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  • Writer's pictureTUST

FAN ZONE 12/08/2022

Updated: Aug 21, 2022


On a glorious sunny Saturday in the Torbay Riviera heat it was a day full of happy returns: Gilbert the Gull, the Cross-Bar Challenge, the 50-50 draw on the pitch and, of course, the new National League season.

Unfortunately, Torquay United’s new squad, for various reasons, didn’t read the script and in all honesty were fortunate to come away with a point but importantly a clean sheet. However, this was only due to the visitors wayward shooting.

Full credit to both sets of supporters, Oldham’s, apparently ‘only’ 827 when over 1,000 were rumoured to be coming, but their noise, augmented by timely shouts from new Oldham owner Frank Rothwell in the Directors’ Box, was matched by the Yellow Army, bizarrely awarded the Man of the Match accolade.

Most fans would have given that award to Dean Moxey who produced a flawless performance belying his age and rightly acknowledged in the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day.

The half-time entertainment, which included the three mascots in a penalty shoot-out against Sasha Mole, saw fan Rich Whatman take on the cross-bar challenge with his first attempt just going out but his second, rather like Will Goodwin’s third minute attempt, thudded against the bar. Rich won £25, Goodwin won nothing but had it gone in he might well have been the headline, it certainly would have been a good win!


More seriously and of concern for not only many fans but also the management must be the number of players in the treatment room and at a time when the club’s physio has left to join the ex-Gulls’ revolution at Yeovil Town.

Gary Johnson knows full well that he has a decent new group of players but if he can’t have a matchday squad of 16 United are going to find it tough. In his post match interview he hinted he may have to look to bring in a few more.

He sprung a surprise, although not for the first time, with the arrival of ex-Crawley Town and Southend United winger Ashley Nathaniel-George who made an impressive substitute appearance and but for a timely block might have broken the deadlock.

The regular number of injured players over the last couple of seasons is worrying and is not helping the club’s desire to return to the EFL. It has a manager who can achieve this but he needs a fit group to select from. One player looking to return is Tom Lapslie who, sitting nearby in the Family Stand, was confident he would be back this week.

Might forward Tommy Hughes, from Ipswich Town, be joining on loan?


Towards the end of last season there were a number of unsavoury incidents involving crowd trouble and pitch invasions so the FA have acted invoking a crackdown. Fans who invade pitches, take drugs or carry flares face bans under football’s anti-hooligan drive.

From the outset of this new season, automatic bans for pitch invaders and other offenders come into force; any pitch invader will also be reported to the police and for any underage, parents will also face action. There is a distinction to be made: a club ban means a club bans you from a certain number of matches while a Football Banning Order is a criminal conviction and potentially life changing. Fans have been warned.


Non-League Crowd Watch: Wrexham, title favourites, had an opening day scare but won 2-1 in the end in front of 9,897, Notts County were watched by 6,331 and Southend lost in front of 5,681. United’s 3,690 was pretty good when for many it could have been a beach day!

Elsewhere, National North Hereford FC, managed by ex-Gull Josh Gowling, drew a six goal thriller with 2,205 in attendance while in the FA Cup Bury AFC drew at Hallam watched by 1,128 and Macclesfield Town won comfortably 2-0 at Wythenshawe Town drawing in 1,122.


Torquay United’s Women’s side ran out comfortable 4-1 winners in a pre-season friendly against Saltash Ladies at Coach Road. New signings Rhi Bailey and Mollie Orr-Love got off to cracking starts with a goal apiece and two more came from Mia Preston and skipper Danni Wyatt who is soon to make her 100th appearance for the club.

New signings announced are Daisy Self and Kiara Robins.

The drive to get the women’s side to play at Plainmoor is carrying pace on social media and it’s interesting to note that a number of Premier League sides are allowing their women’s teams to play at their home ground including Arsenal, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Newcastle United.

The victorious Lionesses’ football squad, determined to set up a legacy for girls’ football, have written a letter to the next Prime Minister to ensure that girls have the same access to football as boys and at least two hours of PE a week. As United’s Women’s manager, Steve Elswood, has said from now on it’s not boys’ football and girls’ football, it’s football. He has a point.

The letter says, “Only 63 per cent of girls can play football in PE lessons. The reality is we are inspiring young girls to play football, only for many to end up going to school and not being able to play. We want to create real change in this country.”

The next move is to explore a potential bid for the Women’s World Cup in 2027.


Sad news was announced over the tannoy at half-time on Saturday with the death of 15 year-old Ben Oliver an ardent Gulls’ fan. Almost immediately a GoFundMe page was set up and at the time of writing over £3,000 has been donated. TUST sends its condolences to all Ben’s family and friends who would like to have a plaque in Ben’s memory on the Popside.


Last week we asked where do you think United will finish and many feel in the top seven; a play-off place would be good!

Let’s end on a happy story. From Torquay United ball-boy to scoring a goal, for Bournemouth, on his Premier League debut. He also, whilst on loan from Forest Green Rovers, scored his first ever hat-trick in a National League fixture against Solihull Moors at Plainmoor in November 2016. Who is it? Kieffer Moore who, in an interview with a National newspaper on Saturday, said that playing in front of his friends and family at Torquay “kick-started the hunger” and not long after signed for Ipswich Town (although United thought he was about to sign for them).

Was Moore’s the best hat-trick you’ve seen at Plainmoor? Send your choice to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT

Saturday sees the Gulls at FC Halifax so safe travels to the Yellow Army.





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