Late Blow for Torquay as Bennett Earns Point for Barrow
Torquay United were left frustrated at Plainmoor on Saturday afternoon, after conceding a late equaliser to Barrow. Brett Williams opened the scoring for United in the 39th minute before substitute Richard Bennett struck with only a minute of normal time remaining. writes SSD’s Matt Green.
United boss Kevin Nicholson made one change in his starting eleven with Sam Chaney retaining his place following his man-of-the-match performance in the second half of Tuesday night’s win against Bromley, Damon Lathrope the man dropping to the bench.
United clearly had the better of the first quarter of the match, Dan Sparkes producing a great save from Joel Dixon in the visitors’ goal direct from a free-kick just outside of the area. A minute later Sparkes became provider for Nathan Blissett at the far post but the forward could not get good enough contact to trouble Dixon once more. A long throw by Brendan Moore, on seven minutes, released Chaney on the right and the youngster cut in and shot left-footed but again the Barrow defence managed to get a block in and the follow-up from Young sailed over the bar. Brett Williams created his own chance just after ten minutes, beating his man well on the by-line before cutting inside and striking right-footed. Barrow’s plan looked to be to try and slow the play down at every opportunity and frustrate the Gulls’ high-tempo approach. In any case, the visitors created little other than a couple of half chances by strikers Byron Harrison and Ross Hannah. United’s deserved opening goal came six minutes before the break when Williams picked the ball up just outside the area and drove into the Barrow box before sliding the ball past the last defender and coolly finishing into the bottom right hand corner.
Neither side made any changes at the break but Barrow manager Paul Cox’s team talk seemed to have the desired effect, with the visitors clearly playing with more determination and presence at the start of the second half, Luke Young having to make two blocks in quick succession to deny Hannah and Paul Turnbull. Sparkes should have increased Torquay’s advantage just after the hour though. Williams robbed defender Euan Murray wide on the left and found Sparkes unmarked in the centre of the area but the United man could not lift the ball over the diving ‘keeper. Soon after, Sean McGinty (64), Nathan Blissett (66) and Chaney (67), all had opportunities but none of the United players could find that final finish. Bennett almost made Torquay pay for not taking their chances after a poor challenge by McGinty allowed the forward to find his way towards goal but, from a tight angle, Moore saved well. Nicholson was then forced into a change in the 74th minute, when Skipper Courtney Richards went down unchallenged, with what looked like a hamstring injury, Damon Lathrope replacing him in the heart of the Gulls midfield.
Winger Andy Haworth’s corner, with seven minutes remaining, saw Moore have to punch clear under immense pressure inside his own six-yard box as Barrow pressed for their equaliser. And with only a minute to go, the failure to take their chances cost United when Bennett’s strike from just inside the area deflected off the boot of Gerring and proceeded to loop over Moore and into the empty net.
Torquay’s squad will have to get over the disappointment of only taking a point from a fixture where they should have claimed all three. However, their performance was another improvement and Nicholson can be pleased with this fact. The Gulls now go on their travels with away fixtures against Sutton United on Tuesday night and then North Ferriby United next Saturday.
TUFC: Moore, Verma, Gerring, McGinty, Rowe-Turner, Chaney (Gallifuoco 86), Richards (capt) (Lathrope 74), Young, Sparkes, Williams (Reid 61), Blissett. Subs Not Used: Scrivens, Nicholson.
TUFC Bookings: Gerring.
Bromley: Dixon, Beeley, Diarra, Murray, Wilmer-Anderton, Williams, Turnbull (Meikle 60), Hughes, Livesey, Harvey, Harrison (Haworth 75), Hannah (Bennett 63). Subs Not Used: Parry, Coughlin.
Bromley Bookings: Turnbull, Bealey.
Attendance: 2,207 (68 away).
Referee: Mr D. Rock.