And suddenly after that mediocre start to the season we have the chance to go top of the league if we win this match! Not that it will be easy as Dartford are top of the form table having won five out of their last six league games, ironically just losing at Plainmoor to Truro in that time frame. Interestingly, all their wins have been by a solitary goal against mainly mid and lower table teams so not blowing their opponents away but mentally tough enough to keep getting those wins.
With the heavy pitches at this time of year and two away games in a row, Dartford do have an added advantage of not just being at home but also fresher having not played on Saturday with their league game against Woking being postponed due to their opponents FA Cup commitments. Will Johnson therefore rotate some players or keep the same eleven? Not too sure although Johnson has been keeping faith with this team for a bit and maybe he will stick and use some substitutes a bit earlier. Even McDonald who has Bass to contend with again produced some excellent saves on Saturday and will be very hard to drop.
And suddenly after that mediocre start to the season we have the chance to go top of the league if we win this match! In my 44+ years of supporting Torquay the times that we have been top of the league have been very few and far between. Can anyone pinpoint the last time Torquay were actually top of the league ?
Johnson’s thoughts - a phrase that pops up is the opponents are trying to level the playing field- I think there is a confidence that we are the best side in the league which is bourne out by the Dartford match preview.
Also, better to win the matches now going for top spot rather than playing catch up in March/April -sign of a manager who has done it before.
In my 44+ years of supporting Torquay the times that we have been top of the league have been very few and far between. Can anyone pinpoint the last time Torquay were actually top of the league ?
We were second for a while under Hargreaves early in the 2014/15 season and second towards the end of the 2011/12 season under Ling, but I'm pretty sure the last time we were actually top was early in the 2010/11 season under Buckle. We won our first four and were still top after six games.
Here is the League 2 table on Friday 17 September 2010 courtesy of the English National Football Archive:
link - bit more on the build up in Devon Live - dilemma for Johnson on goalkeeper but MacDonald look likes he will keep the shirt. Hall was very nearly ready on Saturday but held back for a few extra days - will he slot back in? Could Andrews replace Keating out wide for example? Niate did not break nose at Dulwich and is available but Johnson has a lot of options in this area.
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
A good post from PhillGull on the so ~ called kiddies site. We really should be steamrollering the team's we play now! We have professional players, a professional manager and should fear no one! We ( the fans ) still seem to have this " sack cloth and ashes " attitude though... " Oh dear, how can we beat that team...we're only "lil ol" TUFC! " The sooner we get rid of that attitude...the sooner we will actually achieve something!
Well, Dartford are top of the current form table (last 6) for this League; are at home and didn’t play Saturday. I am not expecting us to steamroller them or indeed top of the table Welling on Saturday. Neither will the Manager nor the players be expecting that. I agree that we should fear no team, but equally we should respect all teams when trying to impose our play as none will be set up to be steamrollered, particularly when Torquay are in town.
Hard work and application will be required, just as it was on Saturday at Dulwich Hamlet, where but for some good saves by MacDonald, the result could well have been different. The good news is though, we have a Manager who will get that message across effectively to our young team at every juncture.
I felt that Hamlet were just as effective as us in the first half on Saturday and expect Johnson put a rocket up our lot at half time. It is maybe after 70 minutes on heavier pitches that we may benefit from our professional status against some sides, but that won’t always be the case as it was on Saturday.
I don’t expect any changes to the starting line-up tonight if all are fit , but reckon that in the medium term Johnson would go for Sendles-White over Niate; Hall over Keating with the reshuffle Rob suggests; and Bass over MacDonald. He may feel (although maybe not) that results and match sharpness mean that won’t be just yet, but if we drop points, he’ll ring the changes for sure.
Bass, I suspect, is currently lined up for the Trophy match on 15th. Sendles-White will get his starting chance first and Hall may come on to defend a lead this week is my shot in the dark guess. Nice to have decent options available.
Consistency is key too success at any level and have been pleasantly surprised that our performance levels have been good for so long. A good habit to get into though there have been one or two signs that levels have dropped off slightly which is not surprising considering the heights we were/are reaching and the heavier pitches of late. I don't foresee any changes and quite rightly every player will have to earn the right to regain their place and that includes Hall, Bass and Dickinson etc. Haven't had that luxury for quite some time and only a run of poor individual performances, injury or suspensions will see changes. To have that experience and quality on the bench will keep everyone on their toes. Tough game tonight, a victory would be some achievement on their own patch and against a very in form club.
Predict a draw and wont be too disappointed if that's the case with another very tough encounter awaiting on Saturday when some fresh legs may well be required but GJ will know best.
My education started when I left Highweek School for boys..