It was a bit of the shock to the system on the opening day, having our longest trip and then being comprehensively beaten with Marcus Maddison being our tormentor in chief but he has thankfully gone onwards and upwards! Interestingly, their manager thought we looked jaded then and they have travelled down on Thursday to prepare!
Gateshead have been a bit up and down recently with losses against Barnet and Chester, draws against Lincoln and Forest Green with just wins against Aldershot and in the cup to balance things out. Only one clean sheet in ten is a similar problem to us so should be goals in this one although they have just brought in defender Valentin Gjokai, released by Derby in the summer to shore things up!
Gateshead are by no means at full strength with James Curtis, Alex Baird, Carl Finnigan and O'Donnell all out. In addition, they have just released injury prone striker James Brown! The latter two came on as subs in our previous match and only James Curtis started. On the flip side, they have both Jon Shaw and James Chandler back from injury. Shaw is their current top scorer along with Wright so will have to be watched.
I think we are more or less at full strength with just McDonald being 50/50 but would be good if he can make the bench! I suspect Hargreaves will go with the same XI although New signing McQuilkin may play a part. I see that youngsters, Thompson, Chaney and Purcell are now out on loan so won't feature! However, if Chappell is back, then gives us options on the wings now that Briscoe is playing more centrally.
Afternoon campers.....quiet today in gulls world........lol.......anyway going for the 3 points today.....got a score to settle with this lot.....after our performance on first day season........so no messing today you yellows......bish bash bosh.....3 points in the bag ......si.....njoy your day
A tough game against a good side. Perhaps undone by having no wingers on the bench and maybe Hargreaves not utilising his substitutes fully as we were certainly looking very leggy for the last 10 minutes and we were really holding on by our fingertips and were lucky to salvage a point. Pity about those who left after their second goal.....
Both sides started by passing the ball well and it was obvious that Gateshead liked to play out from the back even in some very tight situations. However, once again we took first blood when Young put Bowman through and with cutting back inside the last defender caught him for a clear penalty but rather controversially no card. Bowman stepped up and duly drilled the ball down the middle with Bartlett diving to his right.
The rest of the first half was quite a tight affair with both sides probing forward but without either keeper having to do too much. However, a couple of balls were crossed in where their forwards just missed the ball by a whisker when the smallest deflection would have seen the ball nestle in the back of the net. Also , Rice saved a free kick with the ball eventually going in but ruled offside.
So half time, missed winning the 50/50 by 2 and pity the crossbar challenge wasn't won. First chance to see McQuilkin warm up with the rest of the subs, looked quite tidy as well.
After just five minutes, Gateshead brought on Rankine who is a big unit and started to cause us problems. Hargreaves countered by giving McQuilkin his debut who had a long range effort go just over a minute after he came on. Unfortunately, replacing Cameron with a midfielder meant pushing Briscoe to the wing for a more defensive 4-5-1. The effect of this was that Bowman was more isolated and Briscoe was struggling to get up and down the wing and the side as an whole looked leggy with the exception of Young.
Gateshead, used all their substitutes and were really starting to press, hitting the post and having yet another effort ruled off side. Again, could have really used a winger to come on at this stage. However, with the pressure mounting, the dam eventually burst. Downes caught their attacker running into the area at speed and the ref evened up the penalty count. Rice dived the right way but it was taken really well, into the left corner at speed. Shortly after, a cross was headed home with just a minute of normal time remaining.
Cue, great swathes of support leaving. However, the die was not yet cast. That man, Young again got the ball and let rip a shot that Bartlett could only parry. Bowman and Gjokaj raced for the loose ball and while a close thing, think the defender got his knee on it, but who cares!
Hargreaves finally brought on Ofori-Acheampong and Benyon to try and salvage all 3 points in the last couple of minutes of injury time. We almost got it! With seconds left the ref blow for a foul about 35 yards out. Gjokaj then smashed the ball into Young, promptly earning a second yellow. Maybe not his best debut, gave a penalty away, could have got a red, then scored an og before getting a red anyway!!
From the free kick, Young smashed a shot with venom that Bartlett could again only parry but this time did not fall kindly! A win would have flattered us at this stage but we are due one of them!
Finally, apologies to McQuilkin's girlfriend for getting his nationality hopelessly wrong!
