Chris Wade – @TufcChris
A home win at Plainmoor! Chris discusses the finer points of the victory over Halifax.
THE BACK THREE
The move to a back three in the last two games has altered the structure and shape of the team. For the better. Whilst Dean Moxey has been as reliable as always, and Shaun Donnellan has been improving week on week to the point of being one of our best players each game, the role that Ali Omar played against Halifax was crucial. As at Huish Park, the Shaymen put a centre forward against him and Ali is happy to battle in a physical duel. He has worked hard at moving towards the ball and he was good again. The challenge for Ali and the system will come against a team playing football, trying to move the ball around him and down the sides.
The reintroduction of the fit again Asa Hall and Tom Lapslie has been crucial in the improved performances in the last two games. Their combative, competitive and never say die approach to all that they do is really important in the National League. Lapslie never stopped running and chased everything, and Asa patrolled the midfield mopping everything up. He was also dominant in the air, in what were very trying and tiring conditions. And of course. Captain Fantastic came up with the winning moment, flicking in a nice finish from close range.
Kieron Evans continues to be an enigma in this Torquay side. Fit again in recent weeks after a nasty rib injury and playing in a more advanced position in midfield, he has been getting into games in far more advance positions than earlier in the season. But he is yet to really make telling contributions in games. In the first half against Halifax, he had several opportunities to get shots off with quality, or make a key final pass and didn’t. Fully accepting that the surface was a tough one, players like Evans are really going to have to improve their final third output if we are going to get out of this situation. I would also include several other players in that category mind you (De Silva, McGavin, Andrews).
With two new faces arriving at Plainmoor this week, it certainly fuelled a sense of optimism at Plainmoor. We didn’t see Cardiff loanee James Crole, although from seeing him in the warm up and at half time, he looks a good size to mix it up in this league. But Ricky Aguiar did play 80 minutes on his debut from Swindon Town. He looks like a talented boy and showed some nice touches and flicks. In reality, you aren’t going to see the best of players like him on days such as Saturday given the weather and conditions, but he does have ability. Time will tell whether he has the physical attributes to be a success in the National League.
THE GROUND STAFF
It is only right to mention the ground staff on a day like Saturday. Significant investment has gone into the playing surface and drainage in recent years and it pays off on days like that. There is no way in a million years that we would have got that game on a few years ago. With the way the weather has been this week, getting the game on was an incredible effort. And although the usual areas were a problem in front of Bristows Bench, it actually played pretty well. Great credit to them. So much work goes into a playing surface that us supporters don’t see.
Will Goodwin confirmed on social media after the game that he has played his last game in Yellow and has returned to parent club Stoke City. He has been great for us and the best of the loan system. Arriving at Plainmoor in need of some game time and experience, Gary has shown full faith in him and he has worked incredibly hard. He has scored important goals (Derby in the FA Cup and at Dagenham spring to mind) and has always given everything. Rumour has it that his contract isn’t being renewed at the end of the season and he leaves us in search of a new club. We could do worse than him were he still available in the summer.