HIGHWAY TO HELE ARTICLE: Torquay United ‘Top 40 Goals’ (+ Feb 17 Update)

This article (first published in H2H Issue 4 in early 2015) was triggered by our very own captain fantastic (as he was at the time!) Luke Young. His heroic and spectacular volleyed winner against Wrexham in October 2014, made a number of Torquay fans nominate it as the ‘GREATEST GOAL’ they’ve seen scored by a Gulls player.

Great goals take various guises. From spectacular winners like Young’s in October 2014 to goals in important matches, to goals that may not have been that difficult but live long in the memory for various reasons. Goals do not have to be 30 yard screamers to be highly regarded.

Fans all have their own favourites for different reasons and I have tried to narrow a list of goals down to top 40 goals that encapsulate all that is sometimes glorious about being a Torquay United fan in the last 30 years (and includes even winning a penalty shoot-out!).  

GOALS 1-10

1 Luke Young V Wrexham – 7th October 2014 @ Plainmoor (Conference Premier)                                “Luke Young’s goal against Wrexham was so good it was hard to believe! With the game in the balance at 1-1, the skipper controlled a difficult looping ball with one touch, and then hit the sweetest volley into the top right hand corner from over 30 yards to send the crowd into raptures. The goal won the three points for the Gulls that afternoon and has been rightly hailed as one of the best ever scored by a Torquay player”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “VOLLEY, SPECTACULAR, WINNER”

Link here for Young’s Goal: https://vine.co/v/OME1L6mUzhX

2 Eunan O’Kane V Plymouth Argyle – 19th November 2011 @ Plainmoor (League Two)                “Eunan came of age during this season and there was no better example of this than our derby with the Green Army at the end of 2011. The midfield ace received the ball around 35-40 yards out, quickly turned and seeing Argyle’s veteran keeper Larieu off his line sent a long, guided shot straight over his head to put United two nil up. The goal was one of the highlights of the season and showed great vision from young ace” THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “VISION, GENIUS, X-FACTOR”

3 Tim Sills V Cambridge United – 17th May 2009 @ Wembley Stadium (Conference Premier Play-Off Final) “On a wonderful sunny day at the national stadium the Gulls were already 1-0 up and looking confident of a return to the League when the target man bagged the clincher. It was a lovely team goal as well. A ball from midfield set Carlisle off sprinting down the right-hand side and the winger looked up and picked out a perfect cross for Sills (who was famously masked that day due to injury) to head home”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “TEAM, MASKED, PROMOTION”

Link for Tim’s Goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=armXgu0wxQg

4 Richard Hancox V Cardiff City – 23rd August 1994 @ Plainmoor (League Cup)                            “Richard Hancox’s finest season at Plainmoor came in 1994-95 and included a superb hat-trick in the League Cup versus Cardiff City. Hancox reacted quickest to a headed clearance from a corner and running away from goal acrobatically (and miraculously) managed an overhead kick with the power and accuracy to beat the City keeper. The tie saw United win 4-3 on aggregate against the Welsh team”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “ACROBATIC, MIRACULOUS, HAT-TRICK”

Link for Hancox’s Goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48MUa0C0s-o

5 Derek Dawkins V Tottenham Hotspur – 23rd September 1987 @ Plainmoor (League Cup)         “United had some exciting players during the 80s’ and one of the fans favourites was the player nicknamed ‘Dude’ who joined the Gulls in 1984 from Weymouth. The Spurs game saw the Dude getting a winner against a Spurs team packed with internationals. The goal stemmed from a cross from the left only half cleared and Dawkins slammed the ball past Clemence, a pitch invasion followed as the Plainmoor crowd erupted”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “DUDE, SHOCK, INVASION”

Link for the Dude’s Goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIcGevScqa0

6 and 7 Rodney Jack V Scarborough – 13th May 1998 @ Plainmoor (Division Three Play-Offs Semi-Final) “The two goals scored by Rodney Jack on a magical night at Plainmoor are very similar in quality and are therefore both included in our list. Jack showed on that night why he was one of the most exciting and fastest players to ever play for United. The first saw him use his pace to beat the Boro defender to a loose ball on the halfway line, before sprinting ahead, rounding the keeper and placing a shot in the corner of the goal in front of an ecstatic Family Stand. The second saw the gifted attacker pick up a clearance on the right hand side, easily out-pace the Scarborough left back and then place the ball underneath the goalkeeper from a tight angle. United have not enjoyed many better nights as the Gulls won 4-1 in front of a big crowd at Plainmoor and booked a place at Wembley”. THE GOALS IN 3 WORDS – “PACE, SKILL, CRACKERJACK”

Link for Jack’s Goals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c533TDdB520

8 Paul Dobson V Crewe Alexandra – 9th May 1987 @ Plainmoor (Division Four)                                     “The game against Crewe Alexandra at the end of the 1986-87 season goes down as one of the most famous in the clubs history, mainly due to the dog that attacked Jim McNichol in the 2nd half. The added stoppage time allowed gave United a chance to re-group and this last minute goal from Dobson, swept home in the penalty area after some over-elaborate Crewe possession gave the Gulls the equaliser and kept them in the League”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “DOG, BITE, ESCAPE”

