Western Morning News
Johnson pleased with a point from a ‘bitty’ game
MANAGER Gary Johnson said Torquay United were missing their ‘flair and quality’ when they drew 0-0 with Sutton United at Plainmoor on Tuesday night the team’s second goalless draw in four days following a similar outcome at Notts County on Saturday.
While the team remain nine points clear at the top of the National League table, Johnson said: “Individuals worked very, very hard, but they didn’t bring their game out, so we didn’t have that flair or quality that we normally have.
“Having said that, a positive was the boys worked really hard against a very competitive team. It was very bitty, which I don’t like, so I suppose you have to say credit to them - they have come here and made it bitty. I shouldn’t think it is a game you would watch again.
“But, we got a 0-0 and we haven’t let a goal in and the two nil-nils were against the two teams that I think are probably, at the end of the day, nearest to us.”
Johnson had a surprise for the fans before the game with former loan player Joe Lewis announced as a new full-time signing. Twenty-oneyear-old Lewis played 28 times for the Gulls last season on loan from Swansea City - and was a firm favourite with the fans. He went straight into the team at right-back with Sam Sherring rejoining Kyle Cameron at centre back.
Fit-again Armani Little started in the No 10 position behind Josh Umerah, with Connor Lemonheigh-Evans dropping into midfield, though Johnson’s formations are often fluid.
There weren’t really many clearcut chances - though Torquay were certainly better after going down to 10 men in the second half following the sending off of Dean Moxey.
A mistimed Moxey challenge earned the left-back a yellow card in the first half - a harsh booking maybe, but one that would prove costly.
Johnson made a change at half time, bringing on young Crystal Palace loanee Rob Street for his debut in place of Umerah. A Harry Beautyman shot went through a sea of legs but MacDonald kept his eye on the ball and held it well.
Moxey was sent off after a clumsy late challenge on 55 minutes and that led to Torquay’s best spell as
Whitfield had another good shot saved by the Sutton goalkeeper from a chance again set up by Street.
Torquay won a free kick from a hand ball, 30 yards out, and Adam Randell hit the ball well, but not well enough. Jake Andrews came on for Little in the 71st minute.
There were a few hearts in mouths when a MacDonald clearance hit Cameron but the ball spun back to the Torquay goalkeeper and he was able to clear it down field at a second attempt.
The Gulls won a free kick out on the right in the 90th minute - but Andrews’ cross was too long and the ball went harmlessly out of play at the back post. An Aaron Nemane shot from distance in time-added-on went over.
Johnson said: “We know we have got to be a little bit better with skill, ability and movement, and that clever passing and clever movement - we didn’t get that today.”
Torquay go to Barnet on Saturday a team in trouble at the foot of the table after they were beaten 3-0 by Dover Athletic on Tuesday night.