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TORQUAY UTD v WOKING

Brian Caffarey - 22nd November 2007

TORQUAY UNITED v WOKING
3pm on Saturday 24 November 2007

This is a tough one! And hardly the time of year for a trip to the seaside! The Gulls are currently in second place in the BSP, one point behind Aldershot with a game in hand. We?ll need all the determination we?ve shown in our last three away games if we?re not to come away merely licking our wounds.

WOKING

Statistics are open to very differing interpretations. The Cards can proudly claim that they are unbeaten in their last three away games, having gained very creditable draws at Stevenage, Oxford and Kidderminster. Moreover, they have lost only six out of their 20 league games so far and conceded only 23 goals. That almost looks like the form of a team challenging for promotion! Unfortunately, it?s also true that the Cards have gone seven games without a win and have scored only three goals in that time. In addition, the Cards have won only four games this season and scored a mere 20 league goals. The net result is that Woking are languishing in 18th position in the table: the position could be a lot worse if it wasn?t for the very poor form of the teams below them.

The main problem continues to be the team?s inability to create chances and to convert them. The experiment of playing Matt Pattison in a wing-back role behind Goma Lambu didn?t look very productive last Saturday. Matt?s attacking skills seem to be needed further forward and Goma appears to be going through a poor spell. In midfield Bradley Quamina doesn?t look comfortable at present in anything other than a defensive role in front of the defence. That might at least allow the much more creative Kevin James to play further forward. Up front, Frank Gray is going to find it increasingly difficult to ignore Gez Sole?s claims to a starting position since he?s the only player (apart perhaps from Tom Hutchinson) who seems likely to put the ball in the net at present. Frank?s apparent problem is that he doesn?t seem to know how best to use Gez?s talents for the full 90 minutes.

I spoke to Frank earlier this (Thursday) evening for an update. On the injury front, he said that the only concern centred on the two keepers. Apparently, Nick Gindre is in better shape than Ross Worner, so, although both will travel to Torquay, it rather looks as though Nick will resume between the sticks. There are no suspensions.

I invited Frank to comment on the clamour from some fans and the press for Gez Sole ? who has scored the Cards? last two goals ? to start on Saturday. Frank was reluctant to comment initially, merely saying that he was aware of these views but that it was up to him to pick what he thought was the best team. (Liam Daish won?t be able to argue this, of course, if the MyFootballClub take-over goes through at Ebbsfleet!) He went on to say, though, that playing from the outset of a game is very different from coming on later, adding ?Gez, Liam Marum and Jerome Maledon gave us fresh legs at Kidderminster and that made a difference. It?s sometimes possible to have more influence on a game coming on later.? He stressed, though, that that wasn?t the only consideration when deciding whether a player should start or not.

Frank said that, while Torquay were obviously ?flying?, his team wouldn?t be travelling there with an inferiority complex and would be trying to win the game.

TORQUAY SQUAD

Paul Buckle, formerly Exeter City?s Assistant Manager, was appointed in early June by the new consortium which had taken control of the club and wasted no time in gathering an impressive group of new players around him. Not surprisingly, he looked to his old club for a few of them. Keeper Martin Rice, striker Lee Phillips and defender Chris Todd all switched from St James?s Park. A second keeper was added in the shape of Simon Rayner, who had had a loan spell the previous season from Lincoln City. Experienced left-back Kevin Nicholson joined from Forest Green Rovers and defender Paul Hinshelwood, son of Paul senior and brother of Adam, arrived from Brighton and Hove Albion. 19 year-old centre back Mark Ellis is on loan from Bolton till Christmas. In midfield Buckle added the experienced Chris Hargreaves, with over 500 league games to his credit, Darren Mullings, formerly with Bristol Rovers, Danny Wring, a 20 year-old winger from Bristol City, and Danny Stevens (ex-Luton). Up front the familiar figure of ex-Shot Tim Sills arrived from Hereford United, along with two loan signings: Chris Zebroski from Millwall and Ishmael Welsh, a winger on a season-long loan from Yeovil, and 19 year-old Elliot Benyon, who had loan spells last season with St Albans and Crawley. A returnee was striker Tony Bedeau after a brief spell at Walsall.

SEASON SO FAR

The Gulls were one of the bookies? pre-season favourites for the title and they?ve certainly lived up to their billing. A televised opener saw them draw 0-0 against Grays Athletic but Plainmoor then witnessed seven home league wins on the trot, including a convincing 4-2 defeat of Stevenage Borough. The record ended when Cambridge United came away with a 2-1 win. Goals haven?t been hard to come by either: the Gulls have scored 49 in 19 outings, compared with our 20 in one more outing! The goal tally includes five at both Histon and Kidderminster Harriers. Tim Sills has bagged 11 league goals and Chris Zebroski has got 10 so far while Lee Phillips has scored eight. A glimmer of hope for the Cards is that Torquay have conceded more goals than us: 29 compared with our 23. In the Cup Torquay had a fine 2-0 away win over Bath City and then had a superb 4-1 home win over Yeovil Town. They now entertain Brighton and Hove Albion in the Second Round. Last Saturday the Gulls travelled to Crawley and triumphed 3-2.

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS

This will be the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.

GETTING THERE

Torquay United AFC
Plainmoor
Torquay TQ1 3PS
Tel: 01803 328666
Website: www.torquayunited.com

By coach ? why not take it easy and go on the Supporters? Club coach? It leaves Kingfield at 10.00am and the cost is only ?19 for members and ?24 for non-members. Phone the Club Shop to book your place.

By car ? take the M3, A303, A30 and M5 to Exeter. Then follow the A380 to Newton Abbot (Penn Inn Roundabout). Follow signs to Torquay, past the Willows Shopping Centre, then next left at traffic lights. Follow signs for Torquay United/Plainmoor through three roundabouts. At top of hill traffic lights go straight on into Warbro Road. The ground is on the right-hand side. Away turnstiles are just off Warbro Road, down the lane next to the Gulls? Lodge. The AA estimates it should take about three and a half hours to cover the 170 miles from Kingfield.

By train ? travelling by rail doesn?t look a good bet since there are engineering works on the line between Exeter St Davids and Torquay, which means that you would have to get a rail replacement bus service for that part of the journey and a 40 minute wait for the bus to boot!

OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW

Admission prices: Adults ?15, Seniors/Students ?12, U16s ?5.


Come on, you Cards!

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