TT MATCH VERDICT – Dagenham & Redbridge 0-1 TUFC by Harry Salvidge


Harry Salvidge – @H_Salvidge14

Harry discusses the game at Dagenham


In a fixture that has previously produced 2 goals in 4 games at Victoria Road (with no wins for the Gulls) it felt like the odds were against United. It also didn’t help that an illness bug in the camp meant Jarvis, Hanson and McGavin all missed out, but it saw the return of Will Goodwin from suspension. A change of shape was also made with Dillon de Silva supporting Goodwin up top and it worked well. Dylan Crowe and Ross Marshall also came into the side with Lucas Ness returning to Charlton Athletic from his loan spell.

From the offset it looked like it was going to be a scrappy game with both sides creating chances but starting to cancel each other out. Josh Walker had the first chance of the game within the opening 3 minutes, forcing Halstead to parry the ball out for a corner at his near post. Down the other end, Kieron Evans was showing his intentions and started to put his mark on the game, striking the ball from 30 yards out straight at Elliot Justham,

Dagenham were a threat from set pieces, the matchday sponsors Player of the Match, Emmanuel Onariase was stopping the balls being played over the top but came closest to scoring after his header hit the top of the bar.

United found a way to break them down though, despite the resilience from the hosts in defence, Stephen Wearne floated a ball over the top of Harry Phipps to find Dillon de Silva with acres of space, onside, but in a panic, he drilled his shot wide across the face of goal. The Gulls found a way, and just before half time they exploited that opening in defence. A ball over top of the left-hand side of the defence, De Silva sneaked in ahead of Phipps, played a low ball into the 6-yard box and Will Goodwin managed to get to it first to score his sixth of the season. At last an away day goal for Torquay!

In the second half, it was a case of not allowing Dagenham to get full control and trying to counter for a 2nd goal. The home fans frustrations grew in the second half, because despite the chances being created Daggers could not equalise. Josh Walker had the hosts first chance of the second period but drilled his shot wide.

On the hour, the man with 1 Torquay United appearance to his name, Daryl McMahon made a double change that saw Joel Taylor and Omar Mussa replaced by George Saunders and Jay Bird. Just before that, Mussa produced the comical moment of the game, his shot from distance was straight at Mark Halstead but not only did Halstead have to stop the shot but avoid the flying boot of the Daggers midfielder which was flung high in the air before landing next to the keeper.

Those substitutions changed the dynamics of the game. Dagenham started to show more hunger and desire and within minutes of coming on, Saunders had a cross that went all the through the box before crashing off the post. 7 minutes later, Dagenham hit the post again this time with Jay Bird hitting the other post. They were finding joy down Torquay’s right, so Gary Johnson decided to change personal, bringing off Marshal, who played his first meaningful minutes since his red card against Altrincham, for Ollie Tomlinson to help Crowe deal with the pressure from Myles Weston.

The strength and determination I saw at the Southend win back in early September was back again, Mark Ellis headed everything away with Goodwin and De Silva looking to spring the counterattack.

United’s best opportunity of the second half fell to Kieron Evans, who from 30-yards seem to have acres of space around him, set himself up to drive a shot from distance that hit the bar. Stephen Wearne also came close to scoring towards the end, but his first touch allowed the defender to clear the ball away.

Torquay did well to take the threat of Dagenham’s crosses away, leading either to clearances or winning goal kicks and it eventually ran down the clock for United to earn their first win away in the league since September and first win at Dagenham & Redbridge since 2016.

All in all, you’d have to say it was a Good-win!


Mark Halstead – 7 – Did well when he was called upon especially in the early stages of the game. Did well to slow the game down when taking goal kicks, eventually earning the only yellow card of the game.

Dylan Crowe – 6 – Was given a tough time by Myles Weston down the wing but was up for the challenge the whole afternoon.

Ross Marshall – 7 – A steady game from Marshall, putting his body on the line when needed and shored up the back line.

Mark Ellis – 9 – Congratulations to Mark Ellis for making is 150th appearance for Torquay United. I’m pretty sure if you throw anything at him he’ll head it back, had a superb game in defence.

Dean Moxey – 7 – Another game where his experience was well suited and needed in the game. Played a key part in United’s exchanges from defence to attack.

Stephen Wearne – 7 – You feel his goal is coming and it will come soon. Was effective running down the wing and being there in support. 

Asa Hall – 7 – Another astute game in midfield, showing off the occasional bit of skill to beat his man.

Shaun Donnellan – 6 – Caught out on a few occasions in midfield with the ball but with the ball he helped United turn defence into attack.

Kieron Evans – 8 – Definitely his best game in a Torquay shirt. Showed glimpses of the magic he can bring, not only with his shots at goal but passes to open up defences.

Dillon de Silva – 8 – Caused issues in the Dagenham back-line all afternoon, would’ve loved to have seen him released on goal but the back 3 of the hosts prevented him doing so.

Will Goodwin – 9 – Right place, right time for the goal. His athleticism competed with Onariase all afternoon and his return was very welcome for the side.


Ollie Tomlinson – 7 – Did his job well when he came on and kept the solidity in defence to help United keep a 3rd clean sheet of the season.

Corie Andrews – 7 – Couldn’t get involved to much in the game as it was backs against the walls but worked hard when the opportunity arose.

Ali Omar – N/A – Towed the party line when he came on as a sweeper in the defence and did his job for the few minutes he played.



Shout outs to both Goodwin and Evans, but for me Mark Ellis is my man of the match. Even though it’s goals that win games, having a strong defence is as important and Mark’s determination to head the ball away the whole time helped Torquay win the game. His leadership has been key and finally earned a long-awaited clean sheet to mark his 150th game at the club.


I like a referee who doesn’t wave cards about, and there was only 1 yellow given to Mark Halstead for time wasting. Inconsistent decisions being made did frustrate the home fans and helped United through the game.


A change in shape was needed, mainly due to personnel available, but they adopted the 5-2-1-2 to match Dagenham & Redbridge as their game is playing down the wings and getting balls into the box, occasionally getting in behind their defender for a 1 on 1 with the keeper.

Donnellan moved into midfielder with no Hanson or McGavin available and Crowe played in his natural RWB role providing assistance in attacks when needed. United played more of a direct game and found a weak link with Phipps at LCB and De Silva exploited that on a few occasions, mainly the winning goal. Evans sat behind the front two and was given the space to create which you feel is his best position. He also had some great chances in the game to score as well. The substitutions saw Tomlinson for Marshall and Andrews for De Silva, like for like changes in the dying minutes of the game, Omar came in for Evans and played a sweeper role to beef up the numbers at the back.


Daggers would’ve been gutted conceding that last minute equaliser against Gillingham F.C. in the F.A. Cup, and they got frustrated throughout the game as Gary Johnson got it tactically right and stopped their danger men getting involved. McCallum was a miss for them as they didn’t seem to have a focal point up top in his absence.


A much needed 3 points was earned. There was an element of luck, but also determination and willingness was there from everyone on the pitch and it started to feel like Gary Johnson might be getting a tune out of this side. It’s a positive that the win has finally come after so much huffing and puffing for little return, but it needs to be followed up next weekend away at Oldham Athletic. Maybe a bit more quality up top could’ve killed the game off earlier, and it was a game to learn and build from. Results elsewhere mean that the Gulls are off the bottom and 3 points closer to safety, Gary wants his side to get back-to-back wins this month and they’re halfway to achieving that!







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