Sam Swann – @@SWNe__
Sam discusses the Boxing Day draw
TUFC 1-1 YEOVIL TOWN – MATCH SUMMARY
Today was another huge chance of a victory missed. In the last month we have thrown away a lot of winnable games and this was one of them. Both teams had a few decent spells but most teams would have hammered a weak Torquay team out of sight. In fact, if it wasn’t for a string of fine saves from Mark Halstead, we would have lost.
Torquay played some good football in the first half, we are a pretty capable team going forward at times. Goodwin and Wearne were the standout players going forward in the first half. I was also impressed by McGavin in midfield and how well Donnelan played at centre back. It was another centre back who scored the opener for United, Mark Ellis nodding towards the goal after some deflections in the penalty area. The keeper was slow to react and it slithered into the bottom corner to give us a deserved lead.
After surviving a late spell from Yeovil in the first half, Torquay were absolutely dominated for the first 5-10 minutes of the second half. I do not understand what is said at half time, but if anyone can let me know what sleeping tablets our players take, then please let me know. Torquay did improve and Jarvis, who overall had a poor game, failed to control when put through on goal after what was a fine team move.
Then, the inevitable equalizer. After weathering the storms, I feared we would concede out of blue, and we did. How a professional football team can be out of shape from an opposition goal kick, absolutely baffles me. The Yeovil keeper showed initiative to take a quick goal kick and it caught us out. One through ball, took out our out of position defence and it was 1-1.
The panic phase then set in. I have never seen a team panic so much and completely lose basic discipline. Thankfully Yeovil could not take advantage. The game became a circus for the last 10 minutes. I can’t comment on the off the line clearance, from my view it looked like definite contact, or even a handball. Then in pure National League fashion, a truly awful piece of refereeing overshadows how awful the team you support is. How can one carded full back not be sent off and yet the other is, for the same offence? Full time and a red card for Gary Johnson afterwards, no Merry Christmas at Plainmoor.
Mark Halstead 8 – MOTM See below
Dylan Crowe 5 – They carved through him once in the 1st half but he wasn’t too bad today. That was until a very clumsy big piece of defending got him sent off. We cannot be carrying players who make so many mistakes if we want a chance of survival.
Shaun Donnellan 8 – He has really improved as the season has continued. He is versatile and was did well out of his natural position today.
Mark Ellis 7 – Scored the goal and was dominant in the air. However, he did get caught a few times today. He wasn’t helped in the 2nd half by Wyatt being completely off the pace. The injury to Mark is an absolutely huge blow, it really just sums it up. I hope it isn’t the last time we see him in a Torquay shirt.
Ben Wyatt 4 – I will be fair and put it down to a lack of fitness. He was steady in the first half but had a disastrous second half. He was caught out of position for the goal and again later on. He was also very poor on the ball in the second half. Let’s hope he finds form again with increased fitness and sharpness.
Stephen Wearne 6 – Very decent in the 1st half but like the team faded in the 2nd half. He was more confident after his goals against Chippenham. Another day he would have a goal and assist to add to his contribution.
Kieron Evans 6 – He is a tidy player, however I prefer him in a more advanced position. He gets stuck in but he was overrun in the 2nd half. I feel like that is more of a reflection on the system, not Evans as a player.
Brett McGavin 6 – He hasn’t hit the expected heights yet, we all know that, but he showed his talent in the first half. Some nice passes to link up the play, however we would really benefit from a more defensive midfielder next to him.
Dillion De Silva 5 – A disappointing game for Dillion. He didn’t lack effort at all, but his final ball was poor. Opposition teams have become wise to him, which is a credit to his talent. However, to play at a higher level, he will need to improve that consistency. It just didn’t happen for him.
Will Goodwin 6 – I do not understand why he was subbed off. His touch wasn’t great at times, but he is our main threat. Unpopular opinion, but in a much worse team, he isn’t far from what Sinclair Armstrong could offer. He can make moves happen from nothing and has a bright future. If he had CLE and Little playing behind him, I am confident he would have almost double the goals.
Aaron Jarvis 5 – I am a big fan of his and he worked very hard. However, nothing came off for him. His touch was poor and he was wasteful with possession. It happens, move onto the next game.
Lapslie – 5, Omar and Andrews – N/A
All joined the Christmas pantomime which was the last 20 minutes of the game. Lapslie clearly isn’t fit, or else he would be starting, Omar wasn’t tested much and kept possession a few times. Andrews managed to contribute to a Torquay 3v3, his awful pass lead to a Yeovil 1v1.
I just do not understand Corie Andrews. He was superb at Aldershot and I thought he would be our star striker. He has been one of the worst Torquay strikers I have ever seen. He was injured when he joined and he has been off the pace in every single way. It looks like a local Sunday league player who is playing in a celebrity game. Every game I think he will turn it around and every game he seems to look even more out of place. We moaned about Lolos (he needed a season or two in the VNS) and Dan Holman (way past his best) but even they would contribute more.
MAN OF THE MATCH – MARK HALSTEAD
What a performance. I was a huge critic last season and his form dropped for a few games this season, however it was another fine performance today. He has to face a pathetic amount of shots per game and today he saved us.
The usual National League clown. We struggle for refs in this country, but why on earth do we get stuck with attention seeking refs who lack basic common sense and consistency. It really turns me off this league as games become an absolute farce. They never used to be this inept. It is the same rubbish, every week. It is not the reason we are 23rd, but it is a reflection on the poor standard of refs throughout the English football pyramid.
During my well spent Christmas holiday time, I got Torquay to the Premier League in 2030, on Football Manager 2023. I understand that no-one asked about that, but it gives me fake confidence that I know what I am talking about at times.
I don’t like Evans in CM, however fitness injuries mean we are limited. The midfield got badly overrun in the second half, again. Mark Cooper got the better of Gary Johnson in the 2nd half, with their tactical switch. We completely carved open all half, and we never seem to have much of a Plan B. We did eventually change to a 352 when De Silva went off. However this left Maguire Drew completely on his own against Crowe, who got sent off. He also lost all hope of a threat down the right hand side.
One look at the National League XG table shows how open we are at the back. If you concede 6 or 7 key chances per game, you don’t stand much chance of winning football games.
Poor in the first half but after Cooper’s tinkering at half time came out much more threatening. Midfielder Josh Staunton is very strong in midfield (and cleared every corner in defence) and is just the sort of player we could do with, otherwise Fisher and Linton both made a difference as substitutes and could have easily won the the away team all 3 points.
For more optimism, watch Torquay’s Gull’s Eye View on Thursday, where I will be saying the exact same again. Anyway, it will be worth it for the natural charisma from the 4 of us on your screens.