board, and perhaps we’ll see Jarvis and Martin slotted in this Saturday and another shift of formation.
The Gulls tried tonight. There was effort, there was some nice passing moves and there was a good goal, but when you come up against a strong team like Solihull you need a whole lot more than that, and there was too much disorganisation and hesitance around the team to hold our ground. Would any of our squad getting into the Solihull one? I doubt it, and that’s harsh truth of the matter. These young bucks are learning the hard way, and will have better days ahead as training ground practice and valuable game-time improves their fledgling games. Whether that’ll be enough to make this any more than a building season is debatable. Plenty for the gaffer to ponder in the coming days and it may take a couple of quality loan signings to bring things together. Onwards to Wealdstone! COYY – Dom