Torquay United 1 v 4 Forest Green Rovers
Torquay United started their pre-season campaign at Plainmoor on Tuesday night against League 2 opposition in the form of Forest Green Rovers.
With virtually a new squad on show and only a week’s worth of training under their belts, the home side struggled early on to gain much possession as the visitors showed good movement on and off the ball, as well as superior fitness levels having been back in training longer than United.
Rovers had also completed their first pre-season game last weekend and you could see there was a clear understanding between the players and it only took them 5 minutes to show frailties in the Torquay back-line, when a low cross from the right found Carl Winchester unmarked for an easy side foot finish past United’s new keeper Alex Bass.
After the visitors had gone close to adding a second from a Dayle Grubb free kick, Torquay found themselves with a chance to gain a surprising equaliser through another new face George Essuman, however the header lacked power and was easy for the Rovers keeper to save.
Two further chances for Forest Green to add to the scoreline came and went in the 25 and 28 minute, first Reece Brown saw his shot saved before George Williams had a free kick go just over the bar.
To the delight of the home supporters, United did get back on level terms on the half hour when a counter attack by Ben Wynter found Jamie Reid and the United midfielder carried the ball from just inside his own half before neatly sliding the ball into the path of Samir Nabi who dropped a shoulder before firing the ball low into the visitors goal from a slight angle 12 yards out.
Torquay then continued to press with Reid himself firing low across the goal before Liam Davis produced a fine cross from the left in the 35th minute but Brett Williams was unable to really trouble James Montgomery from 6 yards with his header.
United manager Gary Owers changed the shape at half time from 4-1-4-1 to a 3-4-1-2 formation with Reid supporting Williams upfront and Davis and Wynter acting as wing backs.
However the change in formation didn’t stop the visitors pressing United back and it only took a couple of minutes before Forest Green were back in front in the 48th minute, Theo Archibald finished from a couple of yards out following the initial shot by Tahvon Campbell.
An own goal from Torquay in the 58th minute made it 3 for the league two side before a sharp back heel inside the box by Archibald set up Brown to fire low past the Gulls substitute keeper Shaun MacDonald.
With both managers ringing the changes the game became fragmented but Forest Green continued to look the more likely to add to the scoreline and their superior fitness levels started to show having started back in training earlier than United.
Torquay can be happy with getting their first 90 minutes of football played and some much needed fitness under their belts but there is a lot of work to be done by the United management team to get the side ready for the opening day of the season.
Next up for Torquay is Poole away on Saturday 3pm, before a local derby against Plymouth Argyle at Plainmoor next Tuesday 7:30pm.
TUFC Starting XI: (4-1-4-1)
1. Alex Bass -> (Shaun MacDonald 59)
2. Ben Wynter
4. George Essuman
5. Jakub Sokolik
3. Liam Davis
17. A.Trialist -> (C.Trialist 80)
19. Jamie Reid -> (Jon-Paul Pittman 61)
14. Samir Nabi -> (Josh Gowling 59)
8. Asa Hall
10. Jason Banton -> (B.Trialist 72)
9. Brett Williams (Capt) -> (Ruairi Keating 61)
Subs Not Used: Jack Lavercombe, Alfie Edwards, Josh Baxter