Dan Elliott – @dan_torquay_man
Dan reports back from Meadow Lane
NOTTS COUNTY 4-0 TORQUAY UNITED – MATCH SUMMARY
We went today expecting nothing and we came away with nothing, but it still hurts, why? So when the news breaks as we are arriving into Nottingham that Mark Ellis is returning from Barrow, followed by Lucas Ness joining from Charlton on loan also you think…… So you’re telling me there is a chance!
The sky was riddled with grey clouds, light drizzle and enough misery to make you feel like today is going to be a day of doom & gloom. But then on the final approach to the ground, past Trent Bridge over the River Trent, the clouds parted and the sun came out, a glimmer of hope? Or a false dawn? Or just a ray of light in the sky for a passing moment.
For a team rock bottom of the league miles away from home there were Yellow Jerseys everywhere!
Not Trent Rockets jerseys but the yellow jerseys of the mighty #YellowArmy
I caught up with an old friend, a Nottingham native and passionate County fan. Him and his dad both perplexed at our plight and current situation! Good people, proper football fans, I explain what’s happened since Ashton Gate, their main takeaway “You’re never getting another manager the quality of Gary Johnson”.
Their feedback a compliment to the gaffer and our club that you felt wanted a healthy and competitive Torquay, as the battles we have had over the years have been iconic.
Today, however we all knew what was coming, and all agreed that the Denver Broncos (my NFL team) have more chance of finally turning up tomorrow and taking it to the Jaguars.
I just hoped we were all wrong!
Team Sheet came straight in and so did Ellis & Ness alongside Moxey. A back 5 with 3 in the middle of defence playing two wing backs, with everyone else protecting the back 5 apart from Goodwin.
The first half started surprisingly a little cagey. All the ball was with Notts County as they knocked it around with no real threat or danger. On occasions we would turnover procession and work the ball out to Da Silva, who would do well to get a cross in, but with only Goodwin in the box and potentially McGavin making a late run, there was little chance of threatening the County goal.
Half chances started to happen for Notts County and Mark Halstead was called upon to make not only some routine saves but also some vital saves that kept Torquay in the game. The new back three of Moxey, Ellis and Ness looked okay, Hall Lapslie and McGavin ran their socks off in midfield, trying to put the fires out. Torquay had enough numbers at the back, but they sacrificed possession in midfield because of this.
The Yellow Army were out in force, outnumbered but NEVER outsung. From the minute those players entered the arena the drum was playing and the people in Yellow were singing. I say again for a team rock bottom of the league miles from home, the Yellow Army was out in force!
20 mins gone and we were in this contest, we were not creating much, if anything to be honest but we were not over-run!
27 mins and Notts County get a free kick that they play into the box, after a few half attempts to clear and some neat passing, the ball comes out to the edge of the box where Rawlinson hits a clean shot into the bottom corner. For all Halstead’s great stops up to this point, it was harsh on him to be beaten from outside of the area.
However it’s only 1-0, don’t know how, but we are still in this, clear our heads, keep our very defensive shape and go again. Then disaster strikes.
33 mins – ex-Gull Aaron Nemane started the game as a right full back for County, spending the majority of the first half in the TUFC half attacking, made his way into the box from the right flank. A lazy leg sticks out and Nemane manages to find it and makes sure that he goes down. The ref stops and pauses, then points to the spot, penalty to County! That split second made you think, is he going to book him for diving? Did he make the most of that? Could he have stayed up? All irrelevant.
Penalty is converted 2-0 and it feels like game over.
Both teams then play out the remaining time in the first half. Notts have a few half chances but nothing major, Torquay nothing, and need to work out what Plan B is because Plan A is done.
The 5-4-1 from the first half has quickly turned into a 3-5-2. Moxey, Ellis and Ness are at the back, the wing backs have pushed on, Da Silva has a lot more freedom to go forward and McGavin is a lot closer to Goodwin, whilst Lapsie is here there and everywhere. The brakes are eased off a bit, but does that leave the back door open for Notts County?
The tempo picked up in the second half, both teams going for it. Torquay without the quality in attack, tried to make up for this with pure passion, energy and determination. As in previous games, plenty of effort but lack of quality lets us down.
Notts knew what was coming from us and they were ready for the sucker punch and wanted to get a 3rd quickly in the second half, you could tell, they felt if it was 2-1 they would actually have a game on their hands.
