A Long Life Torquay Fan, Joseph Pope, who resides in a football rival town, Yeovil, summed up on his blog how he felt travelling home after this week’s local derby, which saw Yeovil Town FC slay their local rivals.
Yeovil Town cruised to victory in the English Riviera, as they put three goals past a helpless Torquay United at Plainmoor on a night where The Gulls’ shortcomings were exposed to the nth degree.
I report back from a routine win for The Glovers, as The Gulls slipped to yet another defeat on home soil.
Starting Eleven: Rhys Lovett (GK), Shaun Donnellan, Ross Marshall, Ollie Tomlinson, Dean Moxey, Jack Stobbs, Brett McGavin, Callum Dolan, Lewis Collins, Bradley Ash, Theo Williams
Bench: Filip Chalupniczak (GK), Asa Hall, Ethon Archer, Ryan Hanson, Dillon De Silva
Starting Eleven: Joe Day (GK), Michael Smith, Morgan Williams, Jake Wannell, Alex Whittle, Matt Worthington, Sonny Blu Lo-Everton, Jordan Young, Sonny Cox, Rhys Murphy, Frank Nouble
Bench: Jake Hyde, Will Dawes, Jordan Stevens, Josh Owers, Zac Bell
Yeovil Town started the game brightly and almost went in front within the first couple of minutes, with the ball clipped in behind for Rhys Murphy, and the striker nudged a low shot agonisingly wide of the post.
The home side did respond with a chance of their own, with Theo Williams timing his run to perfection in behind Alex Whittle, and Michael Smith had to clear the ball over from underneath his crossbar.
It was, however, the away side that was pressing hardest for an opener and almost got it through Frank Nouble. The ball was worked to the right-hand side into the path of Nouble, who had time to touch the ball out of his path and shoot low towards the far corner; Ross Marshall was on hand to clear.
Nouble didn’t have to wait long for another chance, and it was one that he took with aplomb. Neat play in and around the Torquay box between Nouble and Murphy saw Murphy dink a delicate pass into Nouble’s path, and Nouble touched it down before lifting over on-rushing keeper Rhys Lovett. 1-0.
The Glovers nearly doubled their lead through Jordan Young, with Young showing some neat interplay on the edge of the box before he saw his low shot turned behind. Yet, their second did come soon after, with Lo-Everton drilling the ball into the path of Murphy, who laid it back to him about 20/25 yards from goal, and the former Derby man rammed the ball home with a low, arrowed finish. 2-0.
The hosts’ best chance of reducing the deficit came straight from kick-off, as The Glover’s backline did not read a long ball forward. It fell nicely to Brad Ash, who took the ball around Joe Day before blasting it over the goal and into someone’s garden behind the stand. It’s probably still rising as we speak.
The home side must have got a rocket from their manager at half-time, as they came out with added verve to their attacking play. A lovely cross from Jack Stobbs picked out Ross Marshall in the box, but he could not keep his header down.
United had a glorious chance later in the second half, with United clearing the ball upfield from a Glovers corner for a 4-on-2. Collins raced away only to hit one of the worst passes I have seen this season to beat about the only Green shirt ahead of him, and the chance went begging: a missed chance for the hosts!
Yeovil Town had a break of their own, but they could not make the most of it. A lovely ball through the middle found Jordan Young, and he was uncharacteristically slack in his finish as he hit straight at goalkeeper Rhys Lovett.
United’s hope of getting something from the game was dashed as the away side got a third. A misplaced pass from Dean Moxey set Matt Worthington away down the right. He cut the ball back into the path of Young, who saw his curling effort tipped wide for a corner. From the resulting corner, striker Jake Hyde got up well and headed home to make it 3-1. Game over.
Rhys Lovett – 6
There is not a lot you can blame Rhys Lovett for on a night where he was served with such trash in front of him. He made a few good saves to keep the score down and couldn’t do much more than pick the ball out of his net. He can hold his head high when so few can.
Shaun Donnellan – 5
Charge of the light brigade – he was about the only one willing to get the ball and drive forward to try and do something! He was formerly of Alan Devonshire’s Maidenhead United; he does the basics well in adversity and doesn’t try to overcomplicate matters.
