Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses Saturday’s loss to Notts County
TALKING NOTTS COUNTY (H)
Torquay United versus Notts County ended up being a proper game. A game full of action, tussles and tackles, debatable decisions, three goals and a red card – a game very different to last time at Plainmoor when United and Maidstone battled out a largely scrappy and boring 90 minutes. The Gulls upped their performance as I hoped they would. Pushing, prodding and pressing County, and making life difficult for them from the off – carrying out Gary Johnson’s orders with enthusiasm. Nobody embodied this more than Tom Lapslie who has been fantastic since the turn of the year. The diminutive midfielder was an absolute dynamo, refusing to give up space and time to opposition midfielders and also scoring a fantastic goal to boot. Without Asa Hall, he is leading by example and deserved the man of the match award.
But (at Torquay United this season there has very often been big buts, and I don’t mean Corie Andrews..), all that Yellows endeavour and running still wasn’t enough to gain a result. Why? Because the referee rightly or wrongly gave County a second half pen for a challenge on the always lively Aaron Nemane, and because Notts simply had more quality and composure around the field. When the red card was given, they were the team making passes and making space for each other, whilst Torquay wanted to push harder and get the ball forward quicker. In truth the Gulls never looked like scoring. In the midst of the frenetic action, with the Yellow Army baying and hoping for an equaliser, there was no-one calling the tune and keeping the ball on the deck. What remained was a chaotic mess and a lesson in how not to play against 10 men.
Predictable route one football wasted possession again and again. Long balls gobbled up gleefully by Kyle Cameron and his mates, who rejoiced a big win at the final whistle, the sort of win that title chasing teams often gather up. They had been in a real game that’s for sure, using all the tricks to time waste as the clock ticked down. My instant thoughts after were a mixture of pride in the amount of determination we had shown, combined with the frustration of a Gulls last 20 minutes lacking in variety or quality. If we still remain in the National League for next season, fresh ideas, tactics and more talented players are desperately required that’s for sure. Coaching methods and players are evolving even at our level, and we’re being sadly left behind.
This squad has shown that it has enough grit to give anyone a game, but can we create enough to pick up the points? The 3-5-2 formation is making us more difficult to beat, but we still lack the right players in certain areas. At wing back someone like Aaron Nemane is just what you want in that position, competitive and aggressive with pace and movement. Neither Dillon De Silva or Ben Wyatt have enough of those assets to flourish, with Wyatt a defensive player who will try to get forward but with limited attacking ability, and De Silva, a tricky and likeable winger who isn’t strong enough to win 50 50s or defensive minded enough to stop attacks. The failure to bring in really strong and purposeful wing backs last summer has been an issue all season.
Otherwise I don’t need to say much more about Ryan Hanson in midfield. He’ll feel embarrassed at another enforced early substitution (after Chippenham in the FA Trophy) and despite having decent intentions, has looked a step down from all his team mates in the last 2 games. A player in need of a NLS season for sure…but we do not want this to be with us! Failure 2 (I won’t list them all!), not bringing in a midfielder who could take over Asa Hall’s mantle. With Asa apparently side-lined for a while will Gary Johnson stick with Hanson, move Donnellan to midfield and play Marshall at CB, bring in McGavin if possible, or find another midfielder who is motivated and National League ready? Most likely is the Donnellan and Marshall switch, and the hope that the big centre back can flower into a proper footballer in the coming weeks.
We now have a break between National League games, with Barnet (h) upcoming this Saturday in the FA Trophy…before Barnet (h) the following Saturday. Such variety at Plainmoor! The Yellow Army were excellent again on Saturday (I don’t think anyone left early anyway…) and unlike many relegation scraps you can still feel a lot of belief in the team, mainly because they do provide the effort we are looking for. Speaking with other supporters the general feeling is that we are witnessing an honest bunch of lads just lacking the sparkle to take them forward. I do trust them to do all they can to keep us in this league, do I trust them to achieve it? Yes…maybe….perhaps ask me after Dorking (a), a Tuesday nighter in two weeks time that feels huge. Keep going lads, we are behind you.
One thought on “THE TT BLOG – Talking Notts County (h) by Dom Roman”
Another good summary by Dom, just hope Gary Johnson reads it. The answer to the situation is how long before we see Dan Martin back in the team? He has been sorely missed this season!