Danny Burnell – @dannyburnell92
With Yeovil and Boxing Day next on the agenda for Gary Johnson and his men, I take a look back at two decades of Boxing Day fixtures, featuring the Gulls.
Boxing Day 2020 – Yeovil (H)
Torquay 6-1 Yeovil
Standing as at Christmas Day – 1st in National League: W9 D2 L2
In a Boxing Day to remember, Torquay extended their lead at the top of the National League with a 6-1 annihilation of their West Country rivals. Goals from Little, Wright, Sherring & Nemane gave the home side an assailable 4-0 HT lead. Yeovil struck back, but is was merely a consolation as second half strikes from Lemonheigh-Evans & Cameron brought the Gulls their biggest victory of the campaign.
Boxing Day 2019 – Yeovil (A)
Yeovil 6-2 Torquay
Standing as at Christmas Day – 14th in National League: W10 D4 L12
A day every Gulls fan will want to forget. Torquay approached the game in a dismal run of form with 6 straight league defeats. With top scorer Jamie Reid injured and Saikou Janneh suspended, it was always an up hill struggle for the visitors. And so it proved. 1,000+ Gulls had the misfortunate of witnessing the events, as goals from Hall & Whitfield proved little consolation.
Boxing Day 2018 – Truro (H)
Torquay 4-2 Truro
Standing as at Christmas Day – 1st in National League South: W12 D6 L3
It was a ‘goal of the season’ fest at Plainmoor as United entertained Truro. At the top of the tree at Christmas is where United stayed, after this triumph over their Cornish neighbours. It wasn’t all plain-sailing for the Yellows however, as Tyler Harvey struck to put City 1 up. Evans levelled up with a delicate chip 10 minutes, before a belter from Kalala restored normality. Captain Asa Hall got in on the act with a delightful left foot strike a few moments later and the Gulls didn’t look back. Janneh made it 4 shortly after half time with another fine finish to give the Gulls their 42nd goal of the campaign. Future Yellow Jared Lewington scored a late consolation for the away side.
Boxing Day 2017 – Eastleigh (A)
Eastleigh 1-1 Torquay
Standing as at Christmas Day – 22nd in National League: W4 D7 L14
A disappointing campaign for the Gulls which ultimately ended in relegation. Torquay went ahead through a second half Jamie Reid penalty before parity was restored on 72 minutes. United played out the final half hour with 10 men, as on loan Bristol City midfielder George Dowling was shown his marching orders.
Boxing Day 2016 – Forest Green Rovers (H)
Torquay 4-3 FGR
Standing as at Christmas Day – 17th in National League: W7 D5 L12
A Christmas cracker on Boxing Day as the struggling Gulls beat 3rd place & promotion chasing Rovers. Nicholson’s men entered the game just 2 points outside the drop zone and in floundering form. A dismal first half was fired into life as a 14 minute spell saw the Gulls go 3 up with strikes from Blissett, Fitzpatrick & McGinty. As ever with Torquay, it was never going to be plain sailing, and so it proved. Rovers showed their metal in coming from 3 down to level the game up in a 5 minute master spell from themselves. From that point there was only ever one winner, but United defender Ben Gerring didn’t read the script as his header went in to give the Gulls a win in this Plainmoor classic.
Boxing Day 2015 – Forest Green Rovers (H)
Torquay 4-1 FGR
Standing as at Christmas Day – 23rd in National League: W3 D8 L13
Second from bottom hosted second from top at Plainmoor, but it was the Gulls who empathically came out on top. Keanu Marsh-Brown gave the promotion hopefuls the lead and all expectancies were for a routine away win. Wrong. United sprung into life and fired back quickly with a Tyrone Marsh goal which had just crept over the line. He then doubled his own and United’s tally 15 minutes later when he headed home from close range. The Gulls didn’t let up as right back Durrell Berry and Andre Wright scored late on to give the Yellow Army the performance of the season.
Boxing Day 2014 – Bristol Rovers (H)
Torquay 1-2 Bristol Rovers
Standing as at Christmas Day – 9th in National League: W11 D6 L9
The two relegated sides from last season clashed on Boxing Day as the title favourites came to Plainmoor. Matty Taylor & Neal Trotman gave the visitors a 2 nil advantage, before a Fabian Speiss OG got Torquay back in the game. Elliott Benyon had a late goal disallowed for offside as Rovers took the 3 points back up the M5.
Boxing Day 2013 – Bristol Rovers (H)
Torquay 1-1 Bristol Rovers
Standing as at Christmas Day – 22nd in League Two: W5 D6 L10
Both were struggling in the league, and just one point separated them heading into this vital clash. John Marquis scored from the spot early on after a handball in the box. United couldn’t hold on however as striker Matt Harrold gave Rovers the share of the spoils. It would turn out to be a disastrous season for both sides.
Boxing Day 2012 – Plymouth (A)
Plymouth 1-1 Torquay
Standing as at Christmas Day – 12th in League Two: W8 D8 L6
A steady season for the Gulls as they sat Mid-pack, just as they did the season prior. Torquay travelled to their Devon neighbours and thought they clinched all 3 points when Aaron Downes netted 12 minutes from time. Tyler Harvey had other ideas as his last gasp goal gave Argyle a share of the points.
