Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses the loss to Chesterfield at Plainmoor
JUST TOO GOOD
First things first, Chesterfield FC are just way too good for this Torquay United team. 6 months after a Gulls outfit including CLE, Little, Lewis and Wynts (all missed hugely) despatched a despondent Spireites outfit at Plainmoor, this was an away team ready to make amends. Paul Cook has got to grips with how he wants to set them up, a clear tactical game-plan to play out from the back, attack with speed and guile down the wings and also play off a capable front man in Quigley. It wasn’t all perfect from Cook’s team, once the Gulls had woken up there was space in behind the marauding full backs and there was opportunities to score. But once half time had been and gone, Chesterfield had far too much energy, quality and fluidity for United, heck they could even bring on Kabongo Tsimanga to put a cherry on the top of the 3 points cake. We can make excuses of tiredness and lack of sharpness, but they are simply a better team all round.
TIRED AND JADED
Gary Johnson said what we all knew in the post-match interview – the players are ‘tired and jaded’ (you could say the same for supporters after this run of stressful games!). Nobody epitomised this more than the skipper Asa Hall, who looked even more knackered than he did against Dorking, and that’s saying something! It wasn’t just him though and despite a spirited 15-20 minutes in the 1st half, a half time sit down just gave United players time to switch off, and they never really switched on again. Why did we keep the same team from mid-week considering the obvious fatigue? A total lack of confidence in squad players to step in, and an understanding that we’d get thrashed with a re-jigged side? Well, we got stuffed anyway! Continuing to field tired players just risks more injury problems heading into the critical winter fixtures, so rotation must be on the cards. That could include Corie Andrews who returned from injury and made a late sub appearance on Saturday, let’s hope he makes a better impression 2nd time round..
Until the change to 4-4-2, the wing back area had been a glaring issue and weakness since the beginning of the season. Well on Saturday the full backs had a nightmare. On the left Dylan Crowe continues to show his lack of awareness and intelligence in defence, with Dean Moxey’s wile sorely missed. On the other side Shaun Donnellan was so slow to close down attackers, a tired looking player who was mercifully subbed in the second half and presumably told to take himself straight to bed! This left Mark Ellis trying to do too much to make up for others failings, and making his own errors, whilst the enthusiastic Lucas Ness must wonder what he’s let himself in for. We have papered over cracks in recent weeks with loan signings, however I can’t help but float back to our transfer business over the summer and let out a rather large sigh.
The change from a 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2 was lauded recently and has happily made us much more of an attacking threat. We have better width and more intent going forward, and even on Saturday there was a number of half chances to add to our one goal…players refusing to shoot in great positions being a frustrating footnote to the afternoon. But on the flip side we are leaving gaping holes in our defensive set up, holes that Dorking and Chesterfield have both exploited. Dorking could easily have had 5 goals, a more clinical Spireites did. The gaps are too glaring, especially when your team is struggling to get tight and press the opposition. Add to that indecision in the defence, especially from the full backs and United are a team to be got at. We desperately miss a link man like CLE to bulk up the midfield with his terrific running and work rate, whilst also creating chances and contributing goals, and the current imbalance between defence and attack is a proper conundrum. Against Chesterfield it was a set-up asking for trouble, outmanned in midfield and outmanoevred. Sure we are tired and jaded but tactically from GJ it was a recipe for disaster.