TUFC 2 v 2 Gateshead
Torquay United remained unchanged from the starting eleven that draw 3-3 with Forest Green Rovers the week before and it was another roller-coaster ride for the United fans at the Launa Windows Stadium.
The Gulls started brightly again and for the second week running got that early break through when Luke Young’s pin point through ball to Ryan Bowman saw United’s front man twist and turn inside the box before drawing a foul from Gjokaj. Bowman himself then steped up and cooly slotted the spot kick down the centre of the goal.
Following the opening goal from United, Gateshead created a few half chances, the best of which fell to Alex Rodman, his 20 yard strike however was blocked by Krystian Pearce. The visitors did however have the ball in the back of the net on 37mins, when Matty Pattison’s free kick from 25 yards was parred back out by Martin Rice but the on-rushing forward was caught off side by the referees assistant on the popular side.
Both manager’s resisted the temptation to make changes at the break and Torquay again started quickly, Courtney Cameron putting in a great cross from the right but Bowman failed to get on the end of the chance.
Bowman himself then turned creator but as before no United player could get on the end of a teasing cross. It was United’s number nine who then tried his luck after 52 minutes but his right footed shot from the edge of the box went narrowly wide, with the keeper beaten. Toby Ajala also went close in the opening 15 minutes of the half, when he cut in from the left flak and curled his shot to the far post but Bartlett in the Gateshead goal was equal to the effort.
It was Pattison again for the visitors, who then had a 25 yard effort drift wide of Rice’s goal. Rodman then hit the post from United’s right back position but again the refs assistant ruled the follow up by John Oster off side and the goal was ruled out.
Torquay continued to try and created chances in the second half but it was Gateshead who grow into the game more and more. The match then entered a final ten minute spell which went by in a flash with three goals and a sending off.
First Michael Rankine, in the 80 minute had a glorious chance to get the scores back on level terms when a cross from the right found him unmarked in the centre of the United box but the forward scuffed his shot and Rice was able to take the ball unchallenged. Three minutes later Pattison hit the post but the ball went clear and United breathed another sigh of relief again.
But with three minutes to go minutes Gateshead got the break their efforts had deserved when Downs tripped Craig Baxter and Rodman steped up and hit the penalty hard into the back of United’s net. Then, two minutes later Ramshaw headed the visitors into the lead from a Pattison cross.
Chris Heargreaves must have thought his team had fallen to a defeat but his captain came up with a 20 yard effort that Bartlett could not hold and his spill let in Bowman for his second of the game. For those United fans who might have already left the ground it was a clear message from the players, we never give up.
Gateshead then had their centre back, Gjokaj, sent off and the resulting free kick gave the Gulls the opportunity to take all 3 points. Young again produced a 30 yard free kick that was to hot for the keeper to hold but this time his defenders managed to clear the ball before any United player could take advantage.
After the game Hargreaves said “We lost two points today against a very good footballing side that should have been promoted last season but we have to stop these individual errors that are costings us. For the main our action plan worked and the players continued to fight right to the end, we could have even taken the points with a great free kick from Luke Young”.
United now travel to Macclesfield before another home fixture against Eastleight.
TUFC: Rice, Berry, Cruise, Downes, MacDonald, Ajala, Young (Capt), Richards (Ofori-Acheampong 90), Cameron (McQuilkin 64), Briscoe (Benyon 90), Bowman
Subs Not Used: Seabright, Odofin
Bookings: Young, Richards,
Gateshead: Bartlett, Baxter, Anderton, Clark (Capt), Gjokaj, Oaster (Ramshaw 73), Tunball, Pattison, Wright (Shaw 66), Heardman (Rankine 51), Rodman
Subs Not Used: Guy, Allan
Bookings: Pattison, Gjokaj, Turnball Sent Off: Gjokaj
Attendance: 1,947 (50 Away)
Referee: Graig Hicks