What a crazy crazy game! From utter despair in an absolutely dire first half, to a chest beating and joyful second half comeback, followed by a game once again heading into Alty’s hands…to a late crescendo of celebration when Dylan Crowe nicked us a point with an unlikely and perfect right foot belter into the bottom corner. Was it 2 points dropped, or 1 point gained? Was this character shown and a turning point in the season, or papering over the major cracks of a bottom of the table team? A game that reminded you how unpredictable and draining a football match can be, and the Gulls being a ridiculous football club once more.
I’m not sure I’ve seen a worse half of defence than Torquay produced on Saturday. It may have been 0-2 but had 0-5 been the actual score-line at half time, nobody would have batted an eyelid. There is so many weaknesses defensively for United that opposition teams must be salivating at the prospect of playing us. Alty knew exactly what to do. Get the ball in behind the floating full backs, feed the ball quickly into the box and chances will appear. Keep calm in midfield, look for the right pass in the middle and huge space will be there to exploit. Our defence seems to move like a heard of lost sheep at times, Alty realising that any balls cut back to the edge of the box would not be blocked or closed down. We also sit far too deep, but then fail to react when the keeper saves a shot. So many issues it hurts. Add to that struggling to mark on set pieces as well and we’re in a right mess. What’s the solutions? Well it’s up to Downesy and GJ to get them organised and make us more difficult to play against, otherwise these goals are going to keep being conceded. A lot of work to do.
MOVING ON FROM PLAN A
Torquay United’s plan A going forward consistently fails to work this season. There is an insistence to keep the ball on the deck around the midfield, a probing approach where we look to feed balls into the striker and work our way through defences. I’d love this to come to fruition, I really would, but it’s currently not getting us anywhere. Defences find us easy to repel, and before we knew it on Saturday Altrincham would counter and seconds later were having a shot on goal. We were also taking time to put crosses into the box, taking too many touches and showing no urgency in our play. Well Plan A was thankfully shoved to one side at half time and replaced with a much more direct approach. Quick balls up to Jarvis, working off his (and Goodwin’s) endeavour, getting men up the channels, throws and crosses into the box. Suddenly Alty retreated and we had life. The kitchen sink approach! A more basic approach that suits this rather basic team.
We’ve discussed on numerous times batons being handed on from the older statesmen in the United squad to others. But it’s October 2022 and Asa Hall and Dean Moxey are still two of the most important players in the Torquay United squad. Kudos to them for their determination and spirit. Hall has so often scored big goals for United, so it was no surprise when he popped up on Saturday to put us back in the game. Meanwhile, Deano’s fire is there for all to see. Pushing forward down that left flank, cajoling everybody on and refusing to be beaten. What a guy Mox, and well done to both of them.
Last but not least it was fantastic to see so many enthusiastic youngsters in the away end on Saturday. Something like 600 in that stand made such a difference to the atmosphere, bumping up the crowd to over 2k and making plenty of noise all game. Well done to Torquay United for doing that, and with away followings so sparse in many games, it’ll hopefully be repeated. They saw entertainment at least, a game that must have been a feast for TV spectators and overall a fun advert for National League football.