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FAN ZONE 19/08/2022


Hats off not only to the 135 Yellow Army who made the long trip to Halifax on Saturday but also to hero Mark Halstead whose performance between the sticks was the difference between Torquay United winning or losing. Not surprisingly, Halstead was star keeper in both the Non-League Paper and in the Vanarama Team of the Week.

For the match stats make sobering reading: Ball possession Halifax 64%, Torquay 36%; Shots Halifax 26, Torquay 3; Passes Halifax 436, Torquay 165; Corners Halifax 10, Torquay 0. Add in five yellow cards and even the most ardent Gulls’ supporter, not having seen nor listened to the match, would have expected a big loss.

“I’ve never been involved in such a one-sided game and lost it,” lamented FC Halifax manager Chris Millington. Even looking at the highlights package you expect to see Halifax score at least once!

This time around there’s a bit more height and determined steel to the side. It would be good if the new physio, Regan Miles, can work his magic and reduce the numbers in the treatment room; now even the Women’s skipper Danni Wyatt has joined them after suffering a knee injury in a pre- season friendly.


Non-League Crowd Watch: Oldham’s first ever home game in the National League, despite being televised on BT Sport, drew 8,412 as they edged a nervy 3-2 win over fellow new comers Dorking Wanderers. It is, though, refreshing to see what a new owner, Frank Rothwell, has done in such a short time to galvanise the local community.

There were 6,060 at Chesterfield while in the Northern Premier West Division Macclesfield continued their inevitable journey back up the divisions with a 3-0 home win in front of 3,008 and in the Premier Division itself South Shields attracted 2,001.


It is worth noting that Wrexham’s newest striker, Elliot Lee, is on a reported £14,500 per week plus £500 for every goal scored! Had a salary cap been agreed for the league this may not have been allowed.

Early on in the summer there were stories about Gary Johnson putting in a bid for Poole Town’s prolific scorer Tony Lee but interest in him cooled and the story disappeared. Fast forward to last week and Tony Lee moved to National South side Farnborough Town on a month’s loan. He scored, with a penalty, in a 1-1 home draw with Dulwich Hamlet.


Torquay United’s Women’s team had mixed fortunes in their two recent pre-season friendlies: a comfortable 3-0 win at Budleigh Salterton with goals from 16-year-old Nashya Paz, Skipper Danni Wyatt and Mia Preston but came crashing back down against a strong Welsh Premier side in Barry Town losing 1-4.

The draw for the 1st Round of the Devon FA County Cup has been made … and would you believe it, United’s Women have been drawn at home to the side they beat in last season’s final, Exeter City on October 16.


There has been, not for the first time, heavy criticism of United’s ticketing policy, the latest concerning the £2 additional fee for purchases on the day of the match not to mention no cash or cards on the turnstiles.

Fans’ Zone has carried out a survey of other National League clubs and found Bromley, Southend and Yeovil add a similar £2 extra and Chesterfield have just announced a similar scheme, with £2 added if purchased over the phone or at the stadium on the day of the match. They are also trialling a cashless system inside the ground with only credit/debit cards accepted at the serving hatches for drinks and snacks.

They say the scheme is being piloted at three home games in August and, “If it proves to be a success, the plan is for it to continue.”

Other clubs have other new restrictions: Aldershot have no ticket sales on the turnstiles, you need to pre-book; Eastleigh, Notts County and Scunthorpe have cashless turnstiles and at Dagenham, Wealdstone and Yeovil online sales stop typically at mid-day on a Saturday fixture and at 4.45pm for an evening match.

Wrexham have the right marketing policy with a £1 discount for buying online.

For the modern football fan, like it or not, we are going to have to get used to a new way of going to watch your team.


Talking of changes, what about the BBC dropping the classified football results at 5pm on Radio 5 Live Sports Report? Yes, there are other ways of finding out the scores but this tradition started in 1948 on the Light Programme and, with its distinctive opening music, continued on Radio 2 before 5 Live Sport in 1994.

You can, however, hear the classified results at 5pm on BBC Radio Devon.


For several weeks this column has been urging the club to bring back the half-time crossbar challenge, the 50-50 draw on the pitch, Gilbert the Gull and ball-boys/girls. Well, for those who turned up for the opening league game the first three on the list happened and now the club has announced ‘ball retrievers’! A fancy title for ball-boys/girls - but thanks to the club’s officials for making these requests happen to enhance the matchday experience.


A while back both TUST and the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust contributed to the Jack Leslie fund for a statue to be made in his honour. Leslie played for Plymouth Argyle back in the 1920s and 30s scoring 137 goals. His talents earned him an England call-up so he would be the first black player to represent his country but when they discovered his colour his name disappeared and he never won a cap.

It has now been confirmed that the statue unveiling will be at Home Park on Friday October 7.


Memorable hat-tricks by a Torquay player? Kieffer Moore definitely, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans’ recent one against Notts County but the most popular is, on his debut from Barry Town, Eifion Williams against Hartlepool in March 1999.

Are you going to miss not hearing the football results on your way home or just accept that things change? Send your opinion to: or Twitter: @FanszoneT

Saturday sees United at home to always competitive Boreham Wood so let’s be there in good numbers.





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