Man of Match Moore Earns Gulls Another Draw
Torquay United held on for a drew against Aldershot Town at Plainmoor on Saturday afternoon thanks to a man of the match display from goalkeeper Brendan Moore writes SSD’s Matt Green.
Manager Kevin Nicholson was forced into a couple of changes from the team that lost their FA Cup replay in midweek. With Nathan Blissett ruled out with a dead leg and Dan Sparkes missing following a recurrence of his hamstring injury, Jamie Reid and Brett Williams came into the starting eleven.
Damon Lathrope had the first attempt on goal against his former club but his effort from the edge of the area went high and wide following a Luke Young free kick in the fourth minute, that was only half cleared by the visitors. Aldershot then had their first opportunity two minutes later when Bernard Mensah shot left-footed from close range. Liam Bellamy then almost got onto the end of a fine cross by Mensah but narrowly missed the chance to get the visitors on the score-sheet. With the game very open in the opening ten minutes, Williams then produced a fine cross himself to the far post where Lathrope’s header at the far post went just over the bar. A clever Josh Wakefield corner from the right, in the 14th minute, found Mensah on the edge of the area and his left footed strike brought out a great fingertip save from Brendan Moore in the United goal. Sam Chaney and Reid combined well on 20 minutes before Reid tried to curl his shot into the bottom corner of the net from distance. Williams then failed to get the ball from under his feet, when unmarked inside the area, and a golden chance went begging as the visitors easily cleared their lines. Nicholson was forced into a change five minutes before the break with Jo Ward replacing the injured Aman Verma at right back. Nicholson then brought himself on in the 44th minute for another injured player, this time Lathrope, with a groin injury, the man departing. Aldershot then had two chances to get into the break a goal up, both through Mensah. First, he had a free header that Moore saved easily and then, moments later, a mistake by Lathaniel Rowe-Turner in the centre of the reshuffled United back four gave Mensah another chance from twelve yards; this time he forced Moore into a fine save low to his left before Nicholson cleared up field.
The second half was only minutes old when Aldershot’s half time substitute Matt McClure brought another fine save from Moore, this time from six yards, after some intricate play from the Shots. It was the start of things to come in the opening stages of the half with McClure having a number of efforts on goal, making Moore work hard. In between McClure’s opening second half show, Reid tried to slip Young through in the 51st minute but Jake Cole managed to save at his feet. Next, Ward produced a delightful ball over the top of the Aldershot back line for Williams to volley but unfortunately his strike was sliced well wide of the target. Jake Gallagher then fired in a volley of his own just after the hour that was inches wide of goal. Reid then tried to create his own chance in the 69th minute but the young Gull could only pull his shot across goal, making the save easy for Cole. Two minutes later, Reid again tried his luck from distance but his effort again failed to trouble Cole or change the score-sheet. Moore was forced into action again in the 79th minute when a slide rule pass from Gallagher found Shamir Fenelon on the right angle of the box; he drove his shot low and hard towards goal but again Moore was equal to the effort. With the clock running down, both sides had chances. First, McClure fired a 20 yard strike that crashed against the Torquay post before Ward volleyed just wide of the Aldershot goal following a corner by Young that was only half cleared in stoppage time.
At the final whistle, many in the main stand at Plainmoor wondered how Torquay had managed to hold on for a point; the answer to that was easy…Brendan Moore.
TUFC: Moore, Verma (Ward 39), Gallifuoco, McGinty, Rowe-Turner, Lathrope (Nicholson 44), Richards (capt), Young, Chaney, Williams, Reid.
Subs Not Used: Robba, Duke, Chamberlain.
TUFC Bookings: Lathrope (28) Young (83).
Aldershot: Cole, Alexander, Reynolds, Saville, Straker, Bellamy (Walker 74), Wakefield (McClure 46), Gallagher, Mensah, Fenelon (Allen 80), Rendell.
Subs Not Used: Arnold, Kanu.
Aldershot Bookings: Straker (65).
Attendance: 1,788 (273 away).
Referee: Mr A Quelch
MOTM: Brendan Moore (TUFC).