Thomas Kelly – @tommyktufc
Tom reports back on the game at Wealdstone
WEALDSTONE FC 1-1 TORQUAY UNITED – MATCH SUMMARY
Torquay United were looking to put the disappointing 4-1 defeat to Solihull Moors behind them as they visited Grosvenor Vale to play a Wealdstone side occupying 6th in the league after a good start to the season for the part time outfit.
With Moxey out injured, Gary brought in Dan Martin and the returning skipper Asa Hall in place for Brett McGavin. Torquay needed to start well and with just two minutes on the clock, Torquay had the lead. A free kick whipped in by Evans caused chaos and it was Ali Omar who headed in from close range after the ball hit the underside of the bar.
Asa Hall almost doubled the Gulls lead when his header agonisingly hit the post and the keeper gratefully clutch onto the rebound.
The game settled into the hosts having more of the ball but not doing much with it and Torquay quite happy to deal with the pressure, with Lovett called into action as the half reached the final few minutes.
A long delay in play due to Hanson being down twice in the half saw Wealdstone finally get themselves into the game. Dan Martin was dispossessed late on and thankfully the hosts failed to capitalise. Lovett was then once again called into action to make a great save to keep United in front at half time.
United needed to push on and try to get that second goal, but unfortunately, they spent the majority of the second half camped out in their own area.
On 67 minutes the hosts pounced to equalise. United failed to adequately defend Wealdstone’s attack and Stephen Rhys Browne had an easy opportunity at close distance to bring the hosts level.
The tone of the game didn’t change and suddenly we looked scattered at the back. Wealdstone were convinced they had taken the lead after a move saw their shot cleared off the line by Ali Omar, but thankfully the referee and the officials ignored the pleas of the players and fans behind the goal.
With seven additional minutes added on, Wealdstone applied yet more pressure but somehow United held on for a point in a game where we had just one shot on target for the entire 105 minutes played.
Rhys Lovett: 8 – Made some superb stops and looked more commanding of his box despite an uneasy moment between himself and Crowe over who should clear the ball away. Whether he stays number one with Mark fit again remains to be seen but we don’t need to worry about the keepers at the moment. Great performance from Rhys.
Dylan Crowe: 5.5 – First half I thought he played well, he put in a few good crosses but second half he struggled and was dispossessed of the ball far too easily. Still think he’ll be one to get better as the season goes on, but he needs to toughen up a bit for this level.
Ali Omar: 8 – Get in there Ali! So happy for him to get his first league goal for the Gulls and once again he was solid and reliable, clearing off the line at 1-1. Just a shame the goal was at the Wealdstone end but he loved it and so did the Yellow Army.
Ross Marshall: 7 – Developing quite a nice partnership with Ali. Worked hard and made some really good blocks when under pressure from constant attack after attack.
Dan Martin: 5.5 – Not Dan’s best game today but good to see him start. Like Crowe, he lost the ball too easily too often and it almost cost us late on in the first half. Difficult afternoon for him in general but good to see him starting. He’ll improve.
Ben Wyatt: 5.5 – First half looked to push forward which is what a lot of the Yellow Army have been wanting him to do but second half with the formation and constant pressure ended up sitting back with the rest of the defence which negated our attacking threat on the counter. Subbed off with 15 mins left.
Ryan Hanson: 6 – In the wars today but kept going despite some roughing up.
Kieron Evans: 7 – Every game I see a bit more in Kieron which is encouraging considering the potential he has in him. Second half the midfield seemed to be an after thought and it was hard for him to push us forward but he produced the cross that got our goal and continues to improve every time I see him play.
Asa Hall: 6.5 – Welcome back skipper! First half he looked good, held the ball well, a sense of calmness in the midfield that we’ve missed in recent weeks. So unlucky to see his header hit the post and who knows if we go in 2-0 up at HT how that would have affected the final score. Was subbed midway in the second half but good to get minutes in him.