9 Kevin Nicholson V Barnet – 9th December 2011 @ Plainmoor (League Two)                                      “Martin Ling’s 1st season in charge of Torquay saw the Gulls flying high in League Two and left-back Nico in the form of his life. This scrappy affair was heading for a goalless finish until this screamer from the long-serving defender. Nico found himself with possession on the right hand side, took one touch and from 25 yards out banged the ball into the top right hand corner of the goal (past a despairing keeper) to win the game”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “NICO, SCREAMER, WINNER”

Link for Nico’s Goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ-dFwLIqfs

10 Kevin Hill V Stockport County – 1st January 2006 @ Plainmoor (League One)                                        “A drab new year encounter at Plainmoor was livened up when Kevin cheekily sneaked up and surprised the unaware keeper to put United ahead just before half time. Hill nicked the ball off the keeper (who had placed it down to kick), did a quick turn and placed the ball into the net left footed to the delight of the home crowd. Unfortunately Ricky Lambert scored two to win the game 2-1, but the goal remains a very memorable effort! THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “AUDACITY, CHEEKY, SURPRISE”

Goals 11-20

11 Kevin Hill V Macclesfield – 24th January 2004 @ Plainmoor (Division Three)                               Torquay’s home form in the 2003-04 was superb and this winter game versus Macclesfield saw a wonder goal from Hilly and a 4-1 victory. The 8th minute goal saw a cross from influential midfielder Russell met by Kevin with an amazing left footed overhead kick that defied the laws of gravity! The small midfielder usually surprised teams with his jumping ability for headers but they had no answer for this cracking volley”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “JUMP, HILLY, OVERHEAD”

12 Gareth Howells V Blackpool – 31st May 1991 @ Wembley Stadium (Division Four Play-Off  Final) “The 1990-91 season saw the Gulls reach the play-off final where they were heavy underdogs against the Tangerines at Wembley. The exciting match finished 2-2 after extra time and with the penalties at 4-4 our keeper stepped up bravely. Thankfully the shot-stopper was impeccably calm under the pressure and scored what would be the clinching penalty as the next man up was Dave Bamber who placed his wide”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “PENALTIES, KEEPER, BAMBER”

13 Dean Edwards V Bolton Wanderers – 28th May 1989 @ Wembley Stadium (Sherpa Van Trophy Final) “This wonderful sunny day at Wembley saw the Gulls briefly threaten to spring a surprise with the 1st goal of the game through Deano. A corner from Mark Loram on the right was flicked on unintentionally by a defender and the energetic midfielder popped up to head home from close range. United run to the Sherpa Van Trophy Final in 1989 was a special time for the club and is fondly remembered (even though it ended in defeat)”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “WEMBLEY, DEANO, FINAL”

14 Steve McCall V Scarborough – 13th May 1998 @ Plainmoor (Division Three Play-Offs Semi-Final) “Another goal from that game just to illustrate what an amazing evening it was! The veteran midfielder was a lynchpin that season for United under Kevin Hodges. Collecting the ball in midfield McCall moved the ball onto his left foot and from 25 yards out curled it wonderfully into the top left-hand corner of the goal – giving the keeper no chance. It ended up being McCall’s only goal for United – but what a goal”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “CURLER, VETERAN, PLAY-OFFS”

15 Mark Loram V Wolverhampton Wanderers – 18th April 1989 @ Molineux (Sherpa Van Trophy Semi-Final) “Mark Loram remains one of my favourite ever Torquay players and goals like this showed why. Torquay were 2-2 on aggregate (1-0 up on the night) against a very good Wolves side when Dean Edwards was fouled just outside the area. Loram recognised the Wolves wall wasn’t organised and curled a beauty past them and the goal to put the Gulls in front. United held on for a famous victory and were heading to Wembley”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “SEMI-FINAL, SKILL, UPSET”

16 Lee Thorpe V Stockport – 25th April 2006 @ Plainmoor (League Two)                                              “Hard working target man Thorpe was never prolific in his time at Plainmoor, but he was capable of something special, and this goal was certainly that.  The opening goal in this 4-0 win against County saw a poor headed clearance from a defender loop up in the air towards the striker. Thorpe saw his chance and with his eyes firmly on the ball, adjusted his body and placed a perfect bicycle (overhead) kick past a shocked keeper”.     THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “BICYCLE, SPECIAL, GRAVITY-DEFYING”

17 Dave Caldwell V Scunthorpe – 15th May 1988 @ Plainmoor (Division Four Play-Off Semi Final) “Rarely has a player made a bigger impact for United in one season than the Scottish striker who joined Torquay from Chesterfield in November 1987. The temperamental front-man quickly became a fans favourite at the Riviera and helped lead the Gulls to the play-offs that season. This goal in the Semi-Final was a terrific leaping near post header from a corner to give United a 2-1 victory in front of a packed crowd”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “IMPACT, FLYING, SCOTSMAN”

