United Move Four Points Clear
Torquay United 3
Kalala (28), Reid (36), Niate (70)
Monakana (41) Okimo (74)
Torquay United continued their quest for promotion back to the Vanarama National League with a 3 – 2 win on Saturday afternoon against Wealdstone at Plainmoor.
Goals from Kalvin-Lumbombo Kalala, Jamie Reid and substitute Jean-Yves Koue Niate, gave top of the table United a vital three points as their nearest rivals Woking draw away at Bath City.
Saturday’s results now see United go four points clear of Woking with one game in hand.
The open 20 minutes were a very even affair with both sides working hard to win possession and created chances. Asa Hall had a mistimed header go just wide on 10 minutes before Reid found himself in on goal after a slip on the edge of the area by Smith, but his strike was straight at North in the visitor’s goal.
With all their attacking presence, United were nearly caught on a counter attack in the 23rd minute, following their own corner. Monakana produced a driving run from inside his own half, before passing to Green who’s shot struck the outside of MacDonald’s post, before being cleared by the home side.
The Gulls opening goal came five minutes later when Hall looked as if he was going to shoot, passed the ball out to Keating, who delivered a fine cross which found Kalala who volleyed past North into the bottom corner from 15 yards, for his eighth goal of the campaign.
Hall then saw another header from inside the box go just wide, before Torquay got their second of the afternoon from top scorer Reid in the 36th minute. A first time lobbed through ball from Keating, which bypassed the visitor’s defensive line, was fired low passing the advancing North to give Reid his 26th league goal of the season.
Jake Sheppard then made MacDonald work from the edge of the area, before the visitors got back into the game when United failed to clear a corner in the 38th minute and Monakana pocked the ball past MacDonald from inside the six-yard box.
The second half started in the same vain as the first, with both sides working hard without much product and it wasn’t until the hour mark, when the first effort troubled MacDonald in the United goal.
A minute later and Reid fired high over the bar from a tight angle before substitute Jean-Yves Koue Niate got the Gulls third with a near post flick following a corner from Evans in the 70th minute.
Three minutes later and Reid was brought down in the area but the Gulls forward saw his penalty well saved by North, as the keeper dived low to his right.
The penalty save gave The Stones a sudden lift, as Sheppard’s shot minutes later was saved by MacDonald and pushed away for a corner. United then failed to pick up Jerome Okimo run to the near post, as the Wealdstone skipper guided his header in off the post, to get the away side right back into the game.
As the game went into the last ten minutes both sides continued to press, with the visitors going close on two occasions through Green and Grant, before Evans cut in from the right and hit a low drive that struck the post before being cleared in the 90th minute.
Before Saturday’s game, 17-year-old Olaf Koszela was brought onto the pitch with manager Gary Johnson to sign his first professional contract, following his successful progression through United’s new youth system.
Next up for the Gulls on Tuesday night, is the rearranged home fixture against Chelmsford City, before the highly-anticipated game away at Woking next Saturday, as Torquay continue their push back towards the Vanarama National League.
TUFC Starting XI (4-4-2): Shaun MacDonald, Ben Wynter, Jamie Sendles-White (Jean-Yves Koune Niate 62), Kyle Cameron, Liam Davis, Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala (Frank Vincent 85), Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Asa Hall (Capt), Ruairi Keating (Ryan Dickson 70), Jamie Reid, Saikou Janneh
Subs Not Used: George Burton, Olaf Koszela
Bookings: Sendles-White (55)