Rachel Malloch – @RachelVillavox

Rachel reports back from Plainmoor


The magic of the cup, when 24th in the National League takes on 18th in the National League South and a football pitch becomes a level playing field. You would like to think, or hope. Alas for 70 minutes there was very little to suggest the gulf in a full time club playing part timers. Torquay United were that poor, devoid of shape, movement, intuition, any discernible football.

In fairness, Torquay did start the game hooking the ball out to the left where an impressive Ben Wyatt saw plenty of the ball and was the hardest working player certainly in a yellow shirt. It was slim pickings though and for all Wyatt’s possession and lofted balls into the area, neither Jarvis or Goodwin could get on the end of anything. 

Hampton certainly played with the confidence of a team who could see a way past this struggling Torquay team and were moving the ball around well. It was from one swathe of attacking play that a shot blasted into the area found the hand of Dean Moxey, and the ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Mark Halstead did well to save the penalty kick but with no defender following up into the area to clear the loose ball, a Hampton player did react and tapped the ball into the net to take what would be a deserved lead.

In response, Ben Wyatt’s endeavours and front foot play almost paid dividends when he picked up a Donnellan pass, took a chance to shoot and saw it cannon off the crossbar with the keeper getting fingertips to the effort. With his team mates struggling to find any momentum or initiative, it was Wyatt who chased a ball down and whilst winning a corner kick, picked up a knock in the process. While gamely carrying on after some treatment, the player did not return to the field in the 2nd half.

A number of corners, some free kicks, all came to nothing in a half that once again exposed Torquay United as a team with very little in deviation or creativity, low in confidence and finding it difficult to implement the basics of pass and go, of movement. The half time whistle was followed by some boos around the ground.

2nd  half, Ben Wyatt had been replaced by loan winger Dillon De Silva and while Wyatt had played well, there was no player on the pitch with pace and a willingness to take on and cut in players. His introduction made some difference. There was again a lack of understanding between players, static and an inability to read any pass and go, no awareness between either the midfield or the front attacking line. 

A long ball saw Okoli and Omar collide with each other in calamitous fashion, leaving the busy Hampton forward Babola, goal-scorer in the first half, with acres of space and time to hold the ball up and line it up for Hampton’s Gray to fire in and past the despairing dive of Halstead. Prior to that a tired looking Lapslie had been replaced by September Player of the Month Omar, highlighting the size of the squad at a time when Torquay were chasing a game. They were now 2 nil down and looking increasingly ragged, the pace and runs of De Silva aside.

A midfield that has repeatedly shown this season a lack of pace, drive or leadership, suddenly started to retain some of the ball, Asa Hall had been brought back into the team and whilst way, way off the pace, linked up well with McGavin, and with another attack thwarted, the ball fell towards him and he lashed an absolute scorcher into the top corner from a good 20 yards out. Still with the crowd of 1,200+, with an air of consolation, Torquay United suddenly started to play with a bit more urgency and a neat interplay with Jarvis saw Shaun Donnellan attempt a shot that the Hampton keeper gratefully gathered.

Then some lovely play by De Silva. Beating 2 players, the winger cut outside and lifted the ball into the box to find the head of the unmarked Donnellan to bring the game to 2-2. Then with the clock ticking down, some more good football found De Silva unmarked with space and time only to blast the ball way off target, so far off that it resulted in a throw-in! That was the chance was the mutterings on supporters lips, yet the ball was picked up and a game of bagatelle ensued, with a shot blocked, before the impressive Millwall centre half loan player Chin Okoli cleared a sure fire Hampton winner off the line.

68 Hampton supporters will feel disappointed by a game that they led and had chances to win. Torquay are a struggling team with very little cohesion, confidence or quality, but had enough desire and spirit once Brett McGavin’s corker volley went in to battle for something, and that in itself should be applauded.

So Torquay United are not out of this competition yet, however this really should have been the launch pad for Gary Johnson’s assembled team to restore some confidence and some pride away from the precarious league position. But we have made hard work of a game against a lowly National League South team. Credit to Hampton & Richmond and their vociferous support, they played a big part in this game and were very, very close to making it into the 1st Round proper.


