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The seagulls need wins now, before it’s too late

No one is more aware of the urgent need for Torquay United to win not just one, but two or three games as soon as possible than manager Gary Johnson, and Wealdstone at Plainmoor on Saturday (3pm) is an obvious opportunity to achieve that kind of streak, writes David Thomas.

That’s no disrespect to a Wealdstone side sitting in an unexpectedly impressive 10th, but time is running out, seven points down from safety with eleven games to go, and trips to relegation rivals Gateshead. and Play-Off contenders Boreham Wood are looming.

“We have to have a series of games together now, so don’t leave it until it’s too late,” Johnson said.

Consistency is something United have so far failed to achieve: 2023 wins over FC Halifax Town, Maidstone and Barnet buoyed Gulls fans, only to prove false dawns.

But consistency only comes with consistent selection, and injuries continue to undermine United’s hopes.

Top scorer Aaron Jarvis and Brett McGavin joined the shortlist ahead of Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat at Solihull Moors, which turned into an even more desperate night when other results came in.

“Right now, because of all the changes, we’re not consistent,” Johnson said.

A clean sheet or two would help (United have kept just five all season and three since August 13 Halifax A 1-0) – and a tougher mentality when scoring wouldn’t hurt either.

They have led or drawn against Dorking, Southend, Bromley and Solihull in recent weeks, losing every time. Enough talk.

Jarvis and McGavin, whose last-minute withdrawal in midweek prompted a first start for new loan signing Kevin Dawson in midfield, may need late fitness tests to determine their availability.

The FA Trophy quarter-final entered the league program on Saturday, but the two clubs outside the relegation zone, Yeovil Town and Dorking Wanderers, have tough games at Chesterfield and Notts County respectively.

So while it’s increasingly dangerous to predict any result in the National League these days apart from Wrexham’s, a United win could at least help undo some of the damage done on Tuesday.

Wealdstone’s position, five points out of the Play-Offs, is a laudable achievement for the Stuart Maynard-led west London club, based on a home record (W9 D4 L4) that includes seven wins from the last eight games.

Their top scorer remains Rhys Browne with seven goals, despite being sold to Woking in October.

But Maynard has gotten some spirited displays from a team that includes seasoned ex-Woking duo Jack Cook in defense and Max Kretzschmar in midfield.

Former Crawley striker Taryn Allarakhia, a former Gulls player, has been a good asset in attack and, after a spell of injury at Plainmoor, striker Corie Andrews has scored three goals in his last four games.

The referee on Saturday is Wolverhampton’s Greg Rollason.

United Under-18s continue their quest for a second successive SW Counties Youth League title away to BRS Coaching (Ringwood) on Saturday.

The Seagulls’ promotion-chasing Women are at home (Coach Road, Newton Abbot) to Royal Wootton Bassett in the SW Women’s League Premier Division on Sunday (2pm).


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