The Boxing Day curse (can two defeats be a curse?) at Torquay has been broken with a draw – it had to be a draw, didn’t it?
A 1-1 draw against Gary Johnson’s men was the final result of Yeovil Town’s 2022, and here is how Dave saw it from his vantage point squinting in to the sun in the first half at Plainmoor…
A game of two halves: A total cliche, I know, but rarely have I seen a case where it was so true. I got a fear in my stomach when I saw the starting line-up and saw all our recognised strikers either on the bench or missing completely. And, in the first half, I found out why I was nervous, whatever the tactic was from the off it just did not work. Given our opponent’s issues in defence, we needed to attack them from the off and instead we let them attack us. When Fisher and Linton came on at half-time you saw exactly what we were missing up front and we looked a side transformed. Given Mark Cooper’s ability to change tactics mid-match, it was surprising he stuck with it as long as he did.
Where was Grant Smith’s cap?: When I walked on to the away end, the first thing I thought was “I wish I had got a baseball cap for Christmas!” Grant Smith, who was defending that end must have thought the same, he spent the whole first half shielding his eyes from the sun and I swear he saw the Torquay opener late as a result. I’ll get him one as a late Secret Santa.
Get Maguire-Drew on the ball: This was my first look at Jordan Maguire-Drew and he personified the game of two halves. First half, he looked like he didn’t know where he was as one of a collection of forward players not sure if they were playing out wide, through the middle or what, but playing in behind Fisher and Linton in the second half he showed his class. His incisive passes caused and clever runs Torquay all sorts of problems and showed exactly what he can bring. If we can keep him, he will be a real asset.
Another one for the draw-ing board: That is our 26th National League draw in 2022 (12 this season!) and that tells you exactly what our problem is. An obvious conclusion, but we need to be winning more if we are to get anywhere. When we showed a little attacking intent at Torquay we looked like the only team likely to get the win. Do more of that and we might lose a few but we’ll win more.
New Year’s Day must be a must win: The first opportunity to achieve the aim outlined above comes at is quickly – against the same opposition on New Year’s Day. With Dylan Crowe suspended and Gary Johnson in the stands after their red cards, there’s even more incentive to get on the front foot. Let’s start 2023 as we mean to carry on – with intent to score.
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