With Barrow winning their last seven games in the league and ourselves having won four out of our last five games then this is set up to be a cracker of a match and the start of 3 tough games in a week where we are looking to move back into a play off position.
The good news for us is that we have players returning to fitness with Kalala recovered from illness and Asa and Opi now available after long term absences and even Janneh rumoured to be a imminent signing on loan. Only Dickson and Lemonheigh Evans are now out for this game and even getting onto the subs bench is competitive.
Last week Little moved to the hole to be the fourth player in that position after Vincent, Lemonheigh and Whitfield, with Whitfield himself going onto the wing to cover the ill Kalala. I suspect Johnson will ease Asa and Hall back initially as subs and possibly the same with Janneh if/when he is signed so is there room to start Kalala and who do you drop to accommodate him? A nice selection headache for Johnson and do you break up the Buse/Vincent central pairing that no one thought would see the light of day but which has been very successful for several games now. In Johnson we trust!
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
An awful lot of rain and really high winds - In january or Feb would be off I reckon but the pitch is still fresh and as long as there is no standing water I reckon it should be able to cope- hopefully. I was surprised how good it looked last week after a wet previous week. One things for certain the hoses won't be out today!
My education started when I left Highweek School for boys..
Ye of little faith. Good win and Barrow’s seven League wins on the trot run comes to an end. It sounded like Armani Little did his same hamstring again right at the end. Hope he is not too long out, but would seem he’ll have a few weeks on the sidelines again.
Thought our performance today was a bit special and one of our most complete performances at this level. 4-2 and should have been more. A little wobble at 3-2 but we pushed on again and won with a little room to spare against a very good side. Some exceptional individual performances out there today and we honestly looked like genuine contenders and this young motivated squad are still improving. Best watch at Plainmoor for a long time particularly the first half when our young midfield really got to grips with the game and passed and moved sublimely. Barrow looked a good side from the off and looked determined to put to bed a poor result in the cup but we matched them in every department until they scored a good goal after just ten minutes. From the way we had approached the game I was confident that we could get back into it and we did with a super pass move goal from JR. I guess the turning point was the sending off for what I think was hand ball stopping a certain goal bound effort on 30 minutes. JR stepped up and planted a perfect pen to make it 2-1. The second half was a totally different affair but became almost as eventful and entertaining as the first and when we stretched our lead again with a beautifully worked third on 51 minutes it looked as if it was going to be a formality. You can never write a good side off at any level and Barrow who had looked dejected and were defending far to deep got a lifeline just five minutes later after some untidy defensive play from us. At this point you I was beginning to wonder if we had let our foot off the gas and Barrow had a decent spell only for us to counter with speed and score a sublime fourth to effectively wrap up the game. Barrow again went into there shell as we dominated them all over the pitch in the closing stages and with a brave introduction of Oppie Edwards and Kalvin Kalala at 3-2 giving Barrow plentty to think about we should have scored a couple more. This was as complete a performance as I have seen at this level our passing and movement was exceptional today and bodes well for the rest of the season the only blot being Little pulling up in injury time with waht looked like hamstring. Hope its not to serious as he was at another level today.
This was a stunning performance today by the Gulls to come back and deservedly beat an in-form and talented looking Barrow team. Just like against Boreham Wood last week in the FA Cup, Torquay just had that extra bit of quality in their build-ups to slice open the opposition defence and to finish off those chances. When we are on our game, teams even at this higher level cannot live us. All our goals today had the stamp of quality about the build ups. The passing and movement is a real joy to watch. The players are on the same wavelength and know the danger areas to get in and play with intelligence. The defence is not always as solid as it could be at times but I suppose that is what you get when playing in such an adventurous way. There were chances galore today at both ends but Torquay deserved the victory and either team could have scored a few more.
Crowd at a very wet Plainmoor was 2,280 with 76 hardy and vocal supporters from Barrow. After so much rain in the last couple of days the Plainmoor pitch held up remarkably well. Hopefully it is a sign that the pre-season work done to the pitch is paying dividends. Sponsors MOTM going to Reid but there were many candidates this could have gone to. I think one of the unsung heroes this season has been left back Davis. He makes so many vital challenges at the back and is a big danger with the ball going forward with his runs and fitness. He's got a great never-say-die attitude. The only blemish today was Little pulling up with his hamstring in added time. Little has developed a great partnership with Reid in attack as emphasised by them both scoring two today so he will be sorely missed.
Both teams started brightly and you could tell both teams were in form and confident. Torquay passed the ball around well and Barrow looked dangerous. Vincent had to make a timely interception in the box early on. A few minutes later Barrow took the lead from a slick counter attack. They were through on goal, rounded Covolan and sloted the ball home from a tight angle with a couple of Torquay players covering the goal. It was a well worked goal but Torquay did not panic and continued to play well. Reid equalized finding himself 1-on-1 with their keeper in a central position, the ball had kindly found its way to Reid's path from a crowd of players. Reid took his time, waiting for their keeper to commit himself and coolly slotted home. The turning point of the match was Torquay's penalty which resulted in a Barrow player being sent off. Following a slick paasing move, Buse took the ball around their keeper, cut the ball back and a defender handled the ball on the goal line trying to prevent a goal. Reid dispatched the penalty with confidence and Torquay went in at half-time leading 2-1 against 10 men. Barrow's manager clearly was not happy with the referee's decision and Barrow players also lost their discipline leading up to half-time. There were a few late tackles on Torquay players going in.
