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FANS' ZONE 14/04/2022




THREE AND EASY FOR CONNOR THANKS TO A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS IN THE PLAINMOOR SUNSHINE


Wish you’d been there? If ever a match at Plainmoor deserved a bigger crowd Saturday was it. 3,130 including 577 away fans witnessed six spectacular goals in the Torbay sunshine. Although the goal highlights are there to be seen it’s not quite the same as being able to say ‘I was there’.

Only another fifty watched the Wrexham match on February 6 when Torquay United’s 1-0 win took them to eleventh place where they were to stay for two months before moving to tenth after Saturday but still below the highest of the season so far - the Boxing Day clash with Yeovil where 3,830 attended.

Whilst United edge closer to the play-offs surely Gary Johnson’s team deserve bigger numbers through the gates - what could be better than an afternoon outdoors in the Spring sunshine? And on Easter Monday you have a chance to come out in numbers to join those local clubs and teams who can take advantage of free tickets on the club’s newest Community Day. For further details contact joanneh@torquayunited.com. or phone 01803 328666.

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Back to the visit of Notts County who, after a 3-0 victory at Southend last time out must have thought their journey to Devon was going to be a formality and as manager Ian Burchnall said after the game, “It feels like we came here thinking we’re comfortable in the play-offs and then we got a shock.”

The shock was high voltage with man of the match performances from skipper Armani Little (until he handed over the armband when Asa Hall came on) and hat-trick hero Connor Lemonheigh-Evans - both of whom were not surprisingly named in the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day with Gary Johnson the Top Boss - and in the Vanarama Team of the Week.

Connor’s trio of goals were the first since October 2020 when Danny Wright hit three at Hartlepool. Next target has to be four and the last time a United player achieved this feat was March 1987 when Paul Dobson netted four against Halifax. Connor’s three took his Torquay career total to 30.

The afternoon began with a quality 12th goal of the season from Armani Little setting the standard for the rest to follow and boy they didn’t disappoint - Little’s second and the Gulls’ fifth was an audacious dink over the approaching keeper - what a cheeky finish!

In-between were three superb strikes for the Lemon who rightly took home the match ball.

If you want more of the same make your way to Plainmoor on Easter Monday.

That United won at a canter on Grand National Day was a happy co-incidence but no thanks to a bizarre refereeing display from James Durkin who found it necessary to book a total of seven players, five of whom were Torquay’s, no wonder the standard of the officials in the National League was a topic in this column two weeks ago.

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So, what chance do the Gulls have of reaching seventh place? Well, it still remains in their own hands and Johnson was clearly upset by some fans when he wrote in his programme notes: “I’m sorry to hear that people feel that my comments on staying positive for the play-offs are only to keep the fans coming in. Obviously, one or two people don’t believe - which is ok - but the majority that have supported us, and have supported their club, through thick and thin, I’m hoping have enjoyed our recent form and will be there when we need them.”

The only real disappointment of the afternoon was the puerile chanting from a section of the Popside with derogatory comments about Kyle Cameron who, but for bizarre refereeing, would have been a two goal hero steering the Gulls into the EFL.

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What does the run in look like for some of the top sides in the National League? Current leaders Stockport County have six of their remaining eight games against teams currently in the top eight;

Wrexham’s 3-2 win over Eastleigh was the second of four consecutive home games - they demolished Barnet 6-0 in mid-week - and still have a home game against Stockport; Solihull’s win at Dagenham & Redbridge was the first of four away games in succession, the next three being FC Halifax, Wrexham and Stockport.

Chesterfield’s final six, three are away one of which is at Plainmoor on BT Sport. And Saturday’s visitors Notts County have six of their last seven against teams in the lower half of the table including Dover - twice.

Seventh placed Grimsby have four home games left out of seven still to play one of which is the visit of Torquay United but they still have Stockport and Boreham Wood on their fixture list.

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National League Crowd Watch: 9,163 at Wrexham with 7,738 watching Stockport County and 3,334 at National South Dulwich Hamlet.

Bedford Town’s Rene Howe kept his side top of Southern League Division 1 Central with his 30th goal of the season.

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Which sides are vying to join the National League next season? From League 2 it’s likely to be Scunthorpe plus one from Barrow, Oldham or Stevenage. From National North the Championship race is currently between Brackley Town, Gateshead, AFC Fylde and from the South, Maidstone United, Dorking Wanderers or Dartford.

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Despite leading 2-1 at half-time, Torquay United Women slipped to a 3-2 defeat at leaders Ilminster Ladies finishing fourth, with St Austell Ladies and Sherborne Ladies battling it out for the runner-up spot, in their final match of the season. Unfortunately goals from Sasha Mole (penalty) and Beth Everson were not enough.

With a depleted side this was, though, a great effort giving Interim Manager Steve Elswood food for thought for his squad choice to face Exeter City Women in the Devon FA Cup Final on April 22 7.15pm kick off at Coach Road.

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There are certainly a good number of National League managers who would vote for five substitutes for next season, readers don’t seem too bothered.

Saturday’s gate was lower than the match deserved so if you live locally what stops you from attending? Send me your view to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT

United are at old ‘foes’ Woking on Good Friday where the Yellow Army is always there in large numbers so safe journey. Then it’s back to Plainmoor on Easter Monday.

COYY







 


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