FANS' ZONE 03/03/2022
UNITED’S PLAY-OFF PUSH IS FLAGGING AS LINESMAN RULES OUT THE WINNER = BUT OH FOR A STRIKER
As a former, popular game show host asked, ‘What do points mean? Prizes’. Torquay United’s quest for a play-off place took another knock with a third consecutive draw inside a week.
Following a frustrating 2-2 draw at home to Barnet, United followed this Plainmoor disappointment with a 0-0 with FA Cup giant killers Boreham Wood and good luck to them at Everton tonight.
Then, watched by an impressive 2,700 on the free YouTube channel on Saturday evening Gary Johnson’s side contrived to drop another two points at Wealdstone. Despite bossing the first half the Gulls went down a goal and ended up chasing the game although were denied a late 87th minute ‘Gary Time’ winner in controversial circumstances. Keeper Shaun MacDonald made the Vanarama Team of the Week.
What these three games have underlined, should any confirmation be needed, is the side’s woeful lack of a striker as Johnson has alluded to on more than one occasion recently. Danny Wright is clearly not the player he once was while Klaidi Lolos is sadly out of his depth.
Against Barnet and Wealdstone Torquay dominated both first halves but came out after half-time on the back foot, rarely getting out of their own half. Whilst against Boreham Wood, the side with the meanest defence, once the line-up had Asa Hall in the back four, his presence there showed it was a ‘backs to the wall’ approach sacrificing any real attacking intent - no wonder it ended goalless.
So, is it the end of gate crashing a top seven place? The manager keeps talking about some new blood but games - and points - are running out.
However, if you look at the table for games played in 2022, there is still hope and would be enhanced were a striker to be signed. 2022 table (before Tuesday night’s fixtures):
1. Stockport P10 W9 D1 L0 Pts 28
2. Southend P10 W7 D3 L0 Pts 24
3. Boreham Wood P9 W5 D3 L1 Pts 18
4. Chesterfield P11 W5 D3 L3 Pts 18
5. Notts County P9 W5 D2 L2 Pts 17
6. Grimsby P10 W5 D2 L3 Pts 17
7. Solihull Moors P8 W5 D2 L1 Pts 17
8. Torquay United P9 W4 D4 L1 Pts 16
9. Wrexham P8 W5 D1 L2 Pts 16
10. Maidenhead P9 W4 D4 L1 Pts 16
It came as a bolt out of the blue especially to the Yellow Army who had already purchased train tickets, match tickets and in some cases hotel stays when, on Thursday, it was announced that Saturday’s match at Wealdstone, due to safety concerns, would be played behind closed doors.
TUST held a phone conversation on Friday with Mark Ives, the National League General Manager who gave credit to the two clubs, the match officials and BT for arranging for the game to be live streamed.
National League Crowd Watch: Title hopefuls had home wins with large attendances - Wrexham 8,745, Stockport 7,418, Chesterfield 5,371. Don’t discount Southend bursting into the play-off group after a home draw with Solihull in front of 6,607.
Elsewhere, York City had 3,621, 3,141 at Woking who sacked manager Alan Dowson on Monday, Dorking Wanderers 2,898 and 2,395 at the Isle of Man.
Torbay Council leader Steve Darling and his deputy Darren Cowell have been sharing their vision for their ongoing regeneration programme for The Bay.
Work is being prepared for along The Strand, restoration works for the Pavilion as well as using the Future High Street Fund, the Government’s £830m contribution to regenerate High Streets in the UK.
The two council leaders are supporting the Building a Greater Torbay Campaign, “So that we can work with the entirety of the Bay - residents, businesses and statutory agencies - to ensure that collectively we build a greater Torbay.”
So, United fans will be asking does this include a new stadium - and if so, where?
A couple of weeks ago this column suggested a ‘fan coaching’ programme as used in Belgium, after further incidents of fan misbehaviour. Following the alleged racial abuse of the referee at the recent Wrexham game at Plainmoor, TUST asks the club to become involved with the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign as it has done with ‘HerGameToo’ and AndysManClub. A promotion of this at a forthcoming home fixture, with some perimeter advertising boards, would help drive home the message.
Wigan are advertising for a ‘supporter engagement officer’ whose job, amongst many, would include ‘deliver fun and promotional activities, plan and manage a Junior Supporter Engagement event per season, support the club’s Equality and Diversity Action Plan and recruit a team of volunteer Supporter Liaison Officers, who would act as first point of contact for first time visitors to the ground’.
Kick It Out aims to tackle all forms of discrimination and unfair practices and conduct at all levels of football.
There is an urgent review going on between the Premier League and the English Football League into how football can combat the growing number of anti-social behaviours at matches at all levels, so wouldn’t it be timely for community based Torquay United to take on board the Kick It Out campaign?
United’s Women’s team stay top of the table following Sunday’s 3-1 victory at Royal Wootton Bassett thanks to goals from Ellie Bishop her 17th of the season, recently signed Tracey Cross from Plymouth Argyle and Beth Everson. This Sunday sees them travel to title rivals Sherborne.
TUST sends best wishes to everyone at Bury AFC, the Fans’ group Est.1885, who have purchased their stadium Gigg Lane and the trading name Bury FC.
Joe Lewis remains the most popular stand out player from your votes. This week is it chase the play-offs or prepare for next season now? Send your opinion to: email@example.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT
Next up at Plainmoor are Bromley who have lost two and drawn one of their last three.
And how about Torquay flying the Ukrainian flag, blue and yellow, on the corner posts?