Ross Marshall – 4
The Gulls didn’t defend all that badly as a backline; they weren’t helped with the trash they had in front of them. Marshall didn’t have to use their usual trademark antics or ricker in there, and he imposed his game with some measure more than he usually does.
Ollie Tomlinson – 8
The defender may have conceded three goals, but he can hold his head high after a diligent display. He had to mark Rhys Murphy on the night and did that reasonably well to keep him quiet. You can see that there is a player there in Ollie, and I certainly won’t be putting any blame on him; well done, Ollie!
Dean Moxey – 3
You know things are broken when you have a defender with the experience that Moxey has to make such poor decisions on the ball as he did during the game. Granted, he is nowhere near fit enough, but his decision-making and slack passes don’t help matters.
Brett McGavin – 8
The midfielder has improved massively of late, and I felt that this was one of his best displays; I am happy to eat humble pie on ‘Shooter’. He was playing in midfield alone and was about the only one trying to get on the ball and create things.
Callum Dolan – 5
I was looking forward to seeing Dolan for the first time after signing from Fleetwood Town, and so I was disappointed that he went off injured; just our luck! From what I saw, he looked accomplished; hopefully, he isn’t seriously injured.
Jack Stobbs – 4
Other than a couple of trademark sumptuous deliveries into the box, Stobbs was below par for the high standards he set this term. He was kept quiet by a diligent defender in Whittle, and such was his joy that he played as a centre-half in the later stages.
Lewis Collins – 1
Yeovil Town enquired as to the availability of Lewis Collins in the summer; they won’t be touching him with a barge pole now. His confidence has gone, and everything he tried last night didn’t come off.
Bradley Ash – 2
If you invited Weymouth fans to come and look at their former player, they would not recognise him. The forward is playing as every but – he was on the wing, at left-back and in holding midfielder, and looked utterly lost. He is another whose confidence is shot to pieces.
Theo Williams – 5
I can’t heap any blame on Williams. He is a striker who wants the ball played in behind for him to make use of his pace, and he was tasked with leading the line against two strapping centre-halves. If I were Williams, I’d ask for his loan to be cancelled.
Ryan Hanson – 1
He was lost for words. He made more passes to a Green shirt than to ones in Yellow, and it is no surprise that The Glovers targeted their play down their left when Hanson was moved into the backline.
Asa Hall – 7
Like a comfort blanket on a cold day, it is no surprise that when he came on, he was the one who created the goal with the intelligence to pull the ball back into McGavin’s path. He may be constantly injured, but Gary Johnson needs to go to the local shop and invest in a year’s supply of cotton wool, bubble wrap and ice baths, as we must keep him available.
Dillon De Silva – 4
He didn’t come on for long, but when he did get the ball, it was the usual blind alley running and cutting inside to lose the ball. He has so much pace – use it, Dillon!
Joe Day – 5
The goalkeeper only got a five because he didn’t have much to do. And he couldn’t do anything to keep Brett McGavin’s goal out, with the ball going through a crowd of bodies and nestling in the bottom corner—a quiet night for the goalkeeper.
Michael Smith – 7
The defender has so much class that he could play with his slippers on and a pipe in his mouth. It didn’t matter who was on the left trying to get at him – Collins, Ash, Moxey or Da Silva – Smith managed it with aplomb.
Morgan Williams – 7
It may have taken a while, but we have finally found his best position; he looks like he has been playing centre-back for donkey years! He is an absolute Rolls Royce of a player, and it is no wonder their defensive record has improved since he was moved into the backline’s centre.
Jake Wannell – 8
Granted, he didn’t have much to try and defend against, but I continued to be so impressed by Wannell. He does all of the basics well, relishes duels, and even has a bit of a nasty side, which I love. He is a top defender, and this was another excellent display.
Alex Whittle – 6
A quieter night for Whittle, on a night where he didn’t have much to do. As I have said, Whittle does his job quietly and without fuss and did it again yesterday.
Matt Worthington – 7
Another good display from The Glovers skipper, who continues to get better and better in the middle of the park. He does both sides of the game well, and my only criticism is that I still am unsure which side of the game is his best; he is pretty good at both!
