Torrevieja top the table! UD Altea 0 – 3 FC Torrevieja

WHEN YOU mention top of the table, most football supporters probably think of Manchester United, Rangers or if Barcelona have the edge over Real Madrid in the title race.Mention it on the Southern Costa Blanca and the team that springs to mind this season is FC Torrevieja, who top their Division on goal average after six of their 42 games played.

It’s heady territory and for most, unknown ground for most associated with the club, who have not known this position since their days back in the Preferente! The Torry Army travelling supporters left town at high noon to make a day of it in Altea, ahead of the 1800-hrs shoot out with the opposition.

Their coach load of fans were in high spirits by time of the first whistle, fuelled by a good lunch, several refreshing libations and the sea air. Not impressed by the known performance of Altea this season, one and all were predicting a three nil Torry victory to take them top of the table and the players did not disappoint. How difficult is this predicting lark!

Manager Chema left out centre forward Petu, opting for the fluid twin strike force of Carrasco and Juande and yet again proved what a master of tactics and formation he is, with both front men scoring the goals.

Nico and Corella returned to the starting line up, with Burguillos being the other player relegated to the bench from the previous Sunday’s winning first eleven. One of the first things fans noticed at kick off was the size of Altea’s players, with virtually every one of their team six foot plus!

Needless to say, they relied on long balls up to their tall striker and specialised in long throws to supplement an otherwise one dimensional side to their play.

The first half was somewhat scrappy though Corella indicated the early Torry intention with a rasping long-range effort, which was tipped over the bar for a corner. Manu was in the thick of things as usual and needed extended treatment on the sidelines after another brave header from a corner for which he received a bang on the head.

He returned wearing a white skullcap bandage, so was easily recognisable by the opposition who dished out more punishment.

Nico was showing flair on the other flank and he and Manu interchanged position regularly, confusing and bemusing their markers in equal measure.

However, an almighty scramble in the Torry box on 19 minutes gave Torry fans a few anxious moments before it was hiked clear. A further snap shot by the home side on 29 minutes demonstrated that Torry needed to be serious about this match and not assume that the points were in the bag.

As usual, Carrasco was at the heart of everything and on 34 minutes the speedy Manu raced to the bye-line and picked out the indomitable play maker, who swivelled to face goal and knock the ball into the net with his left foot. One nil to Torry and the promise of more to come.

Deigo Meijide then received a very harsh caution after he and his opponent both went for a knee high ball, which Diego won well, but with his opponent floundering on the ground, it was deemed dangerous play.

At the other end Manu was running riot, once more intercepting a pass and making a beeline for the goal line. He looked up and tried to pick out Juande on the far post, only for the keeper to snatch it at the last moment.

Just on the edge of half time the home fans were screaming for a free kick when the hosts chipped in a ball from a 25 yard free kick which caused mayhem in the Torry defence, No one seemed able to clear ranks and after several swipes it was unintentionally knocked back into the grasp of  Méndez with Altea demanding a free kick on the six yard line for what they believed to be a deliberate pass back to the keeper. It was not to be and Torry lead 1-0 at the interval.

Second to Torry in the league, Catarroja’s manager, John Clarkson was at the game, making notes on two of the sides his club will meet in the forthcoming months and he too opined that Torry would likely win 3-0. His assessment was spot on and this astute judge of talent mentioned that he was surprised to see young Vicente Boix not in the starting line up and with some, but not all of his tongue in his cheek, passed a message to his acting-President father that should he want his son to figure in a team that will win the championship, then he would be interested in having him at Catarroja!

Only five minutes had elapsed of the second half when Carrasco notched his and Torry’s second. He was picked out with a lovely long ball from Diego Meijide and with consummate confidence he allowed the defender to over reach for the ball, then collect it on his cheat a pace behind him.

As the keeper advanced, Carrasco deftly lobbed it over his head and into the empty net. Torry should have added to their tally eight minutes later when Juande toyed with two opponents, before slipping it in to Nico, who turned nicely to make space for his shot but dragged it wide.

Altea threatened in fits and bursts, but the workmanlike Torry rearguard always seemed to have their measure and often their attacks relied on long balls to chase or long throw ins to contest with their superior aerial power. Manu had a snap shot when he was all on his own up front with no support, then Muñoz rose above the crowd to head just over from a corner before the goal of the match.

Despite lacking in inches, Carrasco timed his jump perfectly and headed a long ball through to the advancing Juande who bore down on goal with just the keeper to beat. By the time he was ready to shoot, three burly defenders had caught up with him and blocked his path. He twisted, he feinted to go inside, then dashed wide and slid the ball across the frantic home keeper and into the net.

Just when it looked like he had wasted a great chance, he plucked it out of the ashes and created a masterpiece.

The job now done, Chema brought on Petu for Juande and Vicente Boix for Jorge, but a fourth goal begged to be recorded on 78 minutes after Prior had attempted a long range effort which had been tipped over the bar for another corner.

From this delivery the ball fell to Manu a mere two yards from goal, but as he stretched for it, he got right underneath it and blasted it over the bar. What a pity, as the courageous bandaged Manu deserved a goal for his tireless efforts.

Torry now head the table on goal difference with only Catarroja for company on 16 points – five wins and a draw from their opening sixleague matches, scoring 12 and conceding just 2.

This week, on Wednesday 21 September they played 7th placed La Nucia at the Vicente Garcia and on Sunday they head to Novelda.

These two matches will be a mighty test for the Salineros, as La Nucia and Novelda both contested the play off matches last term, and these games promise to be shape the hopes and dreams for promotion this term for Torry.

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