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Fan Zone 24/02/2023



ALL THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF FOLLOWING THE GULLS - THE BEES ARE BUZZED OFF BUT UNITED SUFFER AT DORKING


FOOTBALL IS A FUNNY OLD GAME


Who remembers watching Saint & Greavsie on ITV at lunchtimes on Saturdays? For all football fans it was compulsive viewing featuring retired footballers Ian St John and Jimmy Greaves and it was Greaves who coined the immortal phrase ‘Football is a funny old game’.

Well, it was certainly a funny old game on Saturday as Torquay took on Barnet for the second Saturday in a row.

It was the Bees who progressed into the Quarter Finals of the FA Trophy last time - they face bottom club Maidstone United - so the big question in the minds of the United faithful who turned up at Plainmoor was, could Gary Johnson come up with a plan to tell the bees to buzz off?

The answer was an emphatic yes.

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In a recent column I eluded to the fact there were signs of green shoots of recovery and after Saturday’s workmanlike all-round display there are now buds appearing with the promise of a blooming recovery, although Tuesday night’s fixture at fast falling Dorking Wanderers was crucial in a six pointer of all six pointers but a sending off and a below standard performance allowed the home side to record their first win of 2023 dashing all expectations of United getting out of the bottom four.

Saturday’s all action performance was epitomised by the 100% work-rate of Tom Lapslie whose Duracell running deserved to be rewarded with the Man of the Match accolade but he was named in the Team of the Day in the Non-League Paper - and Gary Johnson was Top Boss. And keeper Mark Halstead made the Vanarama Team of the Week.

This win was Johnson’s 100th from 213 games in charge making it a win rate of 46.95%. United swarmed all over their high-flying visitors from start to finish and if this is the style for the rest of the season then escaping relegation is a real possibility although Tuesday’s defeat was a set-back.

A word about Saturday’s ref; we’ve had some card happy ones recently but Steven Copeland, who only issued three, had a decent game and was one of the better ones.

Fifteen games and all to play for, starting again on Saturday against troubled Southend.

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Non-League Crowd Watch: Big numbers again, this week thanks to the amazing away following of Wrexham and Notts County. 6,765 at troubled Southend, this after a demonstration marching through the town before the game. Oldham moved further away from danger with a 2-0 home win over Maidstone in front of 6,409 while Aldershot’s biggest crowd of the season, 4,568, was boosted by Wrexham fans. Meanwhile, resurgent Macclesfield, climbing the leagues, have now been watched this season at home by over 55,000 after 4,013 turned up on Saturday.

At the top Notts County and Wrexham are going toe-to-toe with some exciting victories, will one of them slip up? Don’t forget Wrexham come to Plainmoor on the final day of the season - could be a sell-out.

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Troubled York City, dropping into relegation danger, without a manager, are also up for sale as unpopular owner Glenn Henderson looks for someone to buy his shares. There is still a chance that the supporters’ trust will do this but their deadline is April 4 when Henderson will offer his stake to an open market.

The Trust said they were working hard with various parties. In the meantime the Trust is providing an injection of working capital to ensure the smooth ongoing operations of the football club.

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Regular readers of this column will recall mentions about the abuse grass-roots referees are suffering, well at last the FA have stepped in to give them some protection. In trials, in four selected areas of the country - Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Worcester and Essex - starting last weekend, officials became the first in the world to wear body cameras.

The aim of the trial is to explore whether the use of body cameras improves behaviour and respect towards referees. Around 100 referees will wear the cameras over the next three months with the footage being accepted as evidence in disciplinary hearings.

If successful the FA will roll out more cameras across more leagues next season. On the one hand it’s a tough job being a ref while on the other the standard of officiating appears to be dropping from the Premier League downwards.

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Torquay United’s Women kept up the pressure on division leaders Forest Green with a hard fought battling draw with Bristol Rovers Women on Sunday. United came from a goal down to lead 2-1, thanks to goals from Connie Pengelly and Tee Kaptein, but were undone in 14 minutes of added time as Rovers snatched a 2-2 draw. The Women stay third on goal difference, two points behind the leaders but with two games in hand.

It’s going to be a tense finish.

The Under-18s went on a goal spree at Wimborne Town winning 8-1 with leading scorer Ben Aldous with another hat-trick.

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Dorking Wanderers might have lost their last five games before Tuesday night but for a little club they have been punching above their weight. In a compact ground in Surrey commuter belt land they are a great example of how a club can rise from nowhere to the top of non-league football in a short space of time.

Their owner and manager Marc White is certainly a unique character who says it how it is, whether good or bad.

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Breaking News: EFL CEO Rick Parry has confirmed he’s involved in serious discussions about three-up, three-down between League 2 and the National League.

And the Government Fan-Led White Paper on football governance was published on Thursday along with a TUST statement.

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Can United reach 50 points was last week’s question. Before Saturday’s win there were plenty who doubted it but since then there’s a renewed belief that the current squad have it in them to avoid relegation despite Tuesday’s defeat.

There has been plenty of controversy about VAR in the Premier League. If it ever was to be possible would you want to see it used in the National League? What’s your view? Send it to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT.

Another home game on Saturday, this time the visitors are Southend United.

COYY








 


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