One moment of quality, one bit of magic…OR one bit of luck
68 mins, Notts County rattle the bar, bullet dodged. Then moments later a Torquay ball comes in from the far right side, Lapslie loitering at the back post is bundled over in a clumsy fashion by the County player behind him. Penalty??
The ref pauses and waves Tom back to his feet, uproar from the Away End. Why? Nemane went down very easily and used the contact to go down, Lapslie has been bundled to the ground with clear contact and the ref is unimpressed.
Unconscious bias from me? No, both incidents were at our end and at eye level, both could have been pens, one given, one not.
That’s the ball game right there. A few subs here and there now start to happen to wind the clock down. Aaron Nemane comes off right in front of the Yellow Army, think he was expecting some warm reception but due to the nature of his “fall” for the penalty, he gets some constructive feedback he smiles at and looks to the quiet home fans for a little love! He gets a nice ripple of applause, similar to the noise you would hear on Day Three of the County Championship across the road at Trent Bridge and it’s 10:34 and Samir Patel hits his first 4 of the day!
Game over, but please, let’s keep it respectable, take the 2-0 defeat and get the hell out of there.
85 mins and our legs have gone, Notts County forward line and attacking players are having fun with carving out chances. Two late strikes make it now an embarrassing 4-0 defeat.
The incredible Yellow Army started to get disgruntled and frustrated as the closing minutes play out.
Full time whistle goes, Aaron Downes, Asa Hall and Brett McGavin lead the players over to the Yellow Army, who give them a huge round of applause and the players acknowledge the incredible support by staying and clapping the fans back. Their heads high, appreciating the support, knowing that there is much work to do.
Mark Halstead 8 – Made some incredible saves in the game. That double save from point blank range was one of the biggest cheers from the Yellow Army in a bleak afternoon. Didn’t deserve to concede four.
Mark Ellis 6 – Next to Moxey was comfortable to start the game in the back 3 with Ness also.
Dean Moxey 6 – Usual class touches that he possesses, I want to see more of this back three with Ness & Ellis.
Lucas Ness 6 – I want to see more of Ness in this back 3. Sat on the right hand side of the back three, with Ellis in the middle and Moxey on the left.
Shaun Donnellan 7– Worked his socks off in the full back roll, was busy all afternoon keeping up with the waves of offence coming from the opposition.
Tom Lapslie 6 – Stuck to his tasks in the first half and protected the back four. Second half he covered the length and width of the pitch. Should have had a penalty. Passing lets him down on occasion, energy levels through the roof!
Dillon De Silva 8 – Our biggest attacking threat and MOTM. Looked lively and had some pace on him. Some good crosses and tried to get us going forward, which was lacking in general today.
Scott Smith 5 – Had a busy afternoon tracking back and dealing with the threat from Nemane.
Asa Hall 5 – Class player and leader but overrun today with the class in the midfield of the opposition. A few tired clearances and at times it looked like his legs have gone!
Brett McGavin 5 – Energy levels are there and wants to be involved, but not really sure what he does. Need much more from him and felt in the 2nd half he could get up with Goodwin and support, but they never clicked or connected. There is a player in there, but he needs to prove it.
Will Goodwin 7 – Brutal for him. Literally nobody in yellow near him for miles, especially in the first half of the game. More support around after the break but not enough quality.
Tomlinson & Thompson 6 – Didn’t really do anything or contribute to anything on the pitch.
Omar N/A – He came on and they scored two goals.
MAN OF THE MATCH – DILLON DE SILVA
The only out ball and only form of offence today. Ran up and down that flank and gave them something to think about with his pace. Some great crosses and creative play. Great performance.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS – YELLOW ARMY
The Yellow Army – To head to the team the team that are top of the league with not much hope and sing your hearts out for the whole duration of the game (the 300+ out sung the 7000 home fans) is a testament to everyone there and the passion of these fans.
Game of two penalty decisions, one given and one not given. That’s it really.
5-4-1 to start with, that looked solid enough defensively but couldn’t keep County out in the 1st half. More expansive (if we can call it that) in the second half, but lacking any offensive quality. Want to see more of that back three and Halstead in goal. Have a feeling against lower quality opposition we can shut teams out and nick a goal here and there. That theory will soon be tested…
Still believe that things will turn around under GJ. We sack this manager we are not getting one of his quality in to replace him – fact. Gary Johnson or Gary Owers: no contest for me!