So an early kick off for our familiar end of season day of destiny. I suspect a number of pubs will be opening their doors early!
Good news in that Keating is fit for this game as we need to win to be absolutely sure on safety. If we don't win and only draw then we are relying on our superior goal difference and either York or Guiseley not to win. If we lose then we either need Guiseley to lose and one of either Braintree or York not to win or both of York and Braintree not to win.
Chester are effectively safe due to their goal difference but Woking could go down if Torquay, York and Guiseley win coupled with a loss. So 2 teams out of five are in the mix for relegation....
Braintree could go down on 51 points. York have the most difficult match against Forest Green and are in danger of suffering two successive relegations. These two are the most likely to go down.
Pretty dire game of football but just about did enough to condemn York and Braintree to the sixth tier. Oddly a defeat would have seen us safe and we finally end up in 17th place above Woking and Chester - who'd have thought it a fortnight ago? Chester who have been in free fall could also have gone today if Guisley and York had both won. Its a crazy game. A quite incredible turn around but nothing really to celebrate about this season just a feeling of relief and the chance to fight another day.
We have a football club at the moment and will still be playing at a decent level but after that I have no idea what the future holds for this club of ours.
My education started when I left Highweek School for boys..
So the great escape 2 is now complete! And not a bad way to achieve it, winning our last 3 games and finishing 17th. A bumper crowd of 4,026 at Plainmoor today that created a great noisy atmosphere, I'd forgotten how loud Plainmoor can be, so starved of success the club has been in recent years. Around 30 fans I would guess from North Ferriby. Sponsors MOTM going to Jordon Lee who did some great rampaging runs down the right. Lee stood out in more ways than one as he also had to wear a white head bandage after a head injury.
The first half was quite scrappy and nervy with not many goal attempts. The nerves were only eased by other scores going in our favour. North Ferriby worked hard but did not make best use of some decent positions and Torquay's defence looked solid enough. The highlight of the half was a rasping long range shot from Williams that crashed off the post. Torquay had some dangerous free-kicks that their keeper saved and a few corners but the half finished goalless.
Torquay upped the game in the second half and there was some decent pressure. The vital breakthrough came following a free-kick that was headed down. The ball finally broke loose to Verma who scored into an empty net from close range. Plainmoor erupted and a lot of nerves from the players and crowd evaporated. Only a big turnaround in results would now send Torquay down. Torquay played with more freedom but at the same time kept it sensibly tight at the back. Sparkes had replaced Reid on the left and later Chaney for Lee who really had been in the wars.
Then the icing on the cake. A lovely dinked cross from Young for Anderson to neatly place a header into the corner of the net. Harrod replaced Williams and Torquay comfortably ran down the clock. Great scenes at the final whistle and on spilled the fans onto the pitch. There was a lap of honour from the players and Nicho and then the end of season awards. McGinty won young player and Luke Young the player of the season. It was interesting to see Dave Phillips on the pitch with the playing staff. Young and Nicho gave speeches with Nicho apologising for putting us through this again! Clarke Osbourne I am told watched the game from Bristow Bench and I saw him after the match back in the directors box.
So mission accomplished and what another fabulous turnaround in the last few weeks. All seemed so lost just a few weeks ago under very trying circumstances. I hope GI today appreciate the strong affection supporters have for the club and a lot came out of the woodwork today to witness today's survival. It was there today for all to see. Plainmoor really was rocking today. Anyway, time for me to relax a bit and think about National League football next season.
Great atmosphere at Plainmoor. A solid team performance full of effort that eventually got us a deserved win. The club came out fighting on all fronts today. Inspirational words from Clarke Osborne in the programme as he urged the lads on 'just one more push and we are there'.
The playersgave all they'd got, and the club's determination to hit back against other opponents was evident too, with these words also appearing in the programme: 'You are sometimes left wondering what the journalist's 'angle' really is and how certain stories could be deemed to be in the public interest. Sadly the old adage "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story" does, at times, ring very true. And it's not just top flight clubs that feel the bite of the news hounds. Here at United we have recently come under the spotlight of a leading Sunday national in what was a classic example of one of the golden rules of journalism: "Check your facts".
I think it signals a determination to take on the Guardianistas every step of the way. The TUSTs collaboration with the Observer hit piece will most definitely have been noted, as will the involvement of one of their spokesmen with a radio station, with comments most clearly not designed to calm the waters just hours before the club's crucial match today.
Try as they might to knock us off course, the agitators fervent efforts have been about as successful as Kim Jong-un's latest rocket launch. The good times were back today, the crowds were back, a higher finish than last season, when only a few months ago Administration and relegation were staring us in the face. The task of building towards an even better finish next year won't be stopped, whatever mud the militants attempt to throw.
'Everyone connected with the club will be working hard through the summer to improve every area on and off the pitch and to push towards sustainable success' - those were Clarke's reassuring words today, underlining his determination not to be undermined by the small band of ideologically driven critics.
Do your worst militants.....your tactics couldn't sow the disruption to stop us today, and you won't stop us making further improvements next season either .
And well done to the soccer fans of South Devon (apart from a few absolute idiots). Apparently we had the biggest attendance in our little league today. It really was great to see Plainmoor more full than empty again!
Well done Nico and the boys for sticking two fingers up at GI. Another great escape. One of the hardest yet, given the incredibly difficult circumstances off field as noted by the Daily Telegraph, Talk Sport and other national media during this last week. Enjoy the weekend.
Enjoyed every second yesterday, huge congratulations to Kevin Nicholson and the team for digging themselves out of a very big hole over the last few weeks. Tremendous crowd and great atmosphere up there yesterday.....if only it was like that every other week ! Lovely to bump into a few faces on that carpet like pitch at the final whistle....not as dry and dusty as it was 30 years ago ! Anyway that was Kevin Nicholsons 89th game in charge...W28 D22 L39 so far and we all know just what he has had to contend with. I personally hope this wasnt his last game and is left alone hopefully with a half decent budget to add some much needed talent to the squad.