TT MATCH VERDICT – Boreham Wood 0-1 TUFC by Matty Hayward


Matty Hayward

@Matty Hayward96

Matty discusses a win for the Gulls!


An Asa Hall header – straight from the textbook of Asa Hall headers – earned Torquay a deserved, resilient three points at Meadow Park this evening, as the Gulls’ life support machine squeezed out its first feeble beep in a while. There’s life in the old girl yet, just about.

It all looked to be going swimmingly as Kieron Evans raced through on goal in the third minute. His tame shot was saved, but his compatriot Lewis Collins was left with a gilt-edged opportunity to open the scoring and send the stoic travelling Yellows into raptures. Alas, the ganglier of the two Welshmen skewed wide and unhandsomely past the open goal.

After a bright opening, the game descended into a real National League filth-off. That was until Frank Nouble combined with Kevin Dawson, and the Gloucester-loanee’s (yes, really) cross found one of the three big men in the middle. Asa Hall’s Big Head powered the ball back past the National League’s most WWE goalkeeper, Nathan Ashmore, and it was 1-0.

On the stroke of the break, Nouble fashioned himself a chance by bullying an already wearied-looking centre back. In hindsight, a squared ball to his strike partner might’ve been the wiser option, but his eagerness to make a mark on his first start and capitalise on his own brutal forward play is understandable.

We’ve read this script before though, eh? Torquay take the lead and look relatively alright, but there’s no way they’re keeping a clean sheet, eh? Eh?

Well, it’d be dishonest to say Boreham Wood didn’t threaten. They had a smattering of chances, mostly as a result of defensive stochasticity than attacking brilliance, but their finishing was wayward and our back line was brave. And, after nine minutes of injury time, the final whistle was blown and Torquay had their first away victory of 2023. No bother lads, it’s only the end of March!


1. GK: Mark Halstead – 7

Made a couple of decent saves, that you’d have been disappointed if he’d missed, but glad he made. One skewed clearance nearly gifted Wood a goal, save for their midfielder’s terrible touch. Otherwise, though, a competent performance, and some absolutely first rate, Covolanian time wasting.

16. CB: Shaun Donnellan – 5

Did nothing right or wrong before going off just after the break.

19. CB: Nico Lawrence – 7

He’s good, isn’t he? More solidity in a sea of chaos.

21. CB: Dean Moxey – 7

Absolutely Vintage Moxey tonight. Down injured early; magic spray; general charging and pointing and shouting; solid at the back; threw the ball a long way; got booked for a very late tackle; wasted an age at every opportunity. He’s been doing all of those things for nearly two decades.

8. MF: Asa Hall – 7

MOTM See Below

28. MF: Kevin Dawson – 6

It’s genuinely baffling that he’s been deemed not good enough at Gloucester. He’s firm in the tackle, a good passer, and a real experienced head. Suddenly, with Lapslie back Saturday, our midfield looks almost competent.

27. RWB: Jack Stobbs – 5

I can’t imagine he’s too pleased about playing at wing back, but if he’d asked any Gary Johnson winger in the last five years he’d have been told. I like his vibe, but his crossing was off tonight.

11. MF: Kieron Evans – 6

Alright. Can’t really understand anyone having a strong opinion on him. Clearly has a good technique and works hard, but also sometimes makes the wrong decision or makes a bad touch. He’s a Conference player, and not the problem here.

31. LWB: Lewis Collins – 5

Must be his first appearance at left wing back. Hard for him, but he missed an absolute sitter and gave the ball away too much.

45. ST: Frank Nouble – 6

My first sight of Frank. He’s big, isn’t he? Put himself about, and is a genuine handful. Him and Jarvis need to work out a functioning partnership very quickly, because they have the potential to be very dangerous, but didn’t really compliment each other tonight.

9. ST: Aaron Jarvis – 6

Everything you’d expect of him, including some fantastic foul-buying at the end. Had no service.


5. CB: Ali Omar (for Donnellan 48) – 6

Can you call Ali Omar peerless? He didn’t make any mistakes today, despite looking awkward on the right side of a back three. Did his job.

15. LWB: Ben Wyatt (for Nouble 82) – 6

Also did his job – to run about vaguely on the left – and didn’t let anyone down.

7. MF: Ryan Hanson – (for Evans 90) – N/A

Ryan wasn’t on the pitch enough to make a difference, which is a blessed relief.


Nobody really stood out – it wasn’t the sort of game that someone can ‘run’ – but I have no qualms in giving the award to Asa. It’s a depressing indictment on our season that, once again, we’re a different team with him in it. I don’t think it’s possible that he’s that good! But he’s absolutely streets ahead of the alternatives, and his goal was a thing of pure beauty. I’m sure, as he stepped out on the pitch tonight, he felt the pressure on his shoulders. He was playing at the home of England’s best left-footed, central-midfielder-cum-central-defender-cum-talismanic-captain, and for sure he did the imperious Leah Williamson proud out there. A skipper’s performance when it was needed more than ever.  


The ref lost his head in the second half, booking everything that moved, but he was generally alright. I thought Dawson was a little lucky to escape with just a yellow for his lunge, Nouble was a little lucky to escape with just a yellow for his hoardings-shove, and the whole team was lucky to get away with so much shithousery.


I mean, it was a bit mad? Sometimes “back three” and “back five” are interchangeable terms. Tonight was very much a back three. Donnellan, Lawrence and Moxey were protected by a central midfield of Dawson and Hall, with Evans just in front. Those three were flanked by Collins and Stobbs, while Jarvis was joined by Nouble (who I think I’ve decided to call ‘NOUBS’) up front.

To be fair, it pretty much matched Boreham Wood up, and kept them fairly quiet.


Boreham Wood, like so many teams we’ve seen this season, are shockingly bad. That they are in the playoffs proves that, once again, you can be a basically shite football team and still succeed at this level, and it makes our failure all the more stark. They offered nothing, relied entirely on their decent defensive record (evidence of which was lacking on the pitch tonight) and were wasteful in possession.


Full disclosure: I wrote about 700 words of this report at 19:00 tonight. I had assumed that another defeat was in the post, and scrawled an apocalyptically glum death sentence. I hope those words remain saved in my laptop as “unused bleak defeat conclusion Boreham (a)”, and never see the light of day.

I’ve been optimistic throughout this piece. It’s probable, likely, almost unavoidable, that this victory will have no real impact on our final league position, except to maybe keep us clear of the wooden spoon. We probably need to win five of our remaining seven games to have a chance. We’re probably wasting our time celebrating, and worrying, and thinking about it all. Certainly, this defeat doesn’t expunge any of the anger that I feel about our situation, or the rage I feel towards the absent, abject, so-called owner of the football club that belongs to us.

But, you know, I thought it’d be completely finished tonight, and it’s not. Perhaps there isn’t hope yet, but there’s possibility. And that clears the incredibly low bar I’d set when I was eating my tea tonight. So, I’ll see you at Scunthorpe…







One thought on “TT MATCH VERDICT – Boreham Wood 0-1 TUFC by Matty Hayward

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.