Mark Hirst – @MarkAHirst
Mark discusses the Cup win
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE W
I’m loathed to judge a performance in the FA Cup. It’s all about being in the next round, however it’s achieved. I don’t think Monday’s draw did us any favours, the crowd swelled beyond normal league levels with the prospect of a visit from Derby. Hampton & Richmond were up for this, high tempo, somehow the goal felt inevitable. Being diplomatic, in the first half we could be described as ‘pacing ourselves’. Being less kind, the midfield had no legs.
The formation switch at half time showed more promise for the brief time that we had 11. From then it was all about resilience, the will to win is there, even if the ability with the ball is questionable
My heart sank when I saw the team sheet. 4 subs again, a keeper, a defender and 2 central midfielders. I don’t think Smith and Lapslie could have been near fully fit, otherwise surely they we’d have seen them before the 90th minute. Lapslie didn’t appear to be warming up at half-time, I took this as a sign he might be coming on for the 2nd half. He didn’t, which might have meant he wasn’t fit enough to even warm up.
The Hampton slope might not be Oddicombe, but it exposes players who are struggling to chase back deep into a game and the midfield could have done with fresh legs. As Danny noted in the match report, Smith was on long enough to produce a brilliant clearing header in the dying seconds with 2 Beavers set to pounce. If fit, he would have surely played at least 30 minutes, especially when down to 10 men.
The U18s had a good result last week, why weren’t their best 3 players taken along, if nothing else for the experience? Or did someone forget to register them?
THE RED CARD
I think it’s fair to say Dillon De Silva didn’t come to Torquay to play left wing back. Switched to the right of a 433 in the 2nd half, he looked much more at home. Taken down in the area about 10 yards in front of me, an audible thwack on the shin pad, the ref’s whistle was blown. Penalty! Wait, what? The ref produced a 2nd yellow card and the dreaded red. Footballers aren’t that stupid, so soon after his first yellow for a mistimed challenge, why would he dive? You don’t see the incident in the highlights presumably as it was right behind the piece of scaffolding. To my eyes, it was as a poor decision by the ref that thankfully didn’t prove costly (in an otherwise competent performance)- a converted penalty, a 2-1 lead & 11 men, it could have been a lot more comfortable. Now we also get a banned player for Saturday.
The atmosphere also cranked up after half-time. There’s no segregation at the Beveree, it felt quite flat in the first half. But at the start of the 2nd half, the Torquay fans grouped together behind the goal down the slope and the noise from both sets of fans went up a notch. I live nearby and go to 2 or 3 games a season and it can never be described as hostile. But it was a decent cup atmosphere in the final 45 minutes. I’m not sure what the Derby fans would have made of the ground – they can enjoy Plainmoor instead.