Clive Hayward – @Byehorse
Clive discusses the defeat at Plainmoor
TORQUAY UNITED 1-2 WEALDSTONE – MATCH SUMMARY
I think that’s it now. The trapdoor to regional football is now yawning open and survival in a league we dominated two seasons ago looks a fanciful prospect.
Despite never giving up and giving the visitors a scare in an improved second half performance, 10 men Torquay went down to a late winner against a Wealdstone team that made hard work of their win.
In a game they had to win, Torquay got the shooting themselves in the foot done early. On 7 minutes Tom Lapslie lost the ball with poor control just inside the Wealdstone half, and his out of control lunge to recover saw him make studs to knee contact with his opponent. The referee was nearby and had a perfect view. He reached for his back pocket immediately, and the red card saw Torquay up against it for the rest of the game.
Wealdstone started to dominate and it was no surprise when they took the lead just before the interval, our old Woking adversary Max Kretzschmar forcing home a rebound from a parry by the excellent Mark Halstead. The keeper had taken a kick in the face for his trouble earlier and by then must have felt it wasn’t going to be his day.
To their credit, Torquay started the second half strongly and Kieran Evans lobbed home from 30 yards to punish a very early goalkeeping error.
In truth though, Torquay’s attacking efforts were no better than huff, puff and launch it to Jarvis, and there was never a great sense of security at the back. With minutes to go Wealdstone worked a deserved winner and the nightmare had become a reality.
We had a corner twice cleared off the line in the dying seconds, but it was another bitterly disappointing Plainmoor afternoon. Johnson and Downes are clearly going to go down with their ship, and although I don’t often quote poetry in match reports it is very clear that they are Not Waving But Drowning.
1. GK: Mark Halstead – 8
A kick in the face first half, a kick in the teeth when left exposed late for the winner. Mark had a good and busy afternoon between the sticks and has largely won me over this season. He’s generally done ok and risen well above his previous joke status.
16. RB: Shaun Donnellan – 5.5
Started at right back, drafted into midfield after Lapslie’s red card but did finish the game in his original position. Managed to get his shirt ripped in the second half. A tough afternoon, often chasing shadows.
19. CB: Nico Lawrence – 6.5
Still looked a class act but made perhaps his first serious error in the second half. Gifted a chance which Wealdstone should have buried.
6. CB: Ross Marshall – 6
Fully employed throughout. 100% effort but he inspires little confidence. Can be petulant at times. Came off with what didn’t look to be a life threatening injury.
5. LB: Ali Omar – 5
Started at left back, finished in the middle. Offers nothing going forward and showed again that he can trap the ball straight into the Pop Side. If he has to play we have no chance.
4. CM: Tom Lapslie – 2
He didn’t mean to “do” his opponent but I don’t believe he can have real complaints at the red card. Some refs would have taken a deep breath, administered an “orange” and let him stay on. But chances are he’s a marked man. He spends his Saturdays kicking people and mouthing off at officials and although we all love him, he cost us the game today.
28. CM: Kevin Dawson – 7
It’s a low bar, but the veteran from Gloucester City has done well in his two starts thus far. He looks like he knows what he’s doing. A huge effort today, still flying into challenges deep in the game. McGavin and Hanson have a decade on this bloke, and they should hang their heads in shame.
31. LW: Lewis Collins – 6
I wonder whether his injury may have been a blessing in disguise because we probably needed to shore things up a little bit- but I’m probably talking tosh because this was a game we had to win. Hopefully no midweek game may mean he is fit for our next extravaganza.
11. RW: Kieron Evans – 6.5
Bright and good workrate. Another goal for the Cardiff embryo and he may be ending the season in reasonable form.
10. ST: Tope Fadahunsi – 5
Ineffectual. Second to most things. Offered little, and we needed much more.
9. ST: Aaron Jarvis – 6
Ran and battled as he always will. Got absolutely no decisions and an incredibly harsh yellow card. Not his day.
15. LB: Ben Wyatt (for Collins) – 6.5
A reasonable performance. Finished at left back and didn’t drop any clangers
8. CM: Asa Hall (for Marshall) – n/a
Narrowly avoids getting a ranking on his return from what may have been a knee operation but could have been a trip to Machu Picchu for all we know. Won a couple of headers. I fantasised about a late winner from him, but reality is biting hard for Torquay now.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Mark Halstead
This is the first time I’ve ever given it to him but fair play, I think he was good today. He must have been close to going off following his injury because he was clearly struggling with impaired vision. A brave but unsuccessful performance, which is an apt metaphor for today.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS – The Plainmoor Crowd
Today I am going to give it to the Plainmoor crowd.
This group of players, Johnson and Osborne do not know they are born. Honestly, where else in non league football would they get 1900 people to watch such awful, naïve and gutless-when-it really-counts performances? The referee took the brunt of our ire this afternoon and never once did we get on the backs of the team. The crowd’s attitude is on the one hand very creditable, but on the other it is giving the owner an easier ride than he deserves as he presides over the death of the club I love.
One swallow doesn’t make a summer. And one fair dinkum red card does not a competent official make. He was dreadful. He really gave us almost nothing, and “You don’t know what you’re doing” is less a harsh chant and more an accurate assessment in his case..
Approximately 4-4-2, then 3-4-2, then 4-4-2 (with Jarvis and Tope very deep).
Is starting Ali Omar at left back brave, visionary or ridiculous? You decide, but I’m not really seeing either of the first two!
On a sunny autumnal day in 2018 I watched Reidy, Janneh and Kalala take the Stones to the cleaners away from home and even last season we were still good enough to rout them 5-0 on a return to Plainmoor that Matt Buse won’t have relished.
But we are now so poor that they started the game as favourites and really should have torn us to shreds following Lapslie’s damaging dismissal. Corie Andrews produced more in 70 minutes than in his entire Torquay career. I wish him no harm, but also- good riddance.
The red card. I have taken a bit of stick on Twitter for this (funnily enough, I have it on good recent authority that I don’t have cataracts!) and I didn’t even manage to convince a couple of people at half time, but I still feel the referee was justified.
Playing all game with 10 is normally a recipe for disaster. A few more wins through the course of the season would have meant today’s defeat wouldn’t seem as terminal as it now does, but we never got them and we now need a miracle to survive.
The fat lady is clearing her throat.
The hearse has been fuelled.
We can’t afford a paddle, and the creek smelly awfully rough.
Ali Omar cannot swim.