18 Chris Hargreaves V Cambridge United – 17th May 2009 @ Wembley Stadium (Conference Premier Play-Off Final) “Big players score in big games, and at Wembley that afternoon this is exactly what happened. Midfield talisman Hargreaves had been a colossus for United in their two seasons in the Conference. At the national stadium he opened the scoring by bursting forward from midfield, taking a pass from Benyon in his stride and striking it true into the right hand corner of the goal from the edge of the penalty area”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “COLUSSUS, TALISMAN, LEAGUE”

Link for Hargreaves Goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=armXgu0wxQg

19 David Graham V Darlington – 20th September 2003 @ Plainmoor (Division Three)                           “Boss Leroy Rosenior had United playing wonderful football in 2003-04 and key-man Graham was in the form of his life. A great example was this fixture against Darlington when David controlled a long ball on the right hand side of the area and seeing the keeper off his line managed to delicately volley it over him and into the net. This was a sublime finish and one of many goals for the striker in a glorious promotion season at Plainmoor”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “DELICATE, GLORIOUS, DAVEY”

20 Luke Young V Woking – 16th September 2014 @ Plainmoor (Conference Premier)                          “Our Top-20 list starts and ends with our current skipper and midfield maestro. This goal does not quite hit the heights of the Wrexham one, but it’s not too far behind. A free kick from around 35 yards out was given at the end of the 2nd half in what had been a tough competitive (and goalless encounter). Young was not put off by the distance and hammers a shot past the wall that swerves into the right-hand corner of the net”. THE GOAL IN 3 WORDS – “LONG-RANGE, SWERVE, MAESTRO”

Goals 21-40

21 Eunan O’Kane V Plymouth Argyle – 11-12 @ Plainmoor (League 2) “First timer from outside area”

22 Courtney Cameron V Exeter City – 13-14 @ St James Park (League 2) “20 yard free-kick”

23 Rodney Jack V Peterborough – 97-98 @ Plainmoor (Division 3) “dribble and then sweet strike”

24 Paul Hirons V West Ham – 89-90 @ Plainmoor (FA Cup) “close range winner for Cup upset”

25 Rene Howe V Aldershot – 12-13 @ Plainmoor (League 2) “last minute winner for 4-3”

26 Matt Green V Blackpool – 09-10 @ Plainmoor (FA Cup) “powerful shot wins Cup game”

27 Paul Gibbs V Leyton Orient – 97-98 @ Plainmoor (Division 3) “left foot pile-driver from distance”

28 Martin Gritton V Hull City – 03-04 @ KC Stadium (Division 3) “winner after Graham through ball”

29 Morike Sako V Bristol R – 05-06 @ Memorial Stadium (League 2) “beat two men then 20 yard strike”

30 Danny Stevens V Yeovil – 07-08 @ Plainmoor (FA Cup) – “stab home in area live on the BBC”

31 Dave Caldwell V Bristol City – 87-88 @ Ashton Gate (FA Cup) “brave diving header”

32 Andy Gurney V Shrewsbury – 97-98 @ Plainmoor (Division 3) “wonderful hit from long-range”

33 David Graham V Hull City – 03-04 @ Plainmoor – (Division 3) “turn and hit from outside area”

34 Eifion Williams V Blackpool – 00-01 @ Plainmoor (Division 3) “injury time volley to take 3 points”

35 Rene Howe V Burton – 11-12 @ Pirelli Stadium (League 2) “lovely finish in 4-1 win at the Pirelli”

36 Dave Caldwell V Hereford – 87-88 @ Plainmoor – (Division 4) “overhead kick on home debut”

37 Ryan Jarvis V York City – 12-13 @ Plainmoor (League 2) – “25 yards stunner after run”

38 Tim Sills V Histon – 07-08 @ Plainmoor (Conference) – “bicycle kick from 12 yards”

39 David Graham V Barnet – 00-01 @ Underhill (Division 3) – “crucial 3rd goal in relegation decider”

40 Dean Edwards V Wolves – 88-89 @ Molineux (Sherpa V T) – “neat finish after Loram through ball”

So there you go a real mixture of volleys, dribbles, headers and overhead kicks, a reminder of glorious moments (and the players) that make being a Torquay United supporter worthwhile – hopefully we will see more very soon!





*Since then there have been some more quality goals. See the following TUFC crackers:-

41 Kadell Daniel V Halifax 14-15 @ The Shay (Conference) – “long-range free kick stunner”

Link for Kadell’s Goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RgT4sRM8wk

42 Courtney Richards V Woking 15-16 @ The Laithwaite Community Stadium (Conference) – “sweet right footer from outside of the box finds the top corner”

43 Luke Young V Altrincham 15-16 @ Plainmoor (Conference) – “a clearance falls to the midfielder who bangs it in the corner from 25 yards”

44 Brett Williams V Barrow 16-17 @ Plainmoor (Conference) – “the striker tricks his way past two defenders before slotting the ball home”




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I simply live and breathe Football and have supported Torquay United since 1989. I am a season ticket holder on Bristows and a Trust member. I set up TorquayTalk in 2017 to give true supporters a voice and honest opinions on their club.

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