I suppose the first question is will we get to see any football on New Year's Day? Our groundsman seems hopeful and the forecast is good for Tuesday although another deluge is expected tomorrow....
IF the game does go ahead then despite struggling with injuries, it could be a good time to play them as Wimbledon are at the foot of the table with Bristol Rovers and haven't won since 12th November! Like us they have had a couple of games postponed over the festive period although played on Saturday, losing to Oxford 0-3 at home! Midson is the name that springs out in their line up and I think may be the main threat that needs to be nullified.
This is actually our first chance to complete the double over another team and three points are desperately needed to keep us up in the table, particularly as we aren't in action next week. I think the two questions are will Manse be able to return and who will play in behind Rene? Assuming that we don't get anyone in for this match then Yeoman may get his first start. However, if Thompson is fit for this one then that may free Nathan from the wing to play in the hole a la Eunan.
Anyway, fingers crossed that we can see some football at Plainmoor!
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
Its a good job this game was not due to be played today as It might well have not gone ahead. The Bay once again is under attack from the weather and its blowing a gale and very wet indeed.
My weather app on my phone is saying tomorrow its going to be mainly sunny, lets hope that is the case and this heavy rain does not keep up all day today. Getting rather fed up with all this rain and we could do with having a few dry days for a change.
I was told yesterday afternoon that todays game would be going ahead and the sun is out in the Bay with not a cloud insight. Makes a real change to see the sun and lets hope it shines on our players today as a win will be very welcome indeed.
I will be going to the game today and will do a report when I get home, if you are going then have a safe trip to and from the ground and I hope you will share your thoughts and views on the game here on the TFF.
I was thinking we would end up with both Sullivan and Baker on the bench, but it seems that Manse will play - which would mean either or. In fact if Thompson is fit, neither will make it.
I think Yeoman is very well suited to the "Jarvis role". He is a very disciplined and intelligent lad who will put in a "midfield shift" and give Rene some support - and he's a good finisher if he gets a chance. I would really love to see the lad go on to a good career - strikes me as the kind of lad who listens and learns.
Looks like Mansell and Easton as the two. Craig, Yeoman and Stevens as the three.
That would leave Rice, Leadbitter, McKenzie, Cruise, Lathrope, Halpin and Thompson or Sullivan on the bench.
Oh dear! A quote from the Manager taken from the O/S
“Manse trained this morning and he is fine, which is a big plus,” said Martin. “He will be fit for the game but Billy Bodin is no good, and everyone else is ok, apart from the longest suspension in the world for Brian Saah.
You know what, I can't really get cheesed off about this defeat. ML has no players and no money. We need bodies that are fit in to take the pressure off the ones carrying injuries and still playing. It's not my money but I hope the board tell him to go get what he needs.
Took the opportunity to view the game from Bristow's bench for the very first time and along with my brother in-law and we took our seats at the very top above the players tunnel. It all looked fresh and good for the time before kick off as we had a clear view of the (very bright) new screen in the far corner and were both suitably impressed at this new experience. Now Ronnie, my brother in law who now rarely attends, a life long follower and one time ardent supporter was full of praise for the new facilities the only downer being the appalling state of the well sanded pitch in front of us which resembled a Dartmoor bog that had had cows dancing all over it. Still, perhaps we would see an entertaining if not pretty game of football. Now where do I start.? Not sure if it was the change of view or what but the football, if you can call it that looked like local Sunday league standard for most of the first half. Plenty of effort I suppose, half asleep for both of their first half goals with one of our only threatening moves producing one for ourselves. Sounds entertaining but in truth it was football of the very loweststandard and quality and I soon found myself being constantly distracted by Sparkworld Candy washing machines being loaded into the back of an estate car on the big screen. As the light faded into early evening the screen seemed to shine even brighter at one point I thought the Candy was going to end up in our laps so mesmerizingly hypnotic was this amazing piece of modern tech. It was, at least a distraction from the awful football, from both sides I might add, that was on display.
In the end I couldn't have cared less what the result was, I was starting to feel the cold and couldn't move from my seat without disturbing the whole row of people around me and the screen with its overly bright and monotonous continually cycling adds . Somehow we scrapped an equalizer near the death, hardly deserved, and almost in the same breath threw it all away after some more awful defending from Oastler who totally out of position and backing off his man the ball ended up in the box. A lunge from a defender and all thrown away again. Not for the first time this season It all had a certain inevitability about it so I wasn't at all surprised. The squad has been allowed to get weaker and weaker as each week has passed and we had the kids playing and on the bench which from a supporters point of view is pretty unforgivable. Rene Howe and Arron Downes did at least look to be of decent league standard but I'm afraid so many the rest were found out today and when basic questions were asked by a pathetically poor Wimbledon team, certain individuals just didnt have an answer. A waste of my hard earned £20 and I honestly cannot see myself attending again until the club and management show at least a semblance of ambition or intent to improve the playing squad because as it stands there is only one direction this lot are heading
Oh and before I forget if you do sit in the Bench be sure to take some sunglasses and not you home tv 3D specs!
