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FANS' ZONE 07/01/2022




THE TREMENDOUS THOUSAND WITNESS A YEOVIL DOUBLE TO REMEMBER


Double tops! That’s the way to start a New Year - a win at West Country rivals Yeovil plus sweet home and away victories. Dan Holman - the Goalman - much derided on social media for his lack of goals, may just have kick-started United’s chances of gatecrashing the play-off party as the Gulls have reached the half-way point of their season.

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, affectionately known as The Lemon, squeezed out two outstanding pieces of skill in the last 15 minutes of Sunday’s game, first with a wicked goal direct from his corner kick and then an audacious chip to Holman who netted in Gary Time. It was worth the amazing 1,034 Yellow Army getting another wet afternoon. What fantastic support.

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National League Crowd Watch: More than 30,000 attended Northern Premier League games last Bank Holiday Tuesday, including 2,279 at FC United, 2,155 at Matlock Town and 1,679 at Clitheroe. In National South Dorking Wanderers’ record crowd of 2,048 witnessed the home side thrashing Havant & Waterlooville 8-0. Chesterfield’s top-of-the-table clash with FC Halifax attracted 8,106 while Altrincham’s gate was increased by over 1,000 Wrexham fans.

Last Sunday Yeovil’s gate included 1,034 Yellow Army, Notts County v Wrexham was watched by 8,890, Woking’s match with local rivals Aldershot, a 3-2 win for the visitors, had 5,171 while in National South the Hertfordshire derby between St. Albans and Hemel Hempstead drew 2,759.

On Bank Holiday Monday this week Taunton Town had 1,473 for a 3-1 win over rivals Tiverton Town.

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So, what are Torquay’s chances of grabbing a play-off slot? They have 30 points from 22 games, with another 22 fixtures left. They currently sit eight points from seventh, the last play-off position.

Last season, when 42 games was the maximum compared with 44 this time round, Bromley secured the final place with 69 points. Bromley only lost eleven games and United have already lost ten, so there’s little room for error.

Much may depend on what happens, or doesn’t happen, in January’s transfer window. Will Joe Lewis, Armani Little, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans still be squad members come the end of the month? Who will come in? Well, welcome to Stephen Wearne, an attacking mid-fielder on loan from Sunderland.

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Time then for a look into the crystal ball for some 2022 Predictions: United sneak into the play-offs with a thrilling victory at Southend on the final day of the season; Sinclair Armstrong returns to QPR but Gary Johnson dips into the transfer market as Clarke Osborne backs a late run for another try at a Football League return; ‘Sweet Caroline’ continues as part of the goal celebrations; Tracey Crouch’s slightly watered down Fan-Led Review passes through Parliament and the future and sustainability of football are assured; United’s owner Clarke Osborne continues his search for a site for a new stadium with help from SportTorbay.

And how are the pundits’ 2021 predictions getting on? Steve Harris: Chesterfield, Wrexham, Stockport.

Adam Virgo: Chesterfield, Stockport, Dagenham & Redbridge

Fans’ Zone: Stockport, Chesterfield, Wrexham

Current positions: Chesterfield, FC Halifax, Wrexham, Boreham Wood, Dagenham & Redbridge.

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There’s growing concern amongst many managers on two issues. Firstly, on the urgent need for clarity about match cancellations. At the moment games are called off not just for Covid reasons but for injuries too. There are calls for injuries to no longer influence Covid-19 postponements as fears grow for the integrity of the competitions.

Some Premier League sides have squads of nearly fifty and although the rules state matches must go ahead if there are 14 players available and are only called off in “exceptional circumstances”, this has clearly not been the case. What is required is transparency for each postponement in future.

The National League allowed two matches on Sunday and one on Monday to be called off for Covid reasons. Last week the EFL moved to limit some of the uncertainty by agreeing that players would not be tested on a matchday unless they had Covid-19 symptoms.

Allied to all these concerns is the second issue about how many substitutes can be used. Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers is the latest Premier manager to call for the return of five subs on the grounds of player welfare.

In total contrast China’s football authorities have banned their footballers from getting tattoos, instructing national players to remove existing body art to set a “ good example to society”.

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Christmas Quiz Answers: Part One January to June:

Joe Lewis joined from Swansea City, Max Sheaf joins on loan from Hull City, United beat Southport in the FA Trophy, Fraser Kerr left to join Chesterfield, Robin Stubbs celebrated his 80th birthday, United’s only goal win at Wrexham was scored by Sam Sherring, Yellow Army were allowed back into Plainmoor to watch Barnet, United’s U-16s became JPL champions after beating Kidderminster Harriers, the Play-Off final crowd was 6.606, Adam Randell was voted Young Player of the Season.

There were no winners.

Answers Part Two July to December: Adam Randell was second in the Goal of the Season, Olaf Koszela scored United’s first pre-season goal, John Turner was United’s keeper, Gabby Rogers scored for Tiverton, Shaun MacDonald made a surprise return, Gary Johnson handed out boxes of pizza, Sinclair Armstrong joined from QPR, Frank O’Farrell celebrated his 93rd birthday, United’s U-18 lost their FA Cup tie to Newport County, Joe Felix joined from Billericay Town.

There were no winners.

What are your 2022 predictions? Send yours to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT

A club shop gift voucher for the best.

Dagenham & Redbridge are Saturday’s visitors to Plainmoor; let’s get behind the team for the second half of the season.

A Happy New Year to all readers.

COYY


 

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