Sholing 0-2 Torquay United

Scorers : Asha Hull (pen) 44, Josh Umerah 71

Date: Saturday 24 October 2020, 3pm – Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round

Venue: Mackoy Stadium

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Marvin McLean, Jake Hoole, PJ McLean, Dan Miller, Charlie Wagstaffe (Martin Buckland 66), Claudio Herbert, Bryon Mason ©, Stuart Green, Bradley Targett, Dan Mason.  Unused Subs: Jamie Bulpitt, Alex Sawyer, Joe Smith, Josh Carey, Nick Watts & Luke Deacon

Yellow Card: Claudio Herbert

Torquay United: Shaun MacDonald, Ben Wynter, Kyle Cameron, Gary Warren, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Asha Hall ©, Jake Andrews, Adam Randell (Aaron Nemane 60), Sam Sherring, Ben Whitfield (Danny Wright 60), Josh Umerah (Armani Little 75).  Unused Subs: Fraser Kerr, Matt Buse & Lucas Covolan

Yellow Cards: Jake Andrews, Gary Warren

Attendance: 400

Match Sponsors : GSH Electrical Man of the Match: Byron Mason
Matchball Sponsors : Paul & James Dallow

Referee: Adrian Quelch  Assistants: Marc Meeten & Nicholas Metcalfe  4th Official Barrie Small

Sholing's historic FA Cup run came to an end at the hands of National League Leaders, Torquay United.  The full time professionals knew they had been in a game from a team 72 places below them in the football ladder and it was, arguably, the decisions of the officials that had a greater bearing on the result than a perceived gap in class.  The Boatmen players can be very proud of their performance and the club proud of the way it put on the game in awful weather conditions.

Team News: Dave Diaper made two changes from Tuesday’s Russell Cotes Cup win, with Stuart Green returning to the squad and PJ McLean selected in central defence.  Martin Buckland who made his debut in midweek retained a place on the bench. Josh Carey & Joe Smith were also amongst the subs. Dave Diaper also gave promising youngster, Ashton Goodger, a taste of a big matchday, bringing him in to warm up with the players.   Torquay, who at kick off, topped the National League with a strong desire to gain promotion back into the football league, had prepared for the game by spending the morning at a local hotel and put out a strong side.

Sholing had an opportunity to make a dream start when a free kick was played long into the penalty area, which fell kindly to Stuart Green with his back to goal. However his low shot on the turn was blocked for a corner that ultimately came to nothing.

Following an opening ten minutes dominated by long balls into the swirling winds, play seemed to open up and Sholing sought to take advantage, especially in the channels behind a quite static defence. Dan Mason was in a race with keeper Shaun MacDonald, with Dan just getting to the ball before him, but his poked effort was blocked by the frame of MacDonald with it bouncing back off D-Dan and behind.  Then down the right channel, Stuart Green was played through and his attempted clip past the keeper was smothered away.  On 20 minutes after a good buildup involving Wagstaffe & Targett, Claudio Herbert’s 18 yard effort was deflected for a corner.

It took until the 23rd minute for Torquay to have a shot. Firstly an inswinging free-kick was met with a flicked effort by Josh Umerah before Ben Whitfield’s curled shot flew high and wide with the goal gaping. Moments later Torquay captain Asha Hall headed wide in a crowded penalty area.

After an exciting end-to-end thirty minutes where Sholing were arguably the better side, play seemed to become quite scrappy amidst heavy rain and increasingly gusty winds at the Mackoy Stadium. Torquay were having more of the possession, but without hurting Sholing's hard working defence. The game looked set to be a stalemate at half time, but that changed on 43 minutes.

Adam Randell forced a good stop from Ryan Gosney, with Ben Wynter then handling in the follow up as he ran into the right side of the box where under a challenge that didn't appear to make much, if any, contact, he went down.  The referee firstly appeared to let play continue, but his linesman had his flag across his chest and Mr Quelch decided to award the spot kick. Despite Gosney diving the right way, the penalty was very firmly hit high into the net by Asha Hall as the Sholing players continued their protests with the officials at half time. HT: 0-1

Torquay started the better in the second half, but a Asha Hall pea-roller didn’t force Ryan Gosney into a save. Stuart Green was played in behind, but as he was closed down, Greener opted with trying to find Dan Mason than continue his run and Torquay mopped up the danger.  Minutes later Kyle Cameron was allowed space on the right and advanced forward to let fly with a great curling effort that rattled the far post on 55 minutes.

As the game passed the hour mark Sholing continued to find space and worked themselves into decent positions, but were perhaps a little ‘shot shy’ at times. Once again, Stu Green was able to burst beyond the back-line, but appeared to have his shirt tugged as he was in the motion of shooting, with his scuffed effort rolling harmlessly to the keeper.

Torquay made two substitutions in Aaron Nemane and Danny Wright, to give them fresh legs against a tiring Boatmen.  Buckland had just come on for Sholing when on 71 minutes, some careless play presented the visitors with a killer second goal.  From a Sholing corner which was cleared, Buckland collected the ball on the half way line and his knock back to Gosney, who was out of his area, was underhit, causing Gos to try to turn past Josh Umerah, who robbed him and lobbed the ball into the empty net from 35 yards.  The goal was met with complete eerie silence, but there was plenty of noise down the other end a minute later.

Suddenly faced with a two-goal deficit and ever-worsening weather conditions, it would have been easy for Sholing to crumble against a side from three divisions above them. But to their immense credit, they continued to attack and Stuart Green almost got a reply as his shot was well saved by the Torquay keeper. The corner was met with a powerful header by Dan Mason and appeared to be blocked with the help of Asha Hall's arm on the line, but despite having an unobstructed view (see pic below), the referee gave nothing and his assistant who was keen to be involved in the first half, also did nothing.

Torquay had the bulk of possession in the final 10 minutes, but the expected superior fitness & sharpness wasn't really evident from the full time professionals as they wasted a couple of good chances with wayward finishing.  Sholing continued to throw everything forward, showing great heart and were once again denied a penalty when Claudio Herbert ran past a defender in the box, who brought him down in full flight.  Once again, the officials gave Sholing nothing.  Torquay got away with some time wasting in added time, a ball kicked 20 yards toward the corner flag by their defenders when it was a goal kick, didn't even merit a talking to by the officials.  

A great performance and lungbusting effort by the entire Sholing team didn't get the reward it deserved.  As good a team as Torquay clearly are, it didn't look like a 3 division gap between the teams today.  Boatmen matched the visitors, not only with application, but skill as well and can be very proud of today and this record breaking FA Cup run.    FT: 0-2

Many thanks to all the 400 fans who turned out in horrible weather and got behind the team so well.  Also huge thanks to all the Sholing volunteers for incredible dedication & hard work in the lead up to the game and on the day.

Dave Diaper said afterwards : "Proud of today’s performance against Torquay United. Still didn't get any reasoning from the Ref for their penalty, but nevertheless, great shift put in by the players. Good luck to Gary Johnson (who had a lot of praise for Sholing players & the club after the match) and Torquay in the next round"  - You can listen to Diapes being interviewed by Radio Solent Here

Byron Mason reflected on the game : "We were real good today and the 400 fans can vouch for that!  We conceded at poor times of the game, but we never give up and I expect nothing less of my boys and I’m I proud to be their skipper. We certainly matched them, well done boys. Special mention to Marv McLean, because he was 10/10 today.  His hard work and covering often goes unnoticed."

Next Game :  Sholing v Frome Town - Tuesday 7:30pm - Southern League

Photos courtesy of Ray Routledge (click an image to enlarge)