Torquay's third goal was sheer quality again in the build up. Reid was clear on our right with the ball, looked up and spotted Little running at the far post. Reid's low cross was inch perfect for Little to finish off. At this stage Torquay had swapped their two wingers Andrews and Whitfield for Kalala and Edwards. Kalala showed his usual bag of tricks beating players on the ball. Just when you thought Torquay were comfortable Barrow scored after the ball ping ponged in the box and was not cleared. You have to hand it to Barrow they were giving it a right go with 10 men. Torquay's scored the fourth and sealed the match with Little again finishing of a slick attack with Reid involved again. There were still chances at both ends but Torquay saw the game out at 4-2.
It was great quality stuff to watch in another highly entertaining game. Torquay really seem to have found their feet in this division and this last week has shown me we have that extra bit of quality even when playing the best teams in this division. Our football is quite breath taking at times and it is such a pleasure to watch. Let's just hope Little soon recovers as he really looks the part with Reid. Saying that we now have some healthy other options especially with Janneh returning.
Another cracking game today where our passing and movement seems to be of a league standard and very few teams at this level can live with it and the fourth goal we scored was a joy to watch with the counter-attack starting just outside of our own penalty area. Thoroughly deserved the win today with the only downside being the hamstring injury to Little ironically sustained during injury time itself and the lad was absolutely gutted after just working his way back to full fitness from the same injury.
I thought we started the game well and were looking threatening and causing Barrow various problems but a very good long pass played to their striker split our defence and he was able to take the ball pass Covolan and despite the efforts of two covering defenders, they were unable to stop the ball being slotted home.
It then became hard going for a bit with the visitors being encouraged by the vocal away support that were getting behind their team. However, we started to create some space and chances particular when we started running with the ball at their defenders which they did not like and a nice one two between Reid and Whitfield left our top scorer in the area with just the keeper to beat and with his confidence the way it is, it is almost a formality to see the net bulge a second later!
We actually had two very good penalties shouts in the first half with a shoulder barge on Whitfield knocking him over as the ball was delivered in, which the ref didn’t see and another incident from a corner. However, the third shout was even better when another ball was played through their defence into the box for Buse to get on the end of it and take wide past the keeper, he then crossed the ball back onto the edge of the 6 yard box where the defender tried to block the shot from the onrushing Torquay player but he was sliding on the ground to an extent where his upper body was by the ball and his hand was raised, perhaps naturally to protect himself but in so doing prevented a clear goal scoring opportunity and the ref did not have any hesitation in pointing to the spot and then brandishing a red card to the mortification of the visitors.
In the past we used to miss penalties on a very regular basis but Reidy did not look remotely like missing this one sending their keeper the wrong way and blasting into the right hand side of the goal. It was just before half-time and Barrow were certainly showing signs of losing it.
We again started the second half well keeping a lot of possession and patiently building up play looking for the extra space created by our numerical advantage. It wasn’t long before we were able to get into their area and a nice cross along the 6 yard box was finished nicely by Little at the far post. 3-1 and it looked like game over but Barrow kept at it and a rare attack on the right saw a dangerous low cross that Cundy cut out similarly to when he scored an own goal last week but this time the ball didn’t quite go out and was not dealt with by our defence and their attacker was able to cross to the far post where it was slotted home by their substitute.
Game on again and Barrow had their best spell of the match putting us under pressure and making a meal out of a few challenges to gain parity on penalty appeals. Johnson responded to this by sending on Kalala and Edwards, our strong attacking options on the bench. Kalala went on a few mazy runs but it wasn’t happening today for him and Edwards looked understandably a bit ring rusty.
The best move of the match also finished it as a contest. Counter attacking from just outside our area on the left wing , the ball was passed swiftly up to Reid who took the ball to the right of their penalty area and his cross was hit first time high up into the roof of the net by Little for another goal of the month contender. Worth watching the highlights for this goal alone.
We could have scored more but were a little wasteful at times. At opening in injury time saw Reid and Little surge forward but as the latter stretched for the ball he shouted out and went down. He was gutted to pick up another injury and was very dejected as he went off. Perhaps unlucky not to pick up the MOTM which went to Reid for his 2 goals and an assist.
The good news is that Janneh was at the ground today and is likely champing at the bit to renew his partnership with the league’s top scorer!
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
Hats off to the groundsman. I doubted the game would be on, but it was and the pitch stood up pretty well. Amazing given the rain we have had.
Barrow are a very good team indeed - the kind of team that would maybe have swatted us off easily at the start of the season.
I thought it was clearly a penalty but a harsh red card - arm stretched out while on ground.
Almost a shame they had a man sent off as I think we had enough to have beaten then with 11 men. Would have been an even more cracking game than it was.
Credit to their support. A decent number given the distance and the weather and very vocal and supportive.
Some of our play really was a joy to behold. We play some fantastic football.
Hope Little is not as bad as we fear as he was back to his best today.
Reidy now exudes confidence. Fantastic finish for his first and a far more confident penalty than I have ever seen, but the cherry on the cake was how he set up Little's goal. He is not only a lethal finisher but a confident all round centre-forward. He now has the upper body strength to hold off robust challenges easily. We will have to make a decision at some point on when to cash in, but you could see that if he could get us into the Football League and impress there his value could soar to silly money.
My advice to anybody who does not go regularly is get up there and watch this exciting young team.