Nothing Iffy About Gulls as Allen Seals Win in Welling Six-Pointer
Vanorama National League:
Torquay United 2 – 0 Welling United
Torquay United returned to the Launa Windows Stadium on Tuesday night to face fellow relegation threatened Welling United in a massive six-pointer writes SSD’s Matt Green.
United’s manager Kevin Nicholson kept the same starting eleven that had got the Gulls three vital points away at Boreham Wood on Saturday afternoon. And Nicholson’s faith was fully rewarded, with his side claiming all the points in a 2 – 0 victory in front of 1,341 loyal supporters. Nathan Smith and substitute Iffy Allen grabbed the goals, both in the second half.
Torquay started brightly and had an early shot inside the first five minutes when Josh Rees shot low to the Welling keeper Marek Rodak’s left; but the keeper got down well to save the effort. Welling then had to make a change moments later, Kevin Lokko replacing the injured Michael Chambers after he suffered what seemed to be a rib injury. Courtney Richards gave a needless free kick away on six minutes and United were lucky to escape as Noah Chessman’s left-footed effort, went just over Dan Lavercombe’s bar. Nathan Smith could and should have given Torquay the lead on 11 minutes, but an excellent one-handed save from the visitors’ ‘keeper, denied the Gulls centre-back from inside the six yard box, after Lokko’s poor clearance had given the Gulls a corner which Dan Butler swung in well from the right. A minute later, Toby Ajala tried his luck from a tight angle, Rodak saving well, before the same player shot again seconds later – this time his effort flying well over the bar from outside the area. Welling’s Nortel Nortey had a fabulous effort on 33 minutes, from all of 35 yards, but his right-foot screamer struck the bar with Lavercombe stranded. With three minutes of the first half remaining, and following good work by Durrell Berry, who cut the ball back from the byline, Shaun Harrad spun well from eight yards out but his left-footed shot was blocked well by Ian Gayle,
The second half was only minutes old when Torquay skipper Angus MacDonald picked up a yellow card for a foul, which looked more like a fair challenge to most people inside the stadium. Ajala had the first strike of the half on 50 minutes, when he shot low towards the visitors near post from close range; the effort was well saved and the follow up from the same player was deflected out for a Gulls corner. Then, in the 61st minute, the breakthrough came for Torquay with Smith heading straight at Rodak but the power seeming to take the ‘keeper over the goal line as he made the save. The referee signalled that the ball had indeed crossed the line and awarded the goal for the home side. Torquay then continued to press the visitors back and were rewarded ten minutes later when Butler saw his cross sliced clear but only to substitute Iffy Allen who kept his composure to side-foot the ball home at the far post into an empty net. It was a vital second goal for the Gulls and Nathan Blissett should have made it three but his unmarked header went well wide after another delightful free kick from Butler. Soon after, Allen again went close after a good through ball from Richards.
With other results also going Torquay’s way on Tuesday night, the Gulls are now seven points from safety, and with games in hand over their rivals. So the question remains: is the great escape really on? Can the Gulls get themselves out of this perilous situation? We all hope they can.
Torquay’s next fixture sees them travel to Bognor Regis Town in the FA Trophy, on Saturday, before they face Macclesfield Town away next Tuesday night. The Gulls’ next home fixture is against Kidderminster Harriers, currently bottom, on Saturday 5th March, 3pm kick-off.
TUFC: Lavercombe, Berry, MacDonald (Capt), Smith, Butler, Rees, Racchi, Richards, Ajala (Allen 59), Harrad (Verma 82), Blissett (Chaney 90+1).
Subs Not Used: Corderoy, Gerring.
TUFC Bookings: MacDonald, Harrad, Racchi.
Attendance: 1,341 (21 Away).
Referee: Mr C Hicks.