TUFC 2 v 0 Eastleigh
Torquay United ended a run of three games without a win and a first clean sheet in eleven, with a 2 – 0 home victory against a strong Eastleigh side, at the Launa Windows Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Toby Ajala scored the opener in the 6th minute and Ryan Bowman finished the contest off in the 88th minute.
United Manager Chris Hargreaves made two changes from the Gulls last home game against Gateshead, brining in Levi Ives and Jordan Chapell for Tom Cruise and Courtney Cameron respectively. “The decision to rest Cameron from the squad completely, was simply down to trying to get the players desire and fight back to somewhere near the level from the start of the season, you sometimes need to step away from the game and watch the match to get the reaction required, Courtney knows I have belief in him and he will be back soon”, Hargreaves said.
For the third home game in a row, the Gulls started in strong fashion with Ryan Bowman going close in the opening minute, when a deflected clearance fell the way of the United man but his effort was saved well by Flitney in the Eastleigh goal and all United got was a corner. However the yellow army only had to wait another 5 minutes till the opening goal went in.
Good interplay by Briscoe and Bowman led to the ball finding it’s way out to Toby Ajala on United’s left flank. The young Gull managed to cut in passed the fullback before pushing the ball in front of him and curling a low drive into the far corner of the visitors net, Hargreaves side again led at home inside 10 minutes.
Torquay’s lessons from previous weeks about how to defend once a goal up, seemed not to have been learned when Courtney Richards gave the ball away in the centre of Torquay’s half and only a great block from seventeen year old Ives stopped the shot from Jack Midson giving Eastleigh a near instant reply.
However, the Midson chance and a 25 yard strike from Will Evans just before half time where really the only chance’s Torquay gave to Eastleigh in the half, as United defended well. “Our defensive work really pleased me today”, United’s manager said. “Eastleigh have some League One and Two firepower but our turnover play and work rate was fantastic”. “You need to be hard to beat and we nullified our opponents today, we stopped crosses and that always makes it hard for teams to score goals”, Hargreaves added.
In-between defending well United still managed to create with Bowman having a free header on 36 minutes from a Luke Young corner but the United man missed the opportunity to double Torquay’s lead.
On 38 minutes some intricate play on the edge of the visitors box by Courtney Richards, Briscoe and Bowman led to the United number 9 having a great chance to put United two up at the break but the chance went high and wide and the forwarded know he had missed a golden opportunity to give his side a cushion at half time.
Neither manager made any changes at half time and the opening quarter of the half was a frantic affair with both sides putting in some strong tackles and making Chris Powell think about the decisions he was making.
Chances where few and far between in the second period, with Eastleigh having the better attempts through Stanley and Constable but Rice and his back four stayed strong throughout. However the cross bar come to United’s rescue with five minutes to go when McAllister’s powerful header beat everyone but luckily for Torquay the rebound fell to Downes who cleared the danger.
Ajala and Young went close in the half before the game was killed off by Bowman in the 88th minute. The influential Briscoe managed to flick the ball passed the full back on the half way line and power into the area and fire a powerful strike that Flitney could not hold and the rebound was headed into the empty net by Bowman.
The win for Hargreaves side moves them up to 7th in the league with another tough away trip to Dover on Tuesday night before entertaining Barnet at home on December 6th.
TUFC: Rice, Berry, Ives, Downes, Pearce, Ajala, Young (Capt), Richard, Chapell (MacDonald 78), Briscoe (McQuilkin 88), Bowman
Subs Not Used: Seabright, Yeoman, Ofori-Acheampong
Bookings: Pearce, Berry, Downes, Rice, Briscoe
Eastleigh: Flitney, Evans, Spence, Beckwith (Capt), Reid, Fleetwood (Wright 76), Strevens (Odubade 60), Stanley, Collins, Constable, Midson (McAllister 60)
Subs Not Used: Helm, Todd
Attendance: 1,862 (110 Away)
Referee: Chris Powell