MATCH PREVIEW: Torquay United vs Chippenham Town | National League South | Tuesday 15th August 2023
Sam Hart previews our NLS away game against recently relegated Torquay United.
The Bluebirds are back in action this Tuesday evening against recently relegated Torquay United following Chippenham’s strong 4-2 win over Havant & Waterlooville, where Jake Evans stole the show and netted two magnificent goals. Nat Williams bagged a goal from significant distance, and Craig Fasanmade hammered home the fourth and final goal. Chippenham have begun the season in strong fashion, winning both of their games. A 1-0 win against Aveley on opening day and the previously mentioned 4-2 win over Havant.
About the Opposition
Torquay United haven’t had the best of times in recent years, dropping from League Two to the National League South in the space of 10 years.
Torquay were relegated from League Two in the 2013/14 season and finished 24th. The Gulls failed to re-establish their League Two status and stayed in the National League up until the 2017/18 season where they were relegated to the National League South. However, the following season, Torquay returned to the National League after winning the National League South title in the 2018/19 season. Torquay maintained their stay in the National League and in the 2020/21 season were runners-up of the National League, losing to Hartlepool on penalties in the play-off final after last minute heroics as goalkeeper Lucas Covolan levelled the game in the 90+5 minute.
Last season, Torquay finished 21st, occupying the last relegation spot in the National League. The club were two points off safety and were relegated to the National League South.
Torquay haven’t had the best start to the new National League South season, failing to register a win in their first two games. They fell to a heavy 3-0 defeat to Worthing and a 2-2 draw against Dover on the opening day. Despite these results, the Gulls will be hungry to grab their first win of the season against Chippenham on Tuesday evening.
Torquay were founded in 1899 and play at Plainmoor and have done since 1921. It holds a capacity of 6,200 with 3,092 being seated.
Current manager Gary Johnson has been with the club since 2018. He took Torquay back up to the National League and on the brink of a League Two return. Following the clubs’ relegation to the National League South, he decided to stick around and help re-establish the club as a force to be reckoned with. He has had a number of managerial stints with clubs In higher divisions, most notably Bristol City and won promotion to the Championship with Yeovil Town.
One to watch – Asa Hall
Asa Hall has been with the club since 2018, and has had success with the club. He lifted the National League South trophy in the 2018/19 season.
Hall is a very experienced midfielder and is a very valuable asset to the club. He has made over 300 career appearances for clubs such as, newly promoted Premier League team, Luton Town, as well as Oxford United and Cheltenham Town.
Asa Hall was a part of the squad that secured Cheltenham Town EFL status once again under Gary Johnson, and he reunited with his former gaffer at Torquay.
Hall adds many goal contributions to the Gulls. He is an influential figure at Torquay and was recognised by being named in the National League South Team of the Season in their 2018/19 league winning season.
Hall has scored 1 of Torquay 2 goals this season, with Dover’s Chervon McLean netting an own goal on opening day. Hall will cause the Bluebirds problems, and Gary Horgan will need to find a way to lock him off.
Chippenham fans will recognise centre back Ollie Tomlinson, who joined the Bluebirds on loan for the second half of last season and played a key role in the heart of defence, helping Chippenham go on an unbeaten run.
If you can’t make the game tomorrow evening, you can follow along with Jamie Oleszynski and Matt Chappell on BlueArmy TV & Radio.