Matty Hayward – @MattyHayward96

Matty reports back from York


In a game of little quality, littered with a litany of errors, it was a pair of mistakes from Torquay’s last lines of defence that proved crucial in the Gulls’ sixth consecutive game without a win.

As Shaun Donnellan careered over and past the ball on the halfway line, Alex Hurst still looked to have a lot to do. He sped goal-wards faster than any Yellow shirt could muster, and squeezed a shot through Halstead’s hands into the bottom corner. And it was all over. 

And it could have been so different. Ten minutes earlier, United’s brightest attacking spark, Aaron Jarvis, found himself on the end of some lovely interplay from an otherwise hopeless midfield. He had just the ‘keeper and 16 yards between him and the goal; his finish was blasted not into the top corner, but into the hooter of the onrushing Ethan Ross.

This was a game contested between two poor teams. Neither could defend, neither could finish, and York had a marginally better midfield. Beyond the Jarvis opportunity, which was certainly the most glaring of the match, chances fell too, to the admirably industrious Scott Smith, the defensive debutant Chin Okoli, and a handful of York forwards. Both goalkeepers, however, went largely untroubled. As my new-to-TUFC female companion noted “both teams had lots of goes but couldn’t get it in”. 

After a bit of huff, and a smidgen of puff, the game was up. A game that, in isolation, is a disappointing but not disastrous performance. A game that, in the context of being bottom of the league and with a manager under mounting pressure, is another considerable failure.


Halstead 4 – had basically one job today, and got it wrong. His redemption has been one of the few glories of this season, but it was a bad error.

Ryan Hanson 4 – Offered nothing from right wing back before being hooked (through injury? Again?) at half time.

Chin Okoli 7 – POTM. See below.

Ali Omar 6 – so so. 

Dean Moxey 6 – It’s rare to see a man so visibly fed up with playing football. Twice in the space of five minutes he charged up the left wing to overlap Will Goodwin and screamed for the ball into his path. The ball came, but was just beyond him both times (hard to know who to blame really. Both times the pass wasn’t brilliant but it felt like a younger, less jaded player could’ve readjusted sufficiently). His sighs were a scream: “I’ve played in the f***ing Premier League. The best league in the world. And now I’ve got to play with this shite.”

Dan Martin 6 – probably our best player until he went off injured halfway through the first half.

Scott Smith 7 – it’s exciting and reassuring that we are still able, sometimes, to sign non-idiots. Smith is a good young footballer and has a future in the game. He, too, looked utterly dejected at the state of his teammates.

Tom Lapslie 5 – ran around a lot. Gave the ball away a lot.

Brett McGavin 4 – I think when you’re a tall player you’re more likely to be singled out for scrutiny. A misplaced pass from McGavin looks more ugly and ungainly and Sunday League than a misplaced pass from Lapslie. But he had a bit of a shocker.

Will Goodwin 6 – good hustle. Found himself playing on the left wing for much of the match, such were the in-game, injury-enforced tactical changes, and still harried his way to a couple of openings

Aaron Jarvis 6 – failed in the crucial moment, but otherwise had a good game. Games like that don’t get you off the foot of the table though.


Dillon de Silva 6 – the Sri Lankan international is also a non-idiot, which is nice. He played most of the game after Martin went off injured, and did alright without affecting the game.

Shaun Donnellan 4 – his 45 minutes were, as a whole, better than his 90 at Wrexham. But his failure to control a simple ball was the difference between one point and none.

Asa Hall 5 – for a man who is clearly too old and unfit, he made a bit happen in the fifteen minutes he played.



I went to Pizza Express in York after the game, and on the pizza cutters there it says “live your best slice.” In other “puns that don’t quite work but you can sort of see where they’re going with it” news, Lenell John-Lewis got no change out of Okoli yesterday. He played really well in clearly difficult circumstances, is superb in the air, and was one cause for optimism. He’s also absolutely massive, and is a glaring upgrade on Marshall and Omar and Donnellan.


York aren’t much good. They’ve got a big bugger up front and a couple of fancy wingers. I’m very jealous of them having Maziar Kouhyar – his story is worth a Google if you’re unaware.


Only mistakes were too minor to affect the result, and the offside to rule out a second for York looked a reasonable call. 


All over the place. It started fairly simply – a 5-3-2 with Hanson at right wing back. Then Martin was replaced by out-and-out right winger De Silva, so Goodwin shifted to the left of a midfield five. Then Donnellan replaced Hanson and it was a back five again (Moxey, Omar, Okoli, Donnellan, De Silva). By the end, a shattered Moxey was swapped for Hall, and the back four was a precarious Omar (AT LEFT BACK), Okoli, Donnellan, Smith. I spent more time trying to work out the formation than I did enjoying the game, put it that way. 


This was a huge game for me, personally. Bootham Crescent became a second home for me during my university days, of which some were fairly bleak, and I left a little bit of my heart with the club. It felt like I was able to watch the terrible standard of football that I was used to, surrounded by grumpy middle aged men who were also sick of how quickly the floor of expectation was plummeting for their club. The new ground has none of the character or personality or terrible toilets of the old, but the end behind the goal bounced and hinted towards the green shoots of memories waiting to be made. It was nice to be back in the city, and I imagine the sanitised surrounds of the LNER York Community Stadium appear to Clarke Osborne in his tenderest of moments. It’s a nice, comfortable place to watch football, if not an especially good, fun one. 

This Torquay team isn’t miles off being a bog-standard midtable team, which appears to be the limit of our hopes for now. On another day we win that 1-0 and things look a tiny bit less depressing. But we’ve said that a lot this season, and it doesn’t get you any points. There was a really dour atmosphere in the away end afterwards. Some mostly justified but clearly unhelpful anger was countered with smatterings of optimism that seemed more blind than rose-tinted. Most, though, were like my companion and I. Silent, glum, as devoid of ideas as our midfield. 







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