Boxing Day 2011 – Swindon (H)
Torquay 1-0 Swindon
Standing as at Christmas Day – 12th in League Two: W8 D7 L6
A solitary goal from Kenyan international Taiwo Atieno grabbed all 3 points against Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon. The result kick started the Gulls into life who went on a fabulous 9 game unbeaten streak, winning 8. It was enough to secure a play-off spot were they ultimately lost to Cheltenham.
Boxing Day 2010 – Cheltenham (H) – Postponed
Torquay P-P Cheltenham
Standing as at Christmas Day – 7th in League Two: W7 D7 L5
A winter which saw the ‘Big Freeze’ grip the nation. Torquay would play just one match in the month of December as postponements caused late season fixture chaos. A season of so much promise which ended in play-off heartbreak at Old Trafford.
Boxing Day 2009 – Hereford (H)
Torquay 1-0 Hereford
Standing as at Christmas Day – 19th in League Two: W5 D7 L9
A season of ‘ease’ was anything but as United re-entered the Football League following their promotion. Buckle’s men found it hard going at times, and endured long spells of winless streaks. United were looking to back up their 5-0 victory of Darlington, and 4-0 win at Stockport in the FA Cup as they took on Hereford. A Nicky Wroe penalty was enough to secure all 3 points for the Gulls and eventually survive comfortably.
Boxing Day 2008 – Weymouth (A)
Weymouth 0-1 Torquay
Matt Green’s 24th minute strike was enough for all 3 points at the Bob Lucas Stadium as United saw off a resilient Weymouth side. The Gulls entered the game off the back of some indifferent form, following their earlier season 17 unbeaten game spell.
Boxing Day 2007 – Exeter (A)
Exeter 4-3 Torquay
A game that was highly anticipated, and it didn’t fail to deliver. Buckle arrived back at his old stamping ground, armed with former Grecians Chris Todd & Lee Phillips. The two sides were hotly tipped for promotion and so it proved in the Gulls first ever non-league season. Exeter struck through Jamie Mackie and future Gull Dean Moxey, before Todd pulled one back. Another future Gull Wayne Carlisle made it 3, before Mackie rolled in for his brace. The home side were reduced to 10 when Danny Seaborne saw red, but United’s efforts fell just short, as Phillips & Nicholson hit back to leave the Gulls just short.
United decided to inflict revenge just a few days later as Tim Sills header gave them the victory at Plainmoor.
Boxing Day 2006 – MK Dons (H)
Torquay 0-2 MK Dons
Standing as at Christmas Day – 23rd in League Two: W4 D8 L11
A dower result in a dower season for the Gulls which eventually resulted in relegation to the Conference. 2nd placed MK Dons eased to victory at Plainmoor.
Boxing Day 2005 – Wycombe (H)
Torquay 2-2 Wycombe
Standing as at Christmas Day – 23rd in League Two: W4 D7 L11
Although still languishing in the drop zone, United were showing glimpses of form coming into this one, with no defeat since mid November. The previous week’s result over Bristol Rovers was still fresh in the mind, where Morike Sako showed his brilliance. That was backed up with a very hard fought draw against table toppers Wycombe, which in truth, should have been 3 points. Sako followed up his strike at Rovers with another goal, before Tony Bedeau made it 2. Wanderers fought back to earn a point when Alex Lawless put through his own net 4 minutes from time.
Boxing Day 2004 – Brentford (A)
Brentford 1-3 Torquay
Standing as at Christmas Day – 20th in League One: W5 D7 L10
A Boxing Day to remember for the Yellow Army as United triumphed in West London. Torquay were finding it tough in the third tier following their promotion, but made a good fist of it throughout the season. Entering the game with just 5 wins under their belt, and a point outside the relegation zone, they were huge under-dogs for this clash. Sam Sodje opened the scoring for the home side who were expected to push on and win comfortably, but for record signing Leon Constantine. A second half hat-trick from the striker secured all 3 points for the Gulls as they strived to remain in League One.
Boxing Day 2003 – Swansea (H)
Torquay 0-0 Swansea
Standing as at Christmas Day – 7th in Division Three: W10 D5 L7
Not a classic as Torquay hosted the Welsh side. Swansea came into the game level on points with the Gulls, and so it remained.
Boxing Day 2002 – NO GAME
Standing as at Christmas Day – 7th in Division Three: W10 D6 L6
No Boxing Day fixture this year, instead Torquay were sent to Darlington on the 28th December (well planned out) were they played out a 1-1 draw.
Boxing Day 2001 – Plymouth (A)
Plymouth 2-2 Torquay
Standing as at Christmas Day – 20th in Division Three: W6 D5 L12
The Gulls headed west to top of the table Argyle, and took home a very credible result. United were 20th, and 4 points ahead of bottom placed Halifax entering the game. Coughlan & Stonebridge put the home side ahead and were every bit on course to extend their lead at the top. But Argyle Left-back, Brian McGlinchey, gave the Gulls a helping hand as he put past his own keeper to make it 2-1. On loan striker Richard Logan scored a last minute penalty to send the Gulls back home with a deserved point.
Boxing Day 2000 – Exeter (A)
Exeter 1-1 Torquay
Standing as at Christmas Day – 21st in Division Three: W5 D6 L11
22nd hosted 21st in this Devon derby, and as the league positions indicated, there was nothing to split the two sides. Exeter, who boosted Arjan Van Heusden & Paul Buckle in the side, took the lead through Jamie Campbell, before a last minute Eiffon Williams strike stole a point for the Gulls.
COYY – Danny
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