I was disappointed with today's performance and Torquay were very lucky to get away with a point. I did not like Torquay's ultra defensive line up today especially in the second half. It was very Ling like and it was unlikely Torquay could hold out. Torquay rode their luck so much in the second half and it was so predictable when Gateshead finally equalized and then took the lead. Luckily only a goalkeeping mistake saved our blushes and rescued a point. I thought today Hargreaves made the wrong decisions and handed the intiiative to Gateshead. There were one or two outstanding peformances today for Torquay today, most notably Bowman in attack. Poor old Bowman in the second half even had to do a Rene Howe job as he was so isolated up front - but he did a manful job. Sponsors MOTM Briscoe, twitter MOTM Bowman, crowd a disappointing 1,900+ with 50 from Gateshead.
The first half had very few clear chances and there were 2 notable taliking points. On 8 minutes after a threaded Luke Young pass to Bowman in the penalty box, Bowman turned and beat the defender magnificently who then chopped down Bowman. It was an obvious penalty and the defender, who was the last defender, was very lucky to stay on the pitch. Bowman himself chipped the keeper confidently from the penalty spot to put Torquay 1-0 up. Most of the first half was played in midfield and Torquay were generally containing Gateshead who were neat in their build up. I thought Bowman and Briscoe formed a good partnership in attack and both had their dangerous moments but our wingers Ajala and especially Cameron were disappointing and generally gave away possession. I was amazed Hargreaves did not switch Cameron and Ajala to their preferred wings, left and right respectively. Downes and Pearce were a tower of strength in the middle of defence and Berry was outstanding at right back and covered very well at times from potentially dangerous situations. It was like Torquay were playing like the away side, trying to contain Gateshead and catch them on the counter. Gateshead had several dangerous looking set pieces and from one free-kick Rice saved very well low down to his left. Rice saved even better from the rebound and when Gateshead finally put the ball into the net at the third attempt, it was ruled out for offside.
The second half opened up more in terms of chances, Ajala had a decent run and shot from outside the box that was well saved. The new boy McQuilkin replaced for the disappointing Cameron who it has to be said did very little right all afternoon on the right wing. McQuilkin is pretty short and slightly built so I am concerned what he may offer in the physical side of the game. He generally showed neat ball control and played the simple short pass but is he what we need in midfield? With Briscoe moving to the right wing, this only left Bowman in attack. It was a question if Torquay could stifle Gateshead and win 1-0. Gateshead hit the post and scored the rebound but again it was ruled out for off-side. Torquay were seriously riding their luck and Gateshead were playing well and well on top. With 5 minutes to go Downes tripped their player in the box and Gateshead were awarded a penalty which they dispatched. Then worse was to follow. A free-kick was glanced in with Rice rooted to his line and stood and watched to ball go in. Out poured Gulls fans in the Bristow Bench (where I was sat today) and disaster loomed. In truth Gateshead fully deserved their lead and Torquay had ridden their luck for too long. Then in added time a Luke Young low shot from outside the box was badly fumbled by Bartlett, Bowman pounced and rescued Torquay. In the fifth minute of added time, Young amazingly nearly won it for Torquay with a free-kick special from about 30 yards out. Bartlett got his body behind it but sadly Torquay could not get to the rebound and the ball was cleared.
So a strange game in which Torquay appeared to set out to contain Gateshead to protect their 1-0 lead and were not their normal attacking self. It was pretty dull stuff to watch from a Torquay perspective for most of the game and it was only a fortunate last gasp goalkeeping mistake that prevented Torquay from deservedly losing.
Nice report Swanny so I wont bother to much - not sure anyone reads them anyway as this forum is like a morgue these days with very few contributors.
Different tactics today and a far more cautious and considered approach, an approach that allowed Gateshead plenty of possession with the objective to frustrate and nick the ball and break out quickly. In the main it worked but as the game wore on and in the final stages one or two got leggy we gradually became more vulnerable and paid the price. All the warning signs were there but for some unknown reason Greavsy didn't use his subs and fresh legs that maybe would have been enough distraction for the oppositions defenders to win the game but who really knows? A different approach that almost worked against a very good passing side so lets not be to critical here and it was still very entertaining at times though not in the same league as last weeks 3-3 draw. In truth we need tactics and a performance something in between but this is as we all know a work in progress on a limited budget whilst the likes of Gateshead have a hugely successful and well established system that they all know gets results. Enjoyed it again this week and we all know we can play at a level above today's so not too disappointed and with a tough schedule there will be plenty of opportunities to demonstrate whether or not we have true promotion credentials.
My education started when I left Highweek School for boys..