Corie Andrews: 5 – It’s not quite happening for Corie and with Jarvis getting back to match fitness, it’s hard to see him starting future games. He desperately needs a goal and didn’t look like getting near today. Ran about but without much conviction. Subbed.
Will Goodwin: 6 – Wasn’t his game today, and he was quite anonymous for the majority of the game in my opinion. Difficult though when most of the game was focused on holding on for what little we had. Put a good run in late on in the second half but had no support.
Ryan Jarvis: 5.5 – More minutes for Ryan but suffered with service as the focus was holding on for a point rather than snatching a winner. Expect him to start soon.
Brett McGavin 5
Ollie Tomlinson 5
Got 20 or so minutes on the pitch. Will give them both a 5, neither could change things for us.
MAN OF THE MATCH – ALI OMAR & RHYS LOVETT
Yep, I’m picking two. Firstly super Ali Omar. Delighted to see him get off the mark for the Yellow Army. Whatever you thought of him last season, this season you can see the hard work he and the coaching staff have put in on the training pitch and you could argue now he is one of the first names on the team sheet. It was great to see him score soon after a chant of “We all dream of a team of Ali Omars!”.
Rhys made some great saves and really kept us in it when it looked in all certainty that Wealdstone would get a deserved winner, especially the close range shot where he somehow got a leg to the ball to deny the hosts the lead. He’s staking a claim to be the number one keeper and it will be interesting who Gary picks for Wrexham next weekend. I still lean towards Mark but it’s again reassuring to have two good keepers at the club.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: THE YELLOW ARMY
A quick word on the 208 Yellow Army, a great turnout all things considering going on in the world right now and our support for this club on the round continues to be fantastic.
You always know you’re in for a tough game when you go to Wealdstone and so it proved again for us today. First half I didn’t think they offered much (like us in truth!), but second half they really took the game to us and will feel like they should have won that game. Their ground is small but big enough for the size of their fanbase and despite an object being thrown at Rhys, the fans and staff I met were friendly and welcoming and I wish them all the best this season. I don’t think they’ll sustain a play-off charge as the season goes on but they shouldn’t have to worry about relegation either.
Awful, inconsistent, slow. Everything you need to be a successful National League referee. Both sets of fans were not impressed with some of the decisions and it’s just the lack of consistency that frustrates me. An example was when Andrews was told to go off the pitch by the away end but a Wealdstone player went off the conventional way just moments later. He also made sure every throw-in was taken exactly where he wanted it to be and was far too whistle happy.
A 4-4-2 of sorts, which reverted to more of a 5-3-2 as we sat back. There was very little option towards the end of the game to get forward and counter effectively. We desperately need some pace in this side and fast. It wasn’t a great display for the 208 Yellow Army to get behind.
I expected a tough game and that’s what we got. Let’s respect Wealdstone for the start they made despite their part-time status. Many sides will be in for a tough afternoon away to the Stones and our unbeaten record against them remains intact.
From a performance standpoint though, it’s clear to me that we are in desperate need of some fresh blood to the team, ideally players who have a bit of pace about them. So often we would have the ball and have no-one pushing forward out wide, especially in the second half where the ball was camped in our own half for the majority.
Wealdstone saw their opportunities down the flanks and we struggled to deal with that. At 1-1, our defence got really shaky and gaps opened up. On another day, we would have lost by a few goals and I feel I’ve said that a few times already in the games where we have picked up points.
Wrexham away next weekend looks a daunting prospect and one where we may have to take our medicine and accept it, but knowing us, we’ll s*ithouse a point or even a win, but it’s the games against Scunthorpe and Maidenhead which are the most important to me. These fixtures could define how our season potentially goes from here. We quite simply need to get a minimum of six points from our next three games and start to move away from the bottom end of the table, otherwise things could start to get quite worrying.
That said, all I can say to end this article is this.
Stick by the lads & support them. Torquay United is our club and no matter how well or poorly we do, never give up on them. We never do things easy, remember that.
Keep the faith, keep it yellow!