Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses talking points ahead of the NL game
BACK HOME AFTER A MIXED WEEK
In predicting the Barnet and Dorking games I should have followed my instinct, my ingrained ‘Torquay United’ feeling – ‘it would be classic TUFC to beat the high flying Bees and then lose to a part-time team who are in terrible form’. Classic Torquay it was. A fist pumping and cockle warming display at Plainmoor, was followed by a subdued and rather pathetic performance on the Meadowbank plastic pitch. How frustrating. All is not lost though, and with the team finally gathering some momentum at home, we return to Plainmoor against another top 6 team. So that means a win right?! The team and supporters have to banish Dorking (a) quickly and attack this with all the aggression and hunger they can muster. The mid-week result was disheartening but it was only a massive loss if we fail to respond in the upcoming fixtures. 3 points on Saturday and optimism returns, such is life as a football supporter.
For two games the line-up remained unchanged, but we know that at least one alteration will be made, with Kieron Evans suspended after his red card at Dorking. Who will replace him? With options limited Ben Wyatt is the most likely to fill in on the left. Dan Martin has come back from injury but starting him would be a risk, otherwise loan striker Lewis Collins could return from his concussion protocol straight back into the XI if Gary Johnson wants something more attacking. In defence Ross Marshall struggled against Dorking, and his place could be under threat, possibly from Jacob Mensah who has appeared twice as substitute. In midfield GJ would love to have his injured leader Asa Hall back in action, his presence and experience around the pitch brings so much even in his twilight footballing years. Maybe the script is written for the skipper to return and lead a late Gulls charge to safety, get well soon Asa.
Manager Kevin Maher has done a fantastic job at Southend United. With the club struggling hugely behind the scenes and wages left unpaid, the ex-Shrimpers legend has kept morale high and gathered together a small young enthusiastic squad that currently sit 6th in the table. That’s some accomplishment considering the overall turbulence. In the midfield Jack Bridge sounds like our main threat and is their top scorer with 8 NL goals. The Shrimpers have scored a modest 41 in total (only 5 more than Torquay), but their defence has been very good, conceding an impressively tight 30 goals in 31 games. Four of those goals were scored by Notts County on Tuesday night, but with United’s attacking much less clinical, the importance of scoring the first goal feels high once more. With a strong away following likely and talk of a ‘final game’, Maher’s team will be motivated I’m sure to make it a fixture to remember.
SUPPORT FOR TOM
Nobody is attempting more to get the Gulls out of this mess than Tom Lapslie. At Dorking he struggled initially to continue his imperious form from Barnet (h), but the push and fight was still there throughout, and he also scored a well-taken goal to put United into the lead. The trouble is that other players are not matching him, with the likes of McGavin, De Silva and Evans all found wanting at the Meadowbank. After some encouraging signs at Plainmoor last Saturday, McGavin was more frustrating to watch than ever, wasteful with the ball and terribly slow without it. Evans’ distribution and control let him down, so did his discipline for the second yellow card, whilst De Silva just lacked any purpose at all. In all honesty Lapslie needs his skipper back, in the meantime he needs others to take responsibility and make us believe.
38 games for the Gulls this season, 80 Yellow Cards and 6 Red Cards. Undoubtedly discipline has been a problem. We are definitely not a dirty team, we are not a group who go round kicking people, or using other dark arts to gain advantages, but the cards have kept flowing from the referees pockets. Much of this is down to poor decision making, with people like Ross Marshall and Dylan Crowe choosing the wrong options to stop their cleverer opponents and paying the price. Otherwise there has been the stupidity of taking a dive whilst on a booking (Dillon De Silva) and making the same silly challenge twice in a row (Aaron Jarvis), to name just two brain freeze moments. The Gulls simply need to keep their discipline in the heat of the battle. See you at Plainmoor.