Torquay United 2 – 1 Gloucester City
Torquay United 2
Hanks OG (9), Niate (25)
Gloucester City 1
Torquay United equalled a club record eight consecutive league wins on Saturday afternoon, with a 2 – 1 victory against Gloucester City in the Vanarama National League South.
An own goal from Joe Hanks opened the scoring before a Jean-Yves Koue Niate 25th minute goal gave Gary Johnson’s team another three points, as the Gulls remained at the top of the table, two points ahead of Woking.
Johnson was forced to make one change from his Boxing Day side, with Jamie Sandles-White replacing Connor Lemonheigh-Evans in midfield, as the Bristol City loanee returned to his parent club.
The home side started with a high tempo once again, and had chances through Asa Hall, Ben Wynter and Saikou Janneh in the opening seven minutes before the breakthrough came via the head of City full back Hanks in the 9th minute, following a good cross by Jamie Reid.
The Tigers almost got a quick reply when Issac Pearce saw his cross clip the top of the bar before United cleared away for City’s first corner of the game.
Jake Andrews produced a lovely through ball for Reid to run onto in the 15th minute, but the Gulls top scorer was frustrated once more, as City skipper Sam Avery blocked Reid’s effort out for a corner.
Janneh almost capitalised on a mistake by the visitor’s keeper Jojo Wollacott in the 23rd minute, as the City stopper came well out of his area to try and clear the danger.
United’s second goal came via Niate’s right foot from close range in the 25th minute, as Gloucester failed to clear a deep corner by Jake Andrews from the United right.
Kalala and Liam Davis then saw chances go close, as the home side pushed for a third and deep into added on time at the end of the first half it was Kalala again who beat his man, before cutting inside to curl his effort towards the top left hand corner of the goal, however, on this occasion the United man’s shot went narrowly wide.
With the Tigers showing much more attacking desire in the second half, the game opened-up, with both sides having chances for more goals.
The lively Pearce was at the centre of everything for the visitors, as Hanks shot over from distance, before MacDonald was made to work from a Pearce cross moments later.
Kalala, Andrews, Wynter and Janneh, all had attempts on goal for the Gulls before Kalala, now operating on the left in the second half, cut inside his man in the 57th minute and hit a strike from the edge if the area.
Janneh, Kalala and Andrews again all went close but Johnson’s men could not find that all important third goal that would have surely finished the game off.
With the game going into the last 10 minutes, Gloucester continued to press for a goal. Jake Mawford saw a deflected cross off Wynter hit the bar, before Odin Bailey struck in the 87th minute with a right footed strike from the edge of the area that beat MacDonald, to set up an action packed final few minutes.
Kalala again had a shot that went wide in the 90th minute, before the nerves around Plainmoor increased as 4 minutes of added time was shown. United thought they had sealed the game, when substitute Olaf Koszela reacted quickest to tap home a rebound following a Reid shot, however, the assistant referee on the far side deemed the United forward to be offside.
And in the final moments of stoppage time the visitors thought they too had got a goal to rescue a point, however on this occasion referee Philip Staynings gave a foul on the keeper by Avery, as the defender headed the ball into the back of the net.
It’s another quick turn around for Johnson’s men as the Christmas programme continues with the return fixture on New Year’s Day against Truro City, kick off 3pm at Plainmoor.
TUFC Starting XI (4-4-2): Shaun MacDonald, Ben Wynter (Olaf Koszela 77), Jean Yves Koue Niate, Kyle Cameron (capt), Liam Davis, Jamie Sandle-White (George Essuman ), Asa Hall, Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala, Jake Andrews, Jamie Reid, Saikou Janneh
Subs Not Used: George Burton, Samir Nabi
TUFC Bookings: Davis (73),
MOTM: Jake Andrews