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Fan Zone 06/10/2023



25 MINUTES OF TOTAL FOOTBALL AS UNITED HIT FIVE FA CUP GOALS


BETTER TIMES AHEAD AS BOTH SOUTHEND AND SCUNTHORPE GET NEW OWNERS


11 LEAGUE GAMES AND STILL NO GOALS FOR CHELTENHAM



By the ‘luck of the draw’ Torquay’s reward for a one half only display, romping to an unbeatable 5-0 interval win over Southern League Hungerford Town on Saturday, is a home tie in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup to this Saturday’s league visitors Maidstone United.

Home advantage should be vital if United wish to be in the First Round Proper but first, of greater importance, is the National South fixture with Maidstone making the long trip from Kent.

Against Hungerford, Torquay’s route into the next round of the FA Cup was never in doubt once Jack Stobbs found the roof of the net.

This opened up the flood gates in a devastating 25 minute spell as everything United tried paid off despite ex-Gull Ryan Clarke in the visitors goal trying to turn the clock back with a couple of decent early saves.

But two Jarvis penalties - he’s a great spot kick specialist and he very nearly grabbed a hat-trick but for the width of the upright - plus goals from Tom Lapslie, who ran and ran all game, and Brad Ash, following a defence splitting pass from the rejuvenated Brett McGavin, put the result in no doubt.

The second half was a big anti-climax and no wonder manager Gary Johnson was disappointed that his players went through the motions giving Hungerford the dubious pleasure of a 0-0 scoreline.

Surely in Monday’s inquest there is a lesson to be learnt about being ruthless as most fans were hoping Torquay would at least equal, if not better, the 7-0 score at Lymington Town in the FA Cup in 2018.

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FA Cup Crowd Watch: Chester v Nantwich Town 2,162, Yeovil v Didcot Town 1,999, Torquay v Hungerford 1,648

Non-League Crowd Watch: Hartlepool v Dorking Wanderers 4,002, York City v Solihull Moors 3,940.

In case you missed it, there was only one match in National South on Saturday and Taunton Town’s 2-1 win over Eastbourne Borough took them to the top of the table - their highest ever league placing.

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The list of football clubs in trouble seems to increase on a weekly basis. In recent years we’ve had Bury and Macclesfield, both now thankfully on their way back, but currently there’s the on-going saga at Southend, due in the High Court (again) this week, Scunthorpe United, Reading and now Sheffield Wednesday.

Under Reading’s owner the club have had two lots of points deductions for financial irregularities while the owners of Scunthorpe and Sheffield Wednesday have independently announced they will not be funding their clubs anymore.

At Scunthorpe the situation is complicated as the ground, Glanford Park, is owned by the previous owner so they are having to move out, probably to Gainsborough Trinity’s home. Sheffield Wednesday, despite promotion to the Championship, parted company with ex-Gull manager Darren Moore at the end of last season; this season they are bottom without a win.

The root cause of all these clubs’ woes is money. And incidentally only last week the Premier League presented a plan to increase redistribution to the EFL by £358million, but with strings attached.

And it’s not just football affected by owners finding the financial commitments too great and pulling out. Over the past year Worcester, Wasps and London Irish rugby clubs have folded. To be joined last week by Jersey Reds.

Of course, since writing the above both Southend and Scunthorpe are under new ownership which promises to give their local communities hope and potentially a brighter future.

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Recently the Government published ‘A Sustainable Future - Reforming Club Football Governance’ which gives more clarity to the Fan-Led Review legislation expected to be included in the King’s Speech next month.

The review found examples of ‘unsuitable custodians, including owners with serious criminal convictions, owners later imprisoned for crimes including money laundering.’

‘To tackle these problems an independent regulator will be tasked with implementing a fitness and propriety test, ensuring prospective owners actually have the cash they claim to own, whilst also demanding robust financial plans.’

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In what was expected to be their first local derby of the season in the Women’s National League Plate competition, Torquay Women had to pull out of their tie with Exeter City due to their lengthy injury list.

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Goal Watch: In League 1 Played 11, Won 0, Drawn 1, Lost 10, Goals For 0, Goals Against 19, yes it’s Cheltenham Town who lost 2-0 at Lincoln City and 2-0 at home on Tuesday night to Lee Johnson’s Fleetwood despite changing manager.. Strange they haven’t scored any as they have ex-Gull loanees strikers Rob Street and Will Goodwin!

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So, next up at Plainmoor for a league fixture are Maidstone United who were relegated with the Gulls from the National League along with keeper Lucas Covalan; they are finding life in the South much easier.

United will, however find it difficult to have a full match day squad after Will Jenkins Davies returned to Plymouth and Luke Pearce to Southampton. Maybe there will be an incoming loan before Saturday.

For those who like to plan ahead tickets for United’s match at Taunton Town on Tuesday November 21 are on sale, adults at £14 and £11 for concessions (67 or over).


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