Competition – League Two
Venue – Pirelli Stadium
Attendance – 2,397
A 1-0 win at Rotherham four days earlier had lifted United to second in the table, with Captain Lee Mansell grabbing another goal in a great season. The next test of United’s promotion credentials was a trip to Burton, where Martin Ling picked the same team for the challenge ahead.
Many of that season’s points had been gained from tough defensive displays, with Brian Saah leading an organised back four. However it was an afternoon for Ling’s men to show their attacking ability – with O’Kane, Mansell and Howe at the centre of it.
The Gulls broke the deadlock after only seven minutes, when build up play from Mansell and Howe allowed Danny Steven’s time in the box. The small winger made no mistake, calmly finishing right footed.
Before too long it was 2-0, and it was more neat interplay from United. O’Kane and Nicholson combined sweetly on the left before Nico’s trusty left foot placed a delightful cross on the money for Mansell to stab home at the near-post. Nico and Mansell both came close to making it three, as United finished the half on top.
The second half was a more balanced affair, and Burton did grab a lucky goal when Saah and Olejnik collided and Richards was left with a tap-in. The goalkeeper had landed very awkwardly and was given lengthy treatment, but did continue and made some brave saves.
The home side sensed an equaliser, but with ten minutes to go United put the game to bed. Rene Howe received the ball on the left, cut inside a defender and curled a wonderful shot past the goalkeeper from outside the area. It was a lovely finish!
There was more action at the death as Atieno scored a fourth after being put through on goal by Mansell, whilst Olejnik saved a penalty from Richards after a Rowe Turner trip. Ling’s men had cast off the shackles of defensive football and certainly shown their attacking enterprise!
Torquay United XI:
Olejnik, Nicholson, Oastler, Saah, Ellis, Lathrope, Mansell, Morris, O’Kane, Stevens, Howe
GOALS: Stevens (7), Mansell (36), Howe (82), Atieno (87)
SUBS: Jarvis (83), Atieno (83), Rowe-Turner (84)
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