FANS' ZONE 14/05/2021
KEEP CALM AND GARY ON - TRUST IN THE MANAGER OF THE MONTH WITH THREE CUP FINALS TO PLAY Fine margins 1: inside two minutes, Bromley keeper Mark Cousins strays off his line and quick as a flash Scott Boden lobs him, not dissimilar to his deft shot at Woking a few weeks earlier, only for the ball to hit the inside of the far upright and then be cleared to safety.
Fine margins 2: minutes into added time - ‘Gary time’ - Benji Kimpioka can make himself a hero as he’s engineered himself into a one-on-one with the keeper but Mark Cousins spreads himself to make a courageous save. And who was the National League keeper of the day? Cousins.
The chances go, the game ends goal-less and Bromley do a job. Nobody said promotion was going to be easy and the Yellow Army are still right behind the manager and players as it’s now down to three cup finals with the promised land tantalisingly close.
Let’s just look at some recent stats: In United’s last three games shots on target 18, off target 14, goals scored 5. 39 league games played, 16 clean sheets. Torquay have scored 22 goals from set plays conceding 12.
This is a time for everyone, manager, players, supporters to ‘hold your nerve’ as there are crucial points to play for - starting again on Sunday at Stockport. It’s certainly been a memorable April and no wonder the manager has been awarded what he prefers to call the ‘Club of the Month’ trophy - no doubt to deflect from the often cursed ‘Manager of the Month’ award!
The Gulls came out of the weekend top of the table by two points but with close rivals Sutton beating Woking 3-2 on Tuesday night, the positions were reversed and as Sutton now hold a one point advantage it’s theirs to lose. But there’s plenty of football to play and anything can still happen. Most Gulls’ fans will be hoping Maidenhead can do us a favour on Saturday.
There’s much talk about the ‘integrity of the league’ with Covid issues being used as a convenient cover. For example, because the National League suspended relegation to North and South this has had a knock-on effect.
Firstly, it appears to have changed the course of the season for teams like Wealdstone and Woking. If you look at their results from the middle of March it makes for sorry reading: Wealdstone P 14, W 1, D 1, L 12, Goals For 10, Goals Against 41 Woking P 16, W 1, L 15, Goals For 15, Goals Against 37
For teams still to play them, it seems a guaranteed three points and a boost for their goal difference. Surely, this can’t be right and severely affects the league’s ‘integrity’.
And now secondly, the two relegated League 2 sides, Grimsby and Southend feel their relegation isn’t fair as a result and have, accordingly, lodged a proposal with the EFL.
United boss Gary Johnson had this to say,” Everybody looks after their own interests as much as they can but it comes down to what the rules say. You can’t suddenly change.”
“ The National League has got two teams that go up, League 2 has got two teams that come down. And that’s it. There’s not been a World War. Everybody has had to cope with Covid whether you’ve got promoted or relegated.”
“ The National League is the lowest league where 99 per cent of teams are full-time. I’ve always said we should be part of the EFL but of course there should be promotion and relegation.”
So for Torquay it’s on to Stockport County for the next big test on Sunday, once again in front of the BT Sport cameras for a lunch time fixture.
Since 1948 United’s record against Stockport is Won 27, Drawn 18, Lost 21
The last time United lost at Stockport was in League 2 1-0 in October 2006. There’s been a 4-0 FA Cup success at Edgeley Park for the Gulls in December 2009, a 1-1 League 2 draw in November 2010 and most recently a 4-0 triumph in a National League fixture in September 2019 thanks to two own goals and a brace from Jamie Reid.
Of course, if you’re the manager none of this counts for anything as it’s the here and now, the quality of the players and desire.
As Johnson said in last week’s ‘Inside Plainmoor” he’s recruited a group of players with personality, character and desire and, although it’s extra expense, he takes injured players to away matches to keep them involved. All credit to the club for funding this.
With the end in sight the manager is using all his years of experience to ensure he has all the motivational tricks to ensure the players keep their nerve - and the Yellow Army’s too!
Every Gulls’ fan has their favourite player and no doubt the club will be announcing soon the voting for POTS. In the meantime the responses coming in here to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to
Twitter: @FanszoneT indicate it’s going to be close between Asa Hall and Adam Randell with Sam Sherring and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans in the frame. So, who’s your choice, let me know.
Top scorers, in all competitions, are: Asa Hall 13, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans 10, Danny Wright 9, Billy Waters 8, Ben Whitfield 6.
To all the Yellow Army, stay calm, and when offered, get your vaccination and just one more match before fans are allowed back inside Plainmoor.
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COMING SOON - OUR NEXT MEMBERS' ZOOM EVENING
Tuesday 1st June at 6.30pm Your opportunity to discuss the review and other matters affecting our club and the wider footballing world. Details to follow - save the date!