Andy Charles – @CapitalGull
Andy reports back from Plainmoor.
TUFC 1-5 CHESTERFIELD FC – MATCH SUMMARY
Another home game, but not on this occasion a valiant comeback as Torquay reverted to type and completely fell apart in a one-sided second-half against promotion-chasing Chesterfield at Plainmoor.
The Gulls played well for spells in the opening 45 minutes and arguably could have gone in ahead, but the old frailties of a pace-lacking side came back in spades in the second period and the Spireites barely had to come out of cruise control to pick off the home side at will.
Surprisingly, just a couple of days after the stamina-sapping 3-3 draw at home to Dorking Wanderers, it was an unchanged side for the Gulls with Dylan Crowe continuing to fill in at left-back and still no rest for Asa Hall or Tom Lapslie in midfield despite the availability of Ryan Hanson and Brett McGavin on the bench, where there was also (shock horror) a striker in the form of the returning Corie Andrews.
The opening moments were all Chesterfield – they looked sharp and ready to go with Armando Dobra especially lively up front, where he would get little in the way of help from hippo-like team-mate Joe Quigley, whose three key movements appear to be jump, run offside or argue with the referee.
The first real chance of the game saw the opening goal as a corner from Jeff King found a completely unmarked Jamie Grimes, and his header gave Mark Halstead no chance. Where the zonal markers were…well only a replay that I won’t watch will tell.
That came just eight minutes in and it seemed like the long afternoon that transpired would be on but, to be fair to a Gulls side which had been showing the odd sign of improvement, it did provoke a reaction…at least until half-time.
Mark Ellis dragged a shot wide of goal as Torquay got into the game and on the half-hour the equalising goal arrived. A ball fell to Lapslie on the left edge of the box and his cross made it all the way to the far post, where Dillon “Mr Prolific” de Silva controlled and shot past Ross Fitzsimons from a tight angle.
Four minutes later came the key moment of the game and it was Fitzsimons who provided it when he spread himself to push away Stephen Wearne’s close-range header. Like Wednesday when he had a similarly sitter-ish chance, the ex-Sunderland man really should have done better.
The Yellows continued to harry and press for the remainder of the period but, coming out for the second 45, it was clear whose plain-talking had worked better…and (spoiler alert) it wasn’t Gary Johnson’s.
Another corner would open the floodgates. Eight men in the box were slow of thought to a quickly played set-piece and Dobra’s pass found Darren Oldaker in Oldakers of space to curl a lovely shot past a despairing Halstead’s left glove (I’ll cut and paste that one for use later).
Hall had a shot narrowly wide of goal after a rare flowing move but Chesterfield quickly went down the other end with an excellent attack of their own to make it 3-1 and take the stuffing out of a deflated Plainmoor crowd – Dobra’s dummy wrong-footing enough home players to give Bailey Clements time and space to fire past a despairing Halstead’s left glove (there it is again).
Both sides rang the changes and one of Torquay’s subs – McGavin – tested Fitzsimons before the game was ended as a contest by a fresh pair of Chesterfield legs. Jesurun Uchegbulam this time coming in off the left wing and firing past a despairing Halstead’s left glove (and again).
“We can see you sneaking out” rang out at 3-1 and 4-1, as did “sacked in the morning” – no chance of that it seems.
Time still for the Spireites to bring on some fella called Kabongo Tshimanga who has recently been overlooked for a starting place and he raced past wilting legs to fire past a despairing Halstead’s left glove to add a fifth.
Anything that happened after that I can’t attest to – I could see me sneaking out. I was on the sofa at home before the five additional minutes came without anything troubling Halstead’s despairing left glove.
Five games in three weeks at home at an end – five points earned, one replay snatched, 31 goals scored and we got 16 of them. But it still feels like little in the way of progress has been made despite some seemingly strong additions to the squad. Some say they think we can avoid a relegation scrap – I see it as being firmly ensconced in one already with three out of our next four league games away at tough opponents.
Still bottom two at Christmas and we might be praying for Santa Claus to come up with some 2023 gifts beyond what is usually proffered.
Halstead 4 – his despairing left glove was beaten all too frequently but he had little protection.
Donnellan 4 – he’s had the odd moment at right back but shouldn’t continue to be hung out to dry.
Crowe 4 – constantly beaten to the punch by Liam Mandeville. His defending is atrocious.
Ellis 5 – won plenty of ball when looking straight forward but turned all too frequently and predictably struggled to recover.
Ness 5 – not a good day for the Charlton loanee.
Lapslie 5 – set up the goal and played okay first half but did little in the second and seemed intent on getting in the ref’s face as often as possible.
Hall 3 – I see people calling him the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). Those people should seek medical attention. His legs are gone and he should have been rested today in this scribe’s humble opinion.
Wearne 4 – set pieces were poor and just doesn’t beat an opponent enough.
De Silva 5 – scored but that was about it. Looked tired and his crossing was simply woeful.
Jarvis 6 – worked his socks off for little reward.
Goodwin 5 – knackered, and who would be surprised. He’s only a kid and has been forced into playing a lot of minutes.
McGavin 5 – nothing much from him apart from a decent shot that tested the keeper.
Marshall 5 – had a chance to score at 1-4 (I think) but that was about it.
Andrews N/a – I left about a minute after he came on – not sure why he was risked with the game gone.
MAN OF THE MATCH – AARON JARVIS
There wasn’t one. Jarvis gets the top mark for me but it’s nothing to shout from the rooftops about.
Jason Richardson proved to be one of those referees I cannot stand. Overly officious and overly friendly with the players – calling some of Chesterfield’s by their nicknames, or perhaps nicknames he had made up for them. Missed some blatant fouls and didn’t seem to recognise the difference between a foul and a dive.
4-4-2 – vulnerable as hell. Went to 3-5-2 and then 3-4-3 which were similarly vulnerable against a team which came to play and found some form after the sun went down.
For 45 minutes, Chesterfield looked pretty average/okay/nothing special. Knocking it long to Quigley seemed to be their main tactic, although they did try to get Dobra involved as much as possible. After the break they looked like a side chasing the title – ruthless, quicker all over the park and much, much fresher. They should at least be in the playoffs but could do with sorting out whatever issue there is with Tshimanga, as he’s the man who could fire them back into the EFL…if he doesn’t bugger off there in January of course.
No idea whether it would have led to a Gulls victory or a 2-5, but Wearne’s header from a couple of yards out had to be scored. Taking the lead into half-time might just have been the motivation we needed, but it wasn’t to be.
Pants. Soiled ones with nasty skidmarks. Basically back to square one and wondering where the next win is coming from…if it’s at Pride Park on Tuesday then you can colour me embarrassed.