Thomas Kelly – @tommyktufc
Tom goes back 7 years to the Gulls last league win at Boreham Wood
BOREHAM WOOD (A) 2016
After a day spent reaching the tallest peak in Innsbruck (mostly by cable car!) and getting a few pictures of myself in my Torquay United home kit with the backdrop of the Alps behind me, my evening was made complete when the FC Halifax Gulls Eye View episode was released, a good watch at anytime of day, especially considering the topic of discussion was a win over FC Halifax!
In that episode, the discussion of our next fixture away at Boreham Wood was mentioned and to my surprise, Dom, Chris and Sam were all struggling to remember our last away win at the Wood in the league. I knew.
Let me take you back to 20th February 2016. Gary Johnson’s Cheltenham Town side (with Downes, Asa and Wright) were battling local rivals Forest Green Rovers to the title, meanwhile Torquay United, led by Kevin Nicholson, were in big trouble.
The Gulls were bottom of the National League with just twenty points to their name from twenty-nine games, a good ten points away from safety with just four wins in the league. Boreham Wood were not play-off contenders like we know them to be now, in fact they were just hovering above the dreaded relegation zone at the time. A win was absolutely vital for the Gulls to keep the Wood within reach.
The Gulls lined up as followed:
22 – Gerring
23 – Hancox
24 – Nicholson
31 – Corderoy
Unfortunately, highlights of this epic encounter seem to no longer exist in the realms that is YouTube, but my overall memory of that day falls to two people, Nathan Blissett and a supporter in the away end.
Blissett signed for the Gulls at the beginning of 2016, initially until the end of the season with Nicho looking to find the firepower up front that the Gulls desperately needed at the time. At 6ft 5” (according to Wiki), his arial ability looked to be his biggest threat.
There was a moment that stands out as clear as day and I guess looking back now, created the spark that guided the Gulls to victory. A supporter in the away end gave Nathan some “feedback” and if you haven’t been lucky enough to visit Boreham Wood yet, the lack of atmosphere means that it’s not hard for someone’s voice from the stands to be heard.
Nathan responded with a thumbs up and played on. On 58 minutes, he made his mark, converting Berry’s cross from close range to send the 251 Yellow Army in a crowd of 555 into raptures. His celebration of cupping his ears in front of the Yellow Army was the perfect response.
Dan Lavercombe made some superb saves towards the end of the game and with help from the woodwork at the death saw the Gulls win for the first time in 2016 and their first win since Boxing Day.
That result resurrected the season for Nicholson’s Yellow Army. Torquay went on a run of eight games without defeat, winning five and drawing three. Despite a few defeats in the run towards the end of the season, Kevin completed one of the greatest great escapes in the Gulls history. A 2-0 victory away at Bromley meant the Gulls were safe (at least for another season).
Nicho, if you’re reading this, I was not a fan of your appointment at the time and I gave you and the squad so much grief after travelling the country watching heavy defeat after heavy defeat. That said, I respected you so much however for always coming over and facing the fans after every game, regardless of result and I have full respect for you for achieving two fantastic great escapes. You will always be a club legend to me and I’m so glad to see you doing so well at Exeter City and wish you all the success you deserve.
Back to the present struggles and it’s that kind of spirit that the Gulls need to find to keep their National League status alive. With Aldershot beating Solihull, things in the league look that little bit worse than we would have liked and with two tough away games next up, Torquay have to take confidence from their last two wins and believe that they can spring a surprise.
Games against us and Boreham Wood tend to be tightly contested matches and despite our league position, we shouldn’t fully give up on a good result this weekend. Whilst the Wood are having another good FA Cup run this season, their record at home in the league is rather mediocre, winning just three from eleven. If you look at the home form table, BW find themselves 19th, although just don’t ask about our position!
That said they’ve lost just three at home and will be fresher after their FA Cup replay at Accrington was postponed. Luke Gerrard is a very good manager at this level and I expect he will manage higher in the pyramid in the future. They’ll set their stall out to dictate the tempo and grind the Gulls out of the game, whilst being hard to breakdown as usual. Hopefully with a rested Mox and Asa, we can set ourselves up to cause them problems and our new signings can make an impact. The first goal tends to be important in games against ‘The Wood’ and I can see that element being crucial again.
TorquayTalk will be there as always and we hope to see as many of you there cheering the lads on. Keep it Yellow, Up the Gulls!