TT TALKING POINTS – Dorking Wanderers (A) by Job Estill


Job Estill


Job discusses the game at the Meadowbank


The key moment on which the game turned is undoubtedly Kieron Evans’ 48th minute red card. With United having continued their late first-half momentum via an early strike after the break, chants of ‘we are staying up’ reverberated around the away end. However, these hopes were soon dashed as Dorking were handed a man advantage, which they duly capitalised upon. The incident that led to the red card appeared innocuous at the time. In fact, it was so innocuous that I only realised that United had been reduced to ten after the final whistle (well it was either that, or I was still celebrating Lapslie’s goal!) Yet, having viewed the highlights, United can have no real complaints over the decision. Evans’ challenge was forceful and showed United’s ill-discipline, which is something of an Achilles heel. It is difficult to imagine more experienced players at this level committing such an offence when already on a yellow card, but such are the issues that Torquay must overcome with the young squad they possess. These lapses of concentration will likely cost the team its National League status.


Last night was another night where the summer’s poor recruitment was brutally emphasised. From the first six signings announced, around whom a competitive team was meant to be constructed, only Aaron Jarvis shone, whilst all of Ross Marshall, Kieron Evans, Brett McGavin and Ryan Hanson floundered to varying degrees. This has been the narrative of the season for the new recruits, with only Jarvis looking satisfactory for this level. Jarvis’s 12 goals and hold-up play have been crucial to the team this term, but of the permanent employees at Plainmoor very few can match his standard on a weekly basis. I would go as far as to claim that Jarvis is the only summer recruit since Ashton Gate who can be regarded as an unqualified success: I have no qualms with Mark Halstead as a steady No.1, but his first season was a struggle, whilst Tom Lapslie’s fitness issues hold him back, despite his excellent industriousness when he does feature. In many ways, Jarvis is a reminder of how far and quickly Torquay have fallen, as even he may not have been a key player two years ago. Regardless of the division United occupy next season, wholesale changes must be made in the recruitment methods.


The key issue for any member of the Yellow Army at present is survival, and the defeat at the Meadowbank has made this task even more strenuous. United lie three points off Yeovil, who are the first of a number of sides with their heads bobbing just above the water. However, a vastly inferior goal difference, plus an in-form Gateshead, makes survival look even tougher. Potential six-pointers against Gateshead, Scunthorpe, Maidenhead and York are still to come, but what sane Torquay supporter would expect anything from them? The statistics make for gloomy reading: United have won just one match against the sides inside the bottom nine in the table. This must change, but also increases the importance of the two upcoming home games, with this current crop of players seeming to wilt under any form of pressure.


Particularly against Dorking, the issue of ownership is prevalent. The differences between Marc White and Clarke Osborne are stark. Dorking fans see their owner, who, it goes without saying, loves the club, every week running from his dugout down the technical area to exuberantly celebrate successes, whilst I am not sure if Clarke Osborne has even made an appearance at Plainmoor in over half a decade of ownership. Furthermore, White provides significant insight into the running of his football club via social media platforms due to the fly-on-the-wall documentary ‘Bunch of Amateurs’, whereas the Yellow Army are still clueless as to what Osborne, who professes to not be a football fan, hopes to gain from Torquay United. Judging from yesterday and the league standings, I’d rather be in Dorking’s position at present, and even more so for the foreseeable future. Their notable commitment to success is far from replicated at TQ1, which may be fast approaching unknown, turbulent waters.


To finish on somewhat of a positive the Yellow Army were, once again, excellent. Hampered by the limitations of the Dorking away end – which should not be permitted at National League level – the Yellow Army brought consistent positivity throughout the 90 minutes and were buoyed on by their excellent numbers. A turnout of over 400 (making it the second highest National League away following of the night) is beyond impressive given the team’s current woes. Unfortunately, the only team of recent memory to get close to matching the Yellow Army on the pitch played virtually every game behind closed doors. Nonetheless, should this level of support be continued for years to come, the club will be in a relatively safe position. Such high attendances will hopefully aid a large NLS budget next season, should that be the state of play, and the strength of support could attract an owner who will show some ambition within the coming years. Just look at Wrexham; keep going Yellows, and the reward could be around the corner. Although perhaps not from Hollywood!







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