Sonny Blu Lo-Everton – 9
Man of the Match – see below.
Jordan Young – 9
I was close to giving Jordan Young Man of the Match for this game but ultimately opted against it. Regardless, he is a player that I love watching. He struts around the pitch doing his stuff with so much class and is effortless in how he moves the ball; he is by far and away the best-attacking player in this division.
Sonny Cox – 6
I was expecting big things from the Exeter City lad, albeit I was a little underwhelmed by his display; I expected more. He was pretty quiet on the night rather than a couple of openings. However, he is a good player; I do not doubt this was just an off day.
Frank Nouble – 9
The forward absolutely loved his return to Plainmoor. He may have been the subject of jibes from the home supporters, but he looks even more dangerous and effective than at Torquay United. He was strong as an ox, lightning quick and a darn sight fitter than when he was with The Gulls. For all of The Glovers’ fancy football, Nouble’s ability to hold the ball up and lead the line is vital to their success. He is a real handful and was involved with both goals and some other strong chances. It was an easy night’s work where he effortlessly exerted dominance.
Rhys Murphy – 7
Another ex-Gulls man is making their return to Plainmoor, but I felt Murphy was a tad quiet on the night. That didn’t mean that he didn’t contribute, as I thought he looked good with his back to goal, but perhaps not as dangerous as he has been in other games.
Jake Hyde – 7
It must be a dream for a manager to have a player of Hyde’s quality on the bench to bring on. He is becoming increasingly crucial for The Glovers, and he got another big goal for Town when under the cosh.
Jordan Stevens – 6
It is scandalous – and simultaneously speaks volumes of Town’s quality – that Stevens is sat on the bench for most games. He is a ridiculous talent, and he showed glimpses of that when he was on.
Will Dawes – 6
I enjoy watching Will. He is such a good footballer, and he continues to get better and better under Cooper. The only good thing Scott Priestnall did – other than sell the club – was to ask his mate Jed McCrory for this guy, as he is a super player.
Man of the Match
Blu Lo-Everton hasn’t played much football so far this term for The Glovers, but he might be playing a great deal more on this evidence.
His inclusion was done to exploit The Gulls’ lack of mobility in the middle, and boy, did he use it. He was a real livewire in the game, zipping around the pitch and setting the temp for their passing and pressing.
The United midfield didn’t know when to press him and when to sit off; with Lo-Everton’s movement, work rate and speed on and off the ball, he was a real handful for United and one they couldn’t stop. A brilliant display from the midfielder, and he may have just played his way into this Town side.
Anyone who thought this would be a match-up between the two title contenders for the league looks silly.
This result was the most flattering 3-1 I have ever seen Torquay United be involved with; if The Glovers had put their foot to the pedal correctly, this could have been 7 or 8, which is not an exaggeration.
The Glovers were brilliant from start to finish, but they didn’t have to be. If it wasn’t for some good defending by Ollie Tomlinson, some key saves from Rhys Lovett and a world from Brett McGavin, the score line would – and should – have been far more convincing and told the accurate tale of the game.
As for Torquay United, they look disjointed and devoid of ideas, and what the hell is going on with injuries? Moxey looks shot every time he has to do more than a 10-yard sprint; Marshall had his leg strapped up like it was about to fall off, and just to add insult to injury, new signing Callum Dolan is now injured.
In terms of game plan, there wasn’t one; well, unless you count shoving the ball up the middle in the air for ninety minutes. The Torquay goal came from the only bit of play where United got the ball on the floor – hurrah, who’d have guessed; it isn’t rocket science, Gary!
As for Yeovil Town, they are champions in lieu. I don’t think they will have it all their way, but I would be shocked if a team can keep pace with them for the duration.
Their bench is more robust than most if not all, other starting elevens in the divisions, and they are playing some of the best football I can remember at this level: Cooper ball in full flow!
It may only be November, but it was the nightmare before Xmas for Gary Johnson. His ex-goalkeeping coach. His ex-coach. His ex-striker. They all came back to Plainmoor and gave him a footballing lesson. Well, he’s done, Yeovil.