Welcome to the second part of my 2022/2023 season review, my 4th season at Torquay United and our first back in the EFL League One.
EFL LEAGUE ONE 2022-2023
We ended the year in 2nd place in the table and started the new year with a 1-0 win at Tranmere Rovers thanks to a Kalvin Kalala goal just after the break. Louie Barry continued his goalscoring run with a second half strike to gain us a point at Luton Town after a 1-1 draw. A Louie Barry hat-trick gave us a 3-1 win against Bolton Wanderers in their own back garden.
We then lost at Plainmoor when Fleetwood Town beat us 2-1 with Jake Andrews getting our consolation goal. We bounced back with back to back wins against Peterborough 2-0 with Kalvin Kalala and Virgil Gomis on the scoresheet and then a 1-0 win against Barnsley thanks to a Yassine En-Nayeh strike.
We rounded the month off with a 1-1 draw at Plainmoor against Oxford United after Jake Andrews gave us a first half lead. We have not done bad after 5 away games from 7 in the month.
We started the month off with a 1-1 draw at Plainmoor against Accrington Stanley when a Louie Barry goal gave us a share of the spoils. A 0-0 draw at Blackpool followed before a solid 4-1 win against playoff chasing Walsall in a game that saw both Kalvin Kalala and Louie Barry grab a brace.
Both Kalvin Kalala and Louie Barry (2) were joined on the scoresheet by Connor Lemonheigh-Evans when we beat Wigan Athletic 4-2 ahead of our top of the table clash and derby against Plymouth which ended in a goaless draw in front of a capacity crowd of 6,200 at Plainmoor to round the month off on a high.
We hit the ground running with a comprehensive 3-0 win against a struggling Doncaster Rovers with Louie Barry, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Gary Gardner all on target. A trip to the New Den resulted in a 3-1 defeat against a rampant Millwall side who thoroughly deserved their win with our only highlight of the game being a late goal from our young Polish Forward Olaf Koszela.
We bounced back from the Millwall defeat with a 2-1 win at Leyton Orient after Kalvin Kalala and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans hit the back of the net in the second half after trailing 1-0 at the break.
We ended the month an humdinger of a game against Wycombe Wanderers resulting in a 3-3 draw that saw Louie Barry grab himself another hat-trick all scored in the first half.
The Aston Villa loanee Louie Barry has hit the back of the net 28 times so far this season and unfortunately for us he will be joining Aberdeen on a permanent basis at the end of the season.
We go in to the final month of the season with a chance of automatic promotion in a tight race for the top two spots with 5 clubs all in with a chance.
Unfortunately we get the month off to a bad start by losing 2-1 at playoff chasing Rochdale that saw winger Jeremy Ngakia get our consolation goal.
We then beat bottom club Gillingham 5-0 at Plainmoor with Louie Barry getting his 30th and 31st goals of the season and Gary Gardner and Virgil Gomis chipping in with a goal each before an own goal rounded the game off.
Wingers Kalvin Kalala and Jeremy Ngakia are both on target in a 2-1 win against Rotherham that takes us to the top of the table with 3 games to go.
A 3-1 defeat against Bristol Rovers gives top spot to Plymouth after a disappointing performance from the lads who are looking jaded at the wrong time of the season which is compounded by a number of injuries. Louie Barry is on target again for us.
A capacity crowd at Plainmoor for our penultimate League game of the season against promotion chasing Portsmouth are left feeling what might have been after we miss an host of chances in the first half which come back to haunt us in the second half when we end up losing 3-1 to a jubilant Pompey who take their chances after we throw away a 1-0 lead after Ethan Galbraith scores on his return from injury.
Final day drama again…….!!!!!!
We went in to the final game of the season with an outside chance of still getting automatic promotion if we can get all three points against Shrewsbury and results elsewhere go our way however Louie Barry’s 32nd goal of the season is only good enough for a 1-1 draw that means we finish the season in 3rd place just 2 points behind Barnsley who promoted alongside Champions Plymouth meaning that we are in the playoffs yet again.
EFL LEAGUE FINAL TABLE
EFL League One Playoff Semi Final
The first leg of the Playoff Semi Final against Rotherham turned out to be a bad day for us after our hosts started the game on fire racing in to a 3-0 lead after just 34 minutes. All Rotherham’s goals came from set pieces that we failed to defend getting punished and with all the work to do but Louie Barry’s late consolation goal gave us a glimmer of hope to take in to the 2nd leg trailing 3-1.
The 2nd leg at Plainmoor got off to the worst possible start after we conceded an 11th minute penalty which Rotherham dispatched to give us a mountain to climb which in all fairness despite having 63% possession Rotherham held firm and good value for their 1-0 win and 4-1 aggregate victory.
Season By Season Goals
Louie Barry became the clubs season goals record holder during my time at the club with 33 goals in all competitions beating Yassine En-Nayeh’s 25 goals in the 20/21 season.
Another season comes to an end and although it ended in disappointment we have without doubt over achieved finishing in 3rd place after we were predicted to finish 24th. The loan of Aston Villa youngster Louie Barry was successful after the 19 year old scored 33 goals in all competitions. Barry is joining Aberdeen after signing a contract with the Scottish club. Our other loan signings Anderson and Roberts played a peripheral role during the season and will return to their clubs in the summer. Goalkeeper Myles Roberts may return back to us if Watford agree to another loan. Gary Gardner who joined us last summer was voted fans player of the year but due to injury announced his retirement. We have a large number of players who are out of contract this summer but I am hoping to negotiate new deals for the majority in the hope that I can keep the squad together in keeping with continuity. Financially we have £700,000 in the bank the most since taking on the job 4 years ago. The board have yet to set the initial budgets ahead of the new season but again I can guarantee that we will continue to not spend a penny in the transfer window preferring to sign players out of contract and use the loan market to fill in the blanks.
Season 5 will see us compete again in the EFL League One and hopefully we can continue to be competitive whilst keeping the club financially sound. My next blog post will cover our summer activity and take us through the first half of the 5th season in this save.