Seven Unbeaten But An Opportunity Missed
Vanarama National League:
Torquay United 0 – 0 FC Halifax Town
Torquay United stretched their unbeaten run to seven games with a goalless draw against FC Halifax Town at the Launa Windows Stadium on Tuesday night, although you have to feel that the Gulls missed a golden opportunity to climb out of the bottom four with a win writes SSD’s Matt Green.
United manager Kevin Nicholson kept the same starting line up from last Saturday’s drew against Aldershot. That meant a home debut for on loan ‘keeper Brendan Moore, with Toby Ajala remaining on the bench as Aman Verma continued in midfield.
The game was only a minute old when Josh Rees had a shot blocked from the edge of the area after Dan Butler had put in a dangerous free kick from his favoured left-hand side. United then continued to press in the opening five minutes and some close intricate play between Durrell Berry and Andre Wright led to Verma having a strike that went close to opening the scoring. Torquay’s Rees then managed to charge down a clearance from Halifax and the ball fell nicely to Wright who turned well on the edge of the box and pushed the ball in front of himself before getting his shot away. Two minutes later, Sam Johnson in the visitors’ goal rolled the ball out ready to take his kick but found Shaun Harrad who charged the clearance and saw the ball loop back over the ‘keeper but also, to his frustration, just over the bar too. Just before the half hour, Butler produced another delightful deep free kick from the right which found Wright’s head but his effort went back across the goal-line and managed to allude the incoming United players before going out for a goal kick. With five minutes to go in the half, both sides had half chances. First, Verma for United latched on to a loose ball and drove his effort from 25 yards over the bar before Jordan Burrow narrowly put his effort for Halifax just wide from inside the area. Torquay had the final attempt as Rees cut in from the left and curled his effort wide of the visitors’ upright.
The first chance of the second half also fell to the Gulls, Berry’s cross-field ball finding Wright who managed to control and lay off to Rees who, again from the edge of the area, tried his luck but, as with his other efforts, shot high over the visitors’ bar. On the hour, Nicholson decided to make a double substitution with Iffy Allen and Toby Ajala replacing Wright and Harrad respectively. The substitution also meant a change in formation, with Verma playing up front, Ajala just behind him and Allen wide on the right. In the 75th minute, Ajala picked up the ball on the left touchline and drove inside the area, but his right-footed strike was blocked by the defender before being cleared away to safety. Minutes later he also had a header that went harmlessly wide, after a cross from Berry down the right. With ten minutes to go, Halifax had their best chance of the match, when substitute Sam Walker fired a diagonal shot from just inside the box that had Moore in United’s goal getting down quickly and producing a fine save to keep the game goalless. With the fourth official showing four minutes of added time, United produced two late corners from Butler and then Danny Racchi which had Halifax worried as first the diving Verma saw his header deflected out for another corner and then Ajala flicked on for Verma again to try and break the deadlock. United continued to push and in the dying moments Verma and sub Sam Chaney linked well on the edge of the visitors area to put Courtney Richards in on goal; but the United midfielder couldn’t lift the ball over the advancing ‘keeper and the final opportunity for Torquay to take the points and move out of the relegation zone had gone for another game.
United’s next fixture sees them entertain Southport at the Launa Windows Stadium on Saturday afternoon, 3pm kick-off.
TUFC: Moore, Berry, MacDonald (Capt), Smith, Butler, Rees (Chaney 81), Racchi, Richards, Verma, Harrad (Ajala 60), Wright (Allen 60).
Subs Not Used: Fisher, Gerring.
TUFC Bookings: Richards.
Attendance: 1,664 ( 41 Away).
Referee: Mr C Hatzidakis.