TT TALKING POINTS – Maidstone (H) by Andy Charles


Andy Charles – @CapitalGull

A home win at Plainmoor! Chris discusses looks back at the win over Maidstone

Glorious it was not, but three points are three points however they come about. Truly it was one of the worst games of football I have seen in a long time (or since Truro 0 Merthyr 0 last Saturday), especially the first half, but maybe there is just something hiding deep in this squad that could get us out of the position we find ourselves in. Maybe we are going to have to sacrifice quality – of which there was little on show – for effort, which was again on display in another dour defensive performance ending with a clean sheet…like London Buses they are.


Absolutely dire. Four times in the first 45 minutes I was on the verge of falling asleep. A loud yawn from me at one point brought laughter from the row behind and comments of “yep, that sums the games up so far”. It’s hard to fathom how professional footballers can play the game so poorly and that applies to just about every player on the park, possibly leaving out Dillon de Silva and Ben Wyatt, who possibly had his best game in a Torquay shirt. Passes going astray from five yards away, foul throws, little in the way of attacking threat and so little to cheer that the half-time whistle was met with almost complete silence apart from seats going up for those waiting to go to the toilet or the canteen.


Really hard to talk about individual performances because no-one really stood out. De Silva had his moments but, as has been the case far too often, his impressive approach play and tricks often come to nothing because of a poor final ball or a shot off target. But at least there is some pace there, which proved troublesome to Maidstone on more than one occasion. I’d imagine he would have been a clear man of the match but for Aaron Jarvis’ exquisite match-winning goal.


Yet another set of loanees to take a first look at for me – feels like a roulette wheel of them has already been in TQ1 this season and I hope the cleaners at the Gulls Lodge have had plenty of fresh linen in stock. Maybe they have also located James Crole. I’ll admit I made a snap judgement on Nico Lawrence in the first 15 minutes and wondered why we would use him over Ali Omar, for example, but his performance after that shaky start was excellent. Ricky Aguiar? Looks a bit lightweight for this level of football – passing and decision-making not all that great and too easy to knock off the ball. It’s a no from me. And Tope Fadahunsi? I thought he had the odd moment, and waddled around like a smaller, less effective version of Bayo Akinfenwa. I’d imagine he would have been taken off if there had been an option on the bench, but then he goes and threads in a lovely ball for Jarvis to smash home and all is forgiven.


Obvious change of tactic today and it wasn’t nice to see. We’ve had long ball teams before, but today we just seemed determined to do it almost every time we got the ball, either in Mark Halstead’s hands or at the feet of one of three centre-halves. I didn’t like seeing it and it was completely ineffective for 45 minutes. Aaron Jarvis, at least in my opinion, is a much more effective player with the ball at his feet. He might win the odd ball smashed in his general direction at giraffe height, but I’d bet it’s less than 30% win rate in the air. Our best moments came when it was played into his chest or feet and that then needs an effective strike partner. Whether Fadahunsi is the right one remains to be seen, but they deserve some time together.


Understandable that the crowd was quiet for long spells this afternoon but I don’t think I’ve ever known Plainmoor as quiet as it was in the first 45 minutes. I noticed Gary Johnson paid credit to the crowd during his post-match comments but not sure he was paying much attention until the second half when things picked up. Not blaming anyone inside Plainmoor here…apart from the 11 players who did so little to get them going until darkness started to fall. (Reminding myself here that we did win the game!)


Tactics 2/10; Performance 3/10; Result 10/10. And that’s what it boils down to. I’ll take another 10 or 12 performances like that if we win seven or eight of them. Otherwise, the next time we play Maidstone will be in National League South in the early stages of 2023-24 and I am not sure I can take another season down there.








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