Things could not have gone much better on Tuesday night when Torquay United’s game against Solihull Moors was postponed – as the club’s season becomes a bit stop-start with a game at FC Halifax Town today, but then no fixture next weekend because their opponents Dagenham & Redbridge are still in the FA Cup.
Covid-19 struck the Solihull squad last week and National League leaders Torquay knew, even before their 1-1 draw against Boreham Wood at Plainmoor on Saturday, that they would be watching from the sidelines as the chasing pack played for points on Tuesday.
Wealdstone could have reached the same points as Torquay, while Sutton United and Maidenhead United could also have made up some ground – but as it turned out, none of those teams could win and the Gulls are now three points ahead of all of them.
Wealdstone were beaten 2-0 by Eastleigh, while Sutton drew 1-1 at Dagenham, and Maidenhead against Aldershot was goalless. Torquay’s next game after this weekend will be on Tuesday, December 1 – at Wealdstone.
Talking after the Boreham Wood game Johnson said it was frustrating that Torquay wouldn’t be playing – but he completely understood why – and was hoping that coronavirus postponements don’t affect the team’s season too much.
He said: “Some teams are two or three games behind because of it, which is why this [the Boreham Wood game] was a good opportunity – but I suppose we got one point further ahead on everyone other than Sutton, who got a result.
“You have just got to keep going and hope you are lucky enough to not have to play the teams that have got a problem at the time – indeed, if we ever get a problem. But we are trying to be very, very vigilant.”
Halifax are 18th in the table with one win from seven games, but Johnson won’t be reading anything into that. Boreham Wood had only won two games before coming to Plainmoor last week – but they were much better than that.
Halifax do have some problems up front where injuries and an attempt to loan a striker which was scuppered by Covid has left the manager Pete Wild frustrated.
He told the Halifax Courier this week: “It’s not been a great week for us. Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong.
“There’s been a lot of uncontrollables, but that’s football, that’s life. We’ve just got to get on with it. We’re doing things well, we’re doing things right, and things will change.”
Torquay also have a few injury doubts, though if Shaun MacDonald has to play in goal instead of Lucas Covolan again, that won’t be a problem. Both goalkeepers could stake a claim of the No 1 shirt, but until Covolan slipped and hurt his back in training last week, he was the first choice.
Armani Little needs a scan on a pelvic injury after not being on the bench for the Boreham Wood game.
But, as long as there are no more injuries, the starting IX is only likely to have one change with Adam Randell suspended for one game after two yellow cards saw him sent off last Saturday. This may see a return to the starting line up for Jake Andrews.