Apollo (1) 1 : 0 (0) ROVERS
And so the unbeaten league record fell at The Acorn Centre, Torquay, to a spirited Apollo side, writes Nick Miles.
The pitch is memorable for the significant slope touchline to touchline and it’s not especially big, either. Although the sun had been out, the surface was still very slippery for both sides as the game got under way with the whites defending the Sports Centre End.
The early exchanges were promising for the visitors but the forwards were well marshalled and chances few and far between. Nick Merriam had a half-chance and from 3 corners, Apollo’s determined defence proved solid.
With 15′ of the half left, the hosts began to put Willand under pressure, as the visitors passing game went awry in the mud.
Time and again, Apollo’s rearguard launched a relentless attack on the Willand defence and it was effective. Jez Cross was faultless in the Willand goal today but he had no chance from a clean strike from 20 yards following a corner – the ball going beyond his right arm. 0-1.
Minutes later, with Willand in disarray, Apollo hit the post when well placed and the visitors would have to reorganise at the break [which came earlier than everyone expected].
Into the second period and Willand had started well. Apollo were quick on the counter-attack and hit the post again from a header early on but that was as near as they came to adding to their tally.
Cas Aplin and Oli Crimmins came on with 30′ to go, as Willand went on the search for an equaliser. Chances came and went and in the Apollo goal, there were some heroics but otherwise his rearguard blocked and harried effectively. Apollo were still dangerous on the fast break but it was their strength and defence which got them all 3 points today.
Well played to Reece Kingdom and Aplin and Ash Matthews in a makeshift defence.
Questions about a referee who only played 40′ in each half today – his first was much better than his second today.