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Fan Zone 12/03/2023




What a frustrating afternoon at the EBB Stadium where Torquay United were held to a score draw by hosts Aldershot. It was frustrating listening to the live commentary on BBC Radio Devon and excellent summariser, ex-Gull Martin Gritton, who pulled no punches. His assessment of the performance was spot on and you could hear the frustration in his voice as chance after chance went begging.

Whilst a draw stops the run of three defeats, in the club’s current situation only three points are good enough. And you can’t but help feel that had United a fresh forward on the bench to bring on, as Gritton highlighted, the win might have been secured.

We are led to believe that Gary Johnson is still looking to bolster his squad and with De Silva and Crole returning to their parent clubs, QPR and Cardiff City respectively, taking into account the arrival of Kevin Dawson on loan from National North Gloucester City, there’s room for one more loan.


Twelve games to go, five at home and seven away but United have scored a miserable eleven goals away from Plainmoor, the joint worst, with Yeovil, in the league.

In Saturday’s match United had a succession of corners but all came to nothing; seems that work needs to be done on set pieces in both penalty areas as the team still leaks goals.

These continue to be worrying times for all the Yellow Army as points and matches slip by; Johnson needs to use all his managerial experience to find safety.

Amazingly, Saturday’s results of other teams in the relegation zone all went in Torquay’s favour so it’s still all to play for.

Sadly, Saturday’s draw was undone with a 3-2 defeat at Solihull Moors on Tuesday despite playing against ten men for the last 20 minutes. This after taking an early lead. Things are looking grim.


Congratulations to Aaron Jarvis, who after a slow start, has proven to be a reliable goal scorer with thirteen goals to date, and his efforts have been rewarded with a call-up to the England ‘C’ Squad to face Wales on March 21 at Altrincham. He’s in the provisional squad.

Last season both Ben Wynter and Armani Little played in the corresponding fixture, losing 4-0.


Whilst it remains tight at the bottom of the table, the race for the title is proving to be a two horse race. During the week Notts County were surprisingly beaten at home and then snatched a late draw at Bromley on Saturday. Then, in the late kick-off Wrexham dropped two points after a terrible mix-up gifted Maidenhead an equaliser in time added on, scored by ex-Gull Shawn McCoulsky.


Based on average attendances a combined League 2 and National League top ten looks like this:

1. Bradford City 17,462 2. Wrexham 9,971 3. Swindon 9,009 4. Stockport 8,646 5. AFC Wimbledon 7,651 6. Leyton Orient 7,555 7. Notts County 7,391 8. Oldham 6,759 9. Chesterfield 6,736 10. Mansfield 6,684.

National League Crowd Watch: Southend lost at home on Friday in front of 7,213, Oldham lost at home watched by 6,382. Bromley, Maidenhead and Yeovil all had bigger crowds than usual thanks to away fans - Notts County, Wrexham and Woking respectively.

In National South Dulwich Hamlet, under new manager Hakan Heyrettin, got back to winning ways with 2,960 in attendance whilst Chester, in National North, looking for promotion had 2,491.

This week let’s look at three matches in Step 5: Bury AFC had a 2-0 win over Northwich Victoria in front of 1,413, in the Wessex League Premier Fareham Town had a 2-2 draw with leaders AFC Porchester watched by 1,107 and 1,070 were at the Cherry Red Combined County’s League Premier South match between Farnham Town and Badshot Lea, the home side winning 2-1. Just shows how important non-league football is to football fans.


So, the Southend United saga is resolved, for the time being. For, although owner Ron Martin managed to pay off the debt to HMRC before the winding-up petition in the High Court last week, the Shrimpers Trust remain concerned about the club’s future. This story is destined to run for some time until a new owner steps in. In the meantime, at least the players have been paid up-to-date although a transfer embargo remains in place.

Talking of new owners, this is what apparently has happened at Yeovil Town last week with the SU Glovers Group claiming to have taken over from Scott Priestnall. The new owners consist of former England rugby player Paul Sackey, Matt Uggla and his mother. How all this develops remains to be seen.


United’s Women go from strength to strength with another win on the road, this time a 2-0 victory over Warminster Ladies, thanks to goals from Esme Kilburn-Thompson and Tracey Cross, as they go for the title. They are now joint leaders with Bristol Rovers but second on goal difference, however, with a game in hand. So, it’s all to play for in what is proving to be an exciting finish with the team’s final home game being at Plainmoor on Sunday March 19 2pm kick-off. Being Mothering Sunday what better than a family afternoon out!

United’s Under-18s made it seven wins in a row with a 4-0 success over Yeovil Town; prolific scorers Jayden Gilbert (2) and Ben Aldous (2) on target.


Those of you who subscribe to BT Sport be aware that in July it’s being re-branded as TNT Sports following a take-over of £600m by Warner Bros Discovery. No doubt re-pricing will swiftly follow.

In answer to last week’s question, yes a good number clearly live stream United’s matches and of course you could get down to Boots & Laces on Tuesday night to watch the National League TV product.


Wins are really needed now so here’s fingers crossed the team recorded a rare three points away from home. Getting out of the bottom four remains tantalisingly close every game.

Those of us who are fed up with time wasting, and not seeing 90 minutes of football, will be pleased to learn that FIFA, at a meeting of lawmakers, has ruled that matches from next season will follow the rules laid down in the World Cup. In future time will be added on for injuries, substitutions and celebrations meaning matches are likely to last 100+ minutes. In the World Cup an average of 11minutes 8secs were added. Average ball-in-play time in the World Cup was 60 minutes compared with 55 minutes currently in the Premier League.

What’s your view on this? Not before time? Are referees brave enough to carry it out? Send your thoughts to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT.





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