Torquay United: Who dares, wins
- Credit: James Fearn/PPAUK
Torquay United are doing their best to prove that it's better if goals come from all directions rather than one, and that formula will be put to another major test in front of BT Sport cameras when Play-Off chasers Bromley come to Plainmoor on Saturday (5.20pm).
The National League leaders are the joint top scorers in the division with 64 goals, yet they don't boast one player in the top-15 marksmen, while Bromley's Michael Cheek comfortably leads the way.
Cheek, who previously plied his trade at Chelmsford, Braintree, Dagenham and Ebbsfleet, has hit 22 goals in 39 games. None of his team-mates come close.
Contrast that with the Gulls - in all competitions Asa Hall (13), Danny Wright (10), Connor Lemonheigh-Evans (9) and Billy Waters (8) have scored 40 between them, backed up by the likes of Ben Whitfield (5), Jake Andrews (4) and Scott Boden (4).
They say 'It's The Hope That Kills' and, with United four points clear with four games to go, the precious prize is so close that Gulls supporters can hardly dare talk about it.
Manager Gary Johnson has been here, done it and pulled on the T-shirt more times than he cares to remember, and if anyone knows how to handle the situation, he does.
The fans can bite their nails down to the quick, but Johnson says: "You've got to look forward to being in the race when there's only four or five games of the season left.
- 1 Hartlepool United 1 Torquay United 1 (Hartlepool win 5-4 on penalties after extra-time)
- 2 Gulls inconsolable after defeat
- 3 Striker Scott not playing in play-off final - for a very good reason
- 4 Torbay's 'hidden gem' going from strength to strength - perhaps new restaurant will 'hammer' home that message?
- 5 Torquay United penalty order...just in case
- 6 Concentration the key for Torquay United
- 7 Tributes paid to village character Leebo who will be missed by many - but not perhaps some marauding football fans!
- 8 Tributes to our Mike - a true Torquinian and family man
- 9 Congratulations from Clarke
- 10 So much at stake for Torquay United
"You've got to stay focussed and enjoy the fact that you're in it.
"It will be a very good game against Bromley - they are playing well, they deserve to be where they are at the moment and they've got a lot of energy.
"First and foremost, we have to match that.
"At this stage of the season, you have to be brave and go for wins, as we have done.
"What's the old saying - 'Who Dares, Wins'?"
On-loan Scott Boden could not play against his parent club when United, who scored one of their 'Gary-Time' winners (Wright pen 90mins 2-1) at Bromley in October, won for the eighth time in nine games at Chesterfield (2-0) on Monday.
But Boden was playing well until then and Johnson may turn again to his know-how and keep Benji Kimpioka's pace and the muscular threat of Josh Umerah as weapons off the bench.
As usual, Johnson has been giving nothing away on the injury front, but a fitness-test may determine whether defender Joe Lewis is fit to return to the squad.
Kyle Cameron (hamstring) and Ben Whitfield (knee) are next in the line of hopeful returnees.
Changing managers mid-season doesn't always work - ask Notts County fans - but it's certainly sparked a turnaround at two promotion-chasing clubs, Stockport County and Bromley.
County's decision to replace Jim Gannon with Simon Rusk has worked out well so far, and Bromley hardly looked like fulfilling former boss Neil Smith's prediction that they would make the Play-Offs until he made way for Andy Woodman.
The former Exeter City and Northampton Town goalie, who left a job as Head of Goalkeeping at Arsenal to take over at Hayes Lane, has led Bromley to five wins, two draws and one defeat in eight games.
After losing to Chesterfield, they ended Hartlepool's 16-match unbeaten run (1-0) last weekend, with a goal from ex-Gillingham youngster Jude Arthurs.
While Cheek is the main goal threat, he is aided by a couple of experienced targetmen in James Alabi (Chester) and ex-Port Vale, Cambridge and Eastleigh centre-forward Ben Williamson, 32.
Bromley are in form and have little or nothing to lose - enough said…
Stockport (3rd) do not play on Saturday - it's their 'Dover' day - but Sutton (2nd) are home to Weymouth and Hartlepool (4th) entertain Maidenhead.
Torquay (P38/Pts76) sit out on Tuesday night, when Sutton (37/72) host Woking and Stockport (38/71) are at home to Dagenham & Redbridge.
You do the maths. Oh sorry, you've already done them - over and over again…!