Torquay United 2 v 1 Halifax
On a Wet and Windy Tuesday night at the Launa Windows Stadium, Torquay United beat Halifax 2-1,with first half goals from Ryan Bowman and Duane Ofori-Acheampong.
United manager Chris Hargreaves was forced into changes from the Barnet fixture at the weekend, with Angus MacDonald coming in for the suspended Aaron Downes and James McQuilkin replacing the late injury to Durrell Berry. Hargreaves also decided to play an extra forward with Ofori-Acheampong coming in for Jordan Chapell, moving Louis Briscoe out to the right hand side.
With Torquay playing into the wind during the first half, Halifax had the better of the early exchanges with Adam Smith and Ross Dyer going close in the opening quarter of the match but both efforts where blocked by MacDonald and Young respectively and United survived.
Hargreaves men then grow into the game and got used to the conditions and just before the half hour, Toby Ajala cut in from the right flank and tried to curl his effort from 20 yards but it was just too high. A minute later Courtny Richards tried his luck from distance only to find the referee block his strike. United’s captain then found his range but the Halifax keeper saved well from Young’s attempt.
The Gulls then took the lead on 36 minutes when top scorer Ryan Bowman held off his marker just inside the box before driving a fine shoot beyond Glennon in the Halifax goal. The move started just inside the halifax half with a good flick from Levi Ives onto Young, who in turn managed to slide a great ball into Ajala. The United youngster then pushed the ball onto Bowman who’s finish was clinical.
Two minutes later Smith again went close for the visitors but Martin Rice was equal to the attempt and saved low at the feet of the Halifax player.
Torquay then found themselves two up, seven minutes later when Bowman provided a cross for Ofori-Acheampong to side foot the ball into the net from the penalty spot. It was a great United move in tough first half conditions, with McQuilkin sending a long ball down the line for Bowman to chase, with the forward showing great determination to battle and win the ball on the by-line before finding his strike partner.
Halifax again created a half chance just on the stroke of half time with Boden shooting right footed after a long clearance from the visitors keeper.
Neil Aspin decided to change his personnel at the start of the second half, bring on James Bolton and Jamie Jackson. Jackson was very lively from the start of the half setting up an early chance for Marshall but the Halifax player dragged his effort across the six yard box and out for a goal kick.
Ajala then tried his luck from 30 yards, with the wind behind him and produced a full stretch save from Glennon, pushing the effort out for a corner. Richards then also had another strike from 25 yards with his right foot, after good work on the right by Briscoe.
However, the Shaymen did get a foothold back in the game with 10 minutes remaining when the impressive substitute Jackson got the better of Pearce at the heart of the United back four and Maynard shot well from a difficult angle into the bottom left hand corner from about 12 yards.
Hargreaves then decided to freshen things up bringing on Ben Harding for McQulkin, who was suffering with cramp and a few minutes later Chapell replaced the hard working Briscoe as United saw out the final minutes and took a hard fought three points.
After the final whistle United’s manager said “It was a great win for us against a side fancied for promotion. We found it easier playing into the wind in the first half, as we could play a better passing game, we scored two great goals tonight”. The Gulls now move onto the FA Trophy, with an away tie against Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday afternoon.
TUFC: Rice, McQuilkin (Harding 83), Ives, MacDonald, Pearce, Ajala, Young (Capt), Richard, Ofori-Acheampong (Yeoman 72), Briscoe (Chapell 87), Bowman
Subs Not Used: Seabright, Chapell, Odofin
Halifax: Glennon, K Roberts, McManus, M Roberts (Capt), Ainge (Bolton 45), Smith, Hatfield (Jackson 45), Maynard, Marshall, Dyer (Peniket 72), Boden
Subs Not Used: Senior, Schofield
Bookings: K Roberts, M Roberts
Attendance: 1,470 (75 Away)
Referee: Richard Martin