Opportunities Missed By United
MATCH REPORT 08.03.14
TORQUAY UNITED 0 FLEETWOOD TOWN 1
Fleetwood Town ended over seven hours of football without a goal, recording a 1-0 victory at struggling Torquay.
The crucial goal came in the 73rd minute when subsitute Jon Parkin slid a delightful through-ball into the path of Jamille Matt who then slid the ball coolly into the bottom-left corner of the net, past the advancing Martin Rice.
United could have replied almost instantly when, a minute later, the ball fell kindly to Jayden Stockley on the edge of the box. But his left-footed shot was straight at Fleetwood’s keeper Chris Maxwell who was positioned well in the centre of the goal.
The first half was a very scrappy affair with neither side taking control of the match.
Best chance of the half came Fleetwood’s way just before the break: a great low cross from the right by Conor McLaughlin was missed by all when all it needed was a simple tap in from inside the six-yard box.
United’s best chance of the half fell to centre-back Aaron Downes. Good work on the left-hand side by Karl Hawley saw his cross blocked by the Fleetwood defence. The ball rolled out to Downes who struck a powerful 35-yard drive which flew just over the bar.
Joss Labadie also had a right-footed free kick, on 37 minutes, saved by Maxwell from just outside the box.
The second 45 minutes was by far a more entertaining spectacle, with both sides having chances before and after the solitary strike to lay claim to a priceless three points.
Torquay started the second half with pace and determination and were nearly rewarded, on 46 minutes, when a left-footed free-kick, just outside the box, by Kevin Nicholson forced Maxwell dive to his left and save well. Elliot Benyon, who was fouled leading up to Nicholson’s free kick, then had a right-footed effort tipped over the bar a minute later. The strike was from the edge of the six yard box but again the Fleetwood keeper was equal to the effort.
United’s Captain Lee Mansell then saw two right-footed strikes, both from just inside the box, blocked by Fleetwood’s Mark Roberts. It’s fair to say both would have troubled the ‘keeper but again United could not find that all important breakthrough.
Having survived the opening 15 minutes of the second-half, Fleetwood started to gain some control from a battling United side. A couple of quick saves within a few minutes, by Rice, kept United in the game before Antoni Sarcevic struck his left-hand post with an angled drive from the right-hand side of the area eight yards out.
A flurry of substitutions then took place before Matt’s all-important strike.
The final 10 minutes saw United again turn on the pressure in search of the equaliser. Nicholson, Labadie and Stockley all had half-chances but again none went the way of the Gulls. Even what seemed a certain penalty, according to United manager Chris Hargreaves, didn’t go their way.
After the game, Hargreaves said he and his squad will “keep fighting till the death. We dust ourselves down and start again on Monday, ready for Tuesday night’s fixture against Rochdale”.
With Torquay now 10 points adrift of safety, it’s going to be a tall order to beat the drop. But the team are showing fight and determination and if they can take anything from former player, and now manager, Hargreaves, it’s you never give up!
TUFC: Rice, Tonge, Downes, Pearce, Nicholson, Ladadie, Lathrope, Mansell (Chapell 71), Hawley (Cameron 63), Benyon (Stockley 70), Showunmi
(Subs Not Used) Poke, Harding, Stevens, O’Connor
Fleetwood: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Taylor, Goodall (Morris 65), Roberts, Pond, Sarcevic, Schumacher, Matt, Murdoch (Hughes 66), Evans (Parkin 52)
(Subs Not Used) Davies, Blair, Jordan, Mandron
Bookings: TUFC: Mansell, Fleetwood: Hughes, Pond
Attendance: 2 245 (79 away fans)
Match Report By Matt Green (Sport South Devon)