Torquay United 1 v 3 Lincoln City
Torquay United remain deep in a relegation battle within the National League Conference, after a 3-1 home defeat to Lincoln City at the Launa Windows Stadium this afternoon, writes SSD’s Matt Green.
Lincoln City’s goals came by the way of central defender Luke Waterfall (two) and centre-forward Liam Hearn, before Torquay got their consolation from Dan Butler.
The opening quarter of the game was an even affair, with the unmarked Butler having United’s first effort of the game after eight minutes, but his left-footed strike went wide from the edge of the area after some persistent play from Shepherd Murombedzi on the right-hand side of Torquay’s midfield.
If United had taken the lead through Butler, the next half hour of football might have been different but that missed chance seemed to lift the away side into action and it wasn’t long before Torquay fell behind:
A corner from Greg Tempest, in the 16th minute, found the head of the unmarked Waterfall from six yards and it was 1-0 to the visitors.
Three minutes later, a good save from Dan Lavercombe prevented the visitors going two up, when Jack Muldoon’s shot from the right side of the area was parried out and the follow-up by Tempest went high and wide of United’s goal.
Lincoln stretched their lead after 25 minutes when Matt Rhead flicked a long ball from the back on to the lively Liam Hearn who ran between the central pairing of United’s back four, before sliding the ball passed the onrushing Lavercombe and into the empty net.
Hearn almost got his second in the 35th minute but his low right-footed shot hit United’s far post and came back out to safety, before being cleared upfield. Rhead was again the man playing the through-ball from an unmarked position.
United had a half-chance in the 37th minute, following a corner on the right from Butler, but Ben Girring’s diving header went well wide of Lincoln’s goal.
The visitors’ number ten was then caught offside two minutes later and his header from close range was ruled out.
Torquay’s player manager Kevin Nicholson tried his luck from 30 yards with Farman in the visitors’ goal spilling the effort out for a corner in the 40th minute.
Lincoln’s influential Rhead then saw a 35-yard dipping strike come back off the bar in stoppage time at the end of a first half in which the visitors could have been four or five up.
United came out for the second half with the determination to get back into the game and Butler again tried his luck in the 59th minute, from outside the area, but, as in the first half, his effort didn’t really trouble Farman.
A minute later, Lincoln had a corner from their left side that was eventually scrambled away by Torquay from inside their own six yard box.
Murombedzi (65) and MacDonald (68), both then had half-chances to get the Gulls back into the game before Howe, with a close range header, nearly gave the Imps a third.
However, Lincoln didn’t have to wait long for their third when a mix up between Lavercombe and Gerring presented Waterfall with a simple tap into the empty net.
But United never stopped and were rewarded in the 75th minute when Butler pulled a goal back with a left-footed strike after a neat through-ball from Heslop.
Gerring and Nicholson then went close in the dying minutes but neither were able to set up a grandstand finish for the 1,752 supporters who braved the cold weather.
United’s next fixture sees them travel to promotion-chasing Braintree Town in a week’s time, with the Gulls lying 22nd, four points from safety.
Torquay United: Lavercombe, Berry, MacDonald (Capt), Gerring, Nicholson, Murombedzi, Richards, Heslop, Butler, Briscoe (Fairhurst 63), Campion (Wright 55).
Subs Not Used: Spiess, Carmichael, Prynn.
Bookings: MacDonald (42), Richards (73).
Referee: Mr D Eaton.