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Fan Zone 27/01/2023



TRAVEL FRUSTRATION FOR THE YELLOW ARMY

LATE POSTPONEMENTS - WHAT’S TO BE DONE?

BIG SIX PONTER AT PLAINMOOR ON SATURDAY


Saturday’s inevitable postponements across the country, following a night of minus temperatures, decimated the majority of non-league fixtures, leaving only a handful being played.

Matches being called off due to frozen grounds is nothing new but what upset many, including numerous Yellow Army stalwarts, was the timing of these decisions.

Particularly irritating was Torquay’s match at Boreham Wood which, despite the home side publishing on Friday a message that the pitch was fine, the game was still on and there was no planned pitch inspection, found late that this wasn’t the case.

That the referee called off the game 75 minutes before kick-off caused a lot of upset not to mention wasted travel and cost.

Given the circumstances maybe Boreham Wood should offer free entry to Gulls’ fans for the re-arranged date.

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Torquay were not the only side to suffer a late decision - spare a thought for Altrincham whose match at Yeovil was postponed at 1.30pm while Havant & Waterlooville in National South were assured the game was on before leaving on Saturday morning to Dover only to find it was off upon their arrival.

And Ascot United were on the M5 before turning around as their FA Vase game at Buckland Athletic was called off mid-morning.

A couple of other clubs had a lucky benefit from these postponements as a number of the Yellow Army went to watch Watford v Rotherham while Havant fans helped swell the gate at Folkestone to 902.

All of us who travel to games have, over time, unfortunately suffered from late decisions. I recall driving from Berkshire, a 360 mile round trip, to Plainmoor for a home fixture with Mansfield Town and was in my seat in the Family Stand when a sea mist descended and it became impossible to see the away end, inevitably the match was off.

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With United due to play Woking on Tuesday, with the signs of more minus temperatures, full credit to both clubs for moving the game to Wednesday with the likelihood of warmer weather.

As we now know that game too was called off but before the team coach set off.

So yet another fixture to be rearranged.

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As predicted United fans have seen a flurry of activity in the transfer market as Gary Johnson shakes up his squad, bringing in a number of exciting prospects including another striker, Tope Fadahunsi on loan from Sutton United and experienced defender Jacob Mensah, recently released by Maidstone United.

That’s five additions in the last month so credit to the owner for sanctioning them.

With several games to be re-arranged, there are going to be matches Saturday - Tuesday - Saturday between now and the end of the season so a bigger squad will be important.

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Only two National League matches were played on Saturday, both on 4G pitches, fellow strugglers Maidstone lost again as Wrexham snatched a late winner in front of 3,341 while Bromley were held at home by Aldershot with 2,764.

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Two United sides did play over the weekend, the Under-18s kept on course to retain its South West Counties Youth League title with a comprehensive 3-0 home win over Mangostfield United. Isaac McCure, George Collins and Ben Aldous on the scoresheet.

Then on Sunday Torquay’s Women’s side kept the pressure on at the top of the table as well as maintaining their 100% home record following a 2-1 win over Bishops Lydeard Ladies, goals from Daisy Self and Connie Pengelly.

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One of Gary Johnson’s pet hates over recent seasons has been the amount of time wasting which takes place at all levels of the game - the ‘dark arts’ some call it. All teams are guilty, usually trying to protect a lead, but some are worse than others.

In the World Cup it seemed as if officials had decided to act and many matches past the 100 minute mark as a result.

Last week football’s rule makers met at Wembley to discuss this very topic with three possible solutions: enforce existing rules including goalkeepers not holding the ball for more than six seconds, second, follow the example set in the World Cup and thirdly, using a stop-clock as in Rugby Union.

The IFAB meeting in the end decided to issue guidelines for next season along the lines of how World Cup matches were refereed.

With ball-in-play time down to less than 56 per cent this seems another opportunity for proper change lost.

The same committee also rejected trials on a temporary concussion substitutes in the Premier League.

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Often one of the signs of a struggling side can be seen in their disciplinary record - the number of yellow and red cards accumulated. In a recent Fair Play Table, surprisingly ‘topping’ it are Bromley, followed closely by Torquay United. And suspensions towards the end of a season are never good news. After the Gulls the next bad boys are Eastleigh, Dorking Wanderers and Boreham Wood.

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Alongside family and friends there are a number of fans who attend Torquay’s women’s matches with a number who turn up on an ad hoc basis.

This week what are your views on matches being postponed? The day before? At least by 9am on the day? Send your opinion to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT.

Tomorrow, there’s a really big six pointer at Plainmoo with Maidstone the visitors, following their eighth successive defeat on Tuesday, 0-3 to Aldershot.

COYY








 


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