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Fan Zone 21/12/2023


UNITED  WIN  AGAIN  TO  CLOSE  GAP  ON  LEADERS  YEOVIL


WHY  DO  NATIONAL  SOUTH  REFEREES   APPEAR  CARD  HAPPY?


TUST  HANDS  OUT  TORQUAY  SHIRTS  TO  LOCAL  CHILDREN  FOR  CHRISTMAS



Those of us inside Plainmoor on Saturday must have thought Christmas had come early as Torquay somehow gifted visitors Hemel Hempstead a 2-0 lead after only 12 minutes. The first, was it or wasn’t it a penalty? Well, the referee awarded it and it was duly scored. The second, another defensive error, gave Hemel a free header to increase their lead sending their 35 supporters wild.


No matter what level of football you play at or watch it takes guts to fight your way back into a game. That United were level by half-time showed the strength of character, this with a team lacking at least seven players who would normally be considered as first choice.


But as all managers say once you have the shirt you have to make sure you keep it. Ryan Hanson, for example, has had to be really patient over the last season and a half to get a starting place and netting Torquay’s comeback will have been a big confidence boost. It was his first goal for the club as was Ethon Archer’s with Dean Moxey’s winner being one of his rare ones. From Three Bridges, currently second in the Isthmian South East division to National South as a full-time professional congratulations to Archer for being in the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day.


*****


Mystery seemed to surround what had happened to Shaun Donnellan who is fit and has been seen on matchdays. To fill the void there were unsubstantiated reports on social media that he’s off in January to Livingstone in the Scottish Premier which proved to be correct as the club announced his move.


*****


In the last month there has been a welcome wind of change blowing through Plainmoor on and off the pitch. Communications between the club and fans has increased with an online fans’ forum and the forthcoming independent steering committee with members representative of various elements of the Yellow Army while Saturday’s win, taking the Gulls up to second, was their fifth in succession.


The club this week posted the online fans’ forum, surprising everyone with its format as owner Clarke Osborne flanked by directors Mel Hayman and George Edwards plus manager Gary Johnson answered fans’ questions on camera.


*****


With Yeovil dropping two home points to high flying Hampton and Richmond, Moxey’s 89th minute winner was really important. Not long ago our Somerset neighbours were fourteen points ahead, now the gap has been halved.


On Tuesday Torquay had hoped to make the short trip up the M5 to another Somerset side, Taunton Town with the away allocation sold out. By all accounts Taunton are going through a sticky patch with the club allegedly finding it difficult to pay the players’ wages and results have dropped off. On paper it appeared a good time to play this re-arranged match but unfortunately it was once again postponed. New date is February 13 2024.


*****


A couple of weeks ago this column wrote about referees brandishing an ‘over-the-top’ number of cards in matches which never could be termed ‘dirty’ but on Saturday Craig Scriven was the King of the Cards as, in total, he issued eleven. Eleven! In a game which warranted maybe half that number and Brett McGavin can feel upset that he picked up a second yellow so missing Saturday’s game.


Talking of referees, regulars at Plainmoor will not have fond memories of another one who enjoyed the centre of attention, Sam Allison. Mr Allison, many will be surprised to learn, is about to take charge of his first Premier League fixture on Boxing Day. The Premier League will also see its first female referee when Rebecca Welch will take charge of the Fulham v Burnley match.


*****


Non-League Crowd Watch: Southend v Bromley 6,718, Hartlepool v Chesterfield 4,611, Yeovil v Hampton 3,388, Scunthorpe v Chorley 3,281, Macclesfield v Bradford 3,103.


*****


On Monday along with TUST vice-chairman Robin Causley and Sarah Pengelly from Torbay’s Children’s Services I was at the Windmill Centre in Hele to distribute twenty Torquay United home and away shirts as Christmas presents to 10-14 year olds. They are all part of Turning Heads, a community interest company who run a variety of day activities for disadvantaged adults and children across Torbay.


Handing out club shirts at this time is the Kitmas project which has been running since 2020 and Christmas is when clubs and supporters’ trusts raise funds to buy the shirts. TUST has been pleased to purchase the shirts and to support Turning Heads.


To date TUST has 498 members, can you help us reach 500 by Christmas?


Saturday sees a long trip to Chelmsford and more points on offer to close the gap with Yeovil.


In the meantime TUST wishes everyone a Very Happy Christmas.



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