This was a desperately disappointing performance and result today and does not bode well for the rest of the season. Torquay are gradually sliding down the table and the squad was very thin on the ground today. That said the team should have performed much better against bottom of the table Wimbledon and Torquay got what they deserved in the end. I really have to question Ling's decisions today as well. There was never a proper threat going forward today and putting Craig again in the right wing did not help. Easton is a defensive midfielder and it seemed a crazy decision in the second half when Craig was substituted for Thompson. It made obvious sense to put Craig in central midfield and take Easton off to add more of an attacking threat. The Bristow Bench booed when Craig was taken off. Crowd 2,618, around 300 to 400 I guess from Wimbledon and it was the first time I've seen the away end open for a while.
There were a couple of firsts for me today. We brought 2 tickets through the turnstiles as usual but we had allocated seats we had to sit in. It turned out we were near the back of the Bristow Bench at the Family Stand end of the pitch. It's the first time I've sat that far back but the view was great and it was a little warmer. The Big Screen made its debut. I thought the quality of the colours and resolution was impressive. It was used for adverts - they were shown thoughout the game. At half-time the Big Screen did show sky sports football scores. Overall I was pretty impressed with it and if it makes money for the club that can only be a good thing. The pitch itself looked dreadful. Towards the Family Stand in front of the dug-out there was heavy sanding and the ball got held up in this area.
Now onto the match and Torquay made a horrible start in conceding after 5 minutes. Over came a cross from Wimbledon on their right when they were not closed down and worse still they scored with a simple header from close range. Fortunately Torquay responded by equalizing within 5 minutes with a bit of a scrambled goal with Mansell scoring from close range after a Stevens shot was saved. Torquay played reasonably well without carving out too many clear-cut chances. Yeoman looked quite lively and had a close of shots. Rene did his usual sterling job of holding the ball up and laying it off well. Torquay seemed in control of the game and at times played some decent moves. However on 33 minutes another bit of lax defending let in Wimbledon clear inside the penalty area and Mitchel-King planted the ball past Poke well into the far corner. This clearly shook Torquay who I don't think really recovered from this second set-back. Any momentum Torquay had seemed to get lost and for the rest of the match Torquay struggled to get going.
Torquay kicked towards the Family Stand in the second half and had to contend with Wimbledon's defence and all the sanded areas in that half. Easton had Torquay's clearest chance when put through well from Yeoman but shot weakly at Wimbledon's 42 year old keeper, Sullivan. Ling made 3 substitutions in the second half. Halpin and Thompson came on for the quiet Stevens and surprisingly Craig in a double substitution which effectively changed both our wingers. Halpin made one good run and low cross on the left but no-one was there to tap the ball in from cllose range. Thompson later on made some of his trademark decent runs on the right. Later on Lathrope replaced Easton - a defensive midfielder replacing a defensive midfielder? It was hardly going to change the course of the match.
In truth Torquay tried but struggled to put any sort of pressure on Wimbledon. Torquay looked so lightweight going forward devoid of ideas against the league's bottom club. It was depressing viewing.
Salvation we thought had come on 90 minutes when Howe headed in a Nicholson corner at the far post. Even so I had an uncomfortable feeling and I would have been reasonably happy with a point. My concerns were confirmed when in added time Downes chopped down a Wimbledon player in the box and a penalty was awarded. Long thumped the penalty down the middle past Poke and out poured loads of Torquay fans.
We sat in the Family Stand in the second half. The Wimbledon directors went mad at the full-time whistle. Good luck to them and some Torquay fans sportingly gave them their best wishes. It was our turn to suffer today. Only some funny banter with goalkeeper Sullivan livened up a depressing second half. As I said good luck to Wimbledon, they are fighting for survival.
As for Torquay, I will be pleased to see Saah return from suspension and hopefully shore up the defence better from lapses as witnessed today. But it is offensively we are so short. We certainly need Bodin and Jarvis back soon and Ling is not helping matters by sticking our most creative midfielder out wide. A bad run in the next few weeks will see us with the bottom pack. There were some unpleasant warning signs today and it was up there with the disastrous FA Cup defeat against Harrogate