Torquay got the better of Downend Flyers to score a late winner and take a valuable three points away from home.
TULFC lined up in a 3-5-2 formation, utilising Randle and
Shaw as wing backs.
Starting XI – Gosling, Carruthers, Strong, Farrell ©,
Randle, Shaw, Evans, Hawthorne, Dymond (1), Swaine and Dickson. Subs (both used) – Brown and Allen.
The first half was a tepid affair with a lack of quality on
show from both teams, struggling to get the ball down and play in very windy
conditions. Strong tackles were flying in from both sides, with tempers flaring
in this bottom-of-the-table clash.
TULFC did have the ball in the Downend net,
when an uncontested drop ball, which Dymond kicked harmlessly back to the
Downend keeper, flew over her head and into the net. Quite rightly, and in the
spirit of sportsmanship, the referee asked for the drop ball to be retaken. The
first half finished 0-0.
The TULFC team talk centred around trying to get the ball
down and play. We weren’t doing the basics right and we had to focus on this.
The TULFC management were confident that if we could do the simple things well,
our quality would show in the end. A change of shape to 4-3-3 was made, to try
and change the pattern of the game.
The second half continued to be a tight affair, with neither
side creating many chances. TULFC started to take control of possession, but
Downend were still dangerous on the counter attack, and TULFC were giving away too
many free kicks and corners.
One of these free kicks nearly cost us towards
the end of the game, as a shot from the Downend striker flew towards the top
corner, before Laura Shaw jumped and headed the ball off the line. This moment
really galvanised the team, and Dymond (who was suffering from cramp) was
pushed up front as a second striker. Two minutes into injury time, Dymond
controlled a long ball on her chest before hitting a shot over the Downend
keeper, to spark wild scenes of celebration from the TULFC players.
Final score: Downend Flyers 0-1 Torquay United.
Player of the Match – Megan Strong. Meg is an ever-present
throughout the whole season and is the rock around which our defence is built.
She plays with a casual demeanour at times but is always in the right position
when needed. She covers her team mates well and is always trying to start the
play from the back. Today was another solid performance from Meg, and being so
young, she is only going to get better and better.
After the game, manager Jamie McInnes commented: "We knew this was going to be a tough
game, with both us and Downend in similar positions towards the bottom end of
the table. We beat them comfortably in the home game but a lot had changed
since that game, with different personnel now in the side. I was always
confident we would have enough quality to win the game, but I wasn’t
expecting us to leave it so late! It was a frustrating game to watch from a
coaching point of view, as I know we can play much, much better than we showed
on the day. That being said, I am delighted with the character and grittiness
shown by my players. To keep a clean sheet and win a game in injury time shows
tremendous belief and spirit. I am particularly please for Neave in goal and
the whole defence, who have been up against it all season. They thoroughly
deserve that clean sheet. I’m also delighted for Charlotte, who got the winning
goal. I said to her as we left the dressing rooms at half time, that she had
the quality to be the match winner."