Mark Halstead 6 – didn’t have a huge amount to do in the first half and pulled off a good penalty save. Looked a bit wobbly 2nd half.

Dylan Crowe 6 – struggled 1st half, much better 2nd and kept driving forward.

Dean Moxey 6 – frustrating game for Dean. Has been our standout player this season. Tries hard to make things happen. One player who reads the game, but a few errors crept in today.

Shaun Donnellan 6 – again, had a better 2nd half and was involved in our best attacking moves. Scored our equaliser.

Chin Okoli 7 – I like this player, very solid and his recovery in the occasional lapse is commendable!

Asa Hall 5 – very slow and resorted to hoofing when a ball to feet would have been the sensible option. He’s experienced and has a wise head but clearly isn’t anywhere near fit.

Brett McGavin 6 – did very little in the first half (this could apply to the team!) but 2nd half he was far more industrious and where he lacks pace he did play some nice through balls. Scored a sensational volley thunderbolt!

Ben Wyatt 8 – was having a terrific game, everything good was being sourced from him. A real shame that he had to go off following a knock.

Tom Lapslie 4 – another player who has experience but looked desperately off the pace. Like Asa, losing the ball carelessly.

Aaron Jarvis 5 – not Aaron’s day today, no lack of effort but the ball just wasn’t sticking or holding.

Will Goodwin 6 – again, not for the want of effort but just didn’t stick for the young Stoke loanee.


Dillon De Silva 7 – injected pace and much needed creativity while on the pitch. Had enough confidence for all his team mates to take on players and put in some really good crosses. So very nearly scored an unlikely winner.   

Ali Omar 4 – didn’t imbue any confidence in the back line on his introduction. Nervy.



Which may seem odd for a player that only played 45 minutes. However he was controlling whatever attacking options we had, was finding space out wide and tracked back too. Worked really hard and produced the quality that for the most part of the game was lacking.  Hopefully the injury isn’t too bad as when he’s playing like this, he looks a very good player.


Dillon De Silva so very nearly Player of the Match, looked a real threat out on the wing and very nearly scored what could have been an unlikely winner but opted to blast what only needed a tap! Still, very encouraging and exciting prospect and certainly could be a vital cog in any creative outlet we need.


Impressive, Hampton & Richmond moved the ball around well and could have slowed the game down at 2-0 but to their credit continued to push on and play some tidy football.  


Went about the game without any real controversy, the fact there was very little protest following the penalty decision spoke volumes!   


Once again, a 3-5-2/5-3-2 with a vulnerable defence, a laboured midfield and 2 forwards who are looking more and more frustrated. Altered to more of a 4-4-2 in the second half when Ali Omar came on.


A battling last 20 minutes from Torquay United, from a game that could have seen them out of the competition and mounting pressure on manager Gary Johnson, but with a replay and a long week night journey to Surrey on the cards, this is far from ideal.

This season has brought this type of performance far too often, a curate’s egg of fleeting moments of cheer but too often crashing disappointment. Still we wait for a home win, league or cup. Still we wait for this assembled squad of players to show any consistency or quality. I’m off to watch Strictly Come Dancing just to remind myself of entertainment, neat footwork and most importantly of all, movement. 







2 thoughts on “TT MATCH VERDICT – TUFC 2-2 HAMPTON & RICHMOND by Rachel Malloch

  1. Excellent report from usual ! Couldn’t make it to the game but listened to it on TUFC radio.
    Well still in it as the saying goes ,but not a very good display . The commentary team said any non football person watching Would have found it had to pick out the full-time professional ‘s from the part timers.
    So another game on Tuesday (which most probably Gary doesn’t need ) then home to Altrincham on Saturday!!!
    How much more pain can the Yellow Army take??


  2. Excellent assessment of the game. Hall, Lapslie and
    Moxey should be leading this enept group and sadly
    Are not . If these 3 are struggling to lift us, we have
    Got no chance.


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