Thomas Kelly – @tommyktufc
Thomas blogs about previous opening day fixtures and more
OPENING GAMES OF THE SEASON
18/19: Chelmsford City (a) – D 0-0
Welcome to the National League South. If the reality of the Gulls plight hadn’t sunk in, entering Chelmsford soulless Melbourne “Stadium” complete with running track would have in the Gulls first array into the 6th tier of English Football. On a scorcher of a day in Essex, the Gulls struggled to break down a stubborn Clarets side who held the Yellow’s to a 0-0 draw on the opening day of the NLS season.
19/20: Boreham Wood (h) – W 2-1
The NLS champs kick started their return to the National League with a well-deserved 2-1 home win over the 17/18 beaten play-off finalists Boreham Wood. The visitors found themselves down to 10 men just half an hour in when Jamal Fyfield dreadfully went in two footed on Manny Duku. Goals from Opi Edwards and a beautiful effort from Jamie Reid set the Gulls off to the perfect start, despite a late reply from ex-Gull Tyrone Marsh making things nervy in the final few minutes for the Yellow Army.
20/21: Stockport County (h) – W 1-0
Gary time was born! With no fans in attendance due to Covid 19, the football season began with fans watching from home via livestreams and in what was one of our best seasons in years, the Gulls started the 20/21 campaign against the favourites for promotion against big spending Stockport County. In a tight game, the Gulls came alive in the last ten minutes and after a superb defensive display, Connor Lemonheigh Evans managed to net the winner in injury time, taking a deflection which had the better of the Stockport keeper and sent those at home into raptures.
21/22: Altrincham (h) – L 1-3
After the heartbreak of just a few months ago, the Gulls were back at home to welcome Altrincham for the opening game of the season, a game many would have expected to see a comfortable Gulls victory, sadly ended in a very disappointing defeat. Woeful defending saw the Gulls 2-0 down in the first twenty minutes and some very obvious timewasting saw the Gulls struggle to recover. An own goal from Jake Moult gave the Gulls hope but Alty sealed the win with a rocket top corner strike from Toby Mullarkey to send the points north and see the Gulls off to a very lacklustre start to the season.
BOXING DAY FIXTURES
18/19: Truro City (h) W 4-2
In front of 3,863 (83) supporters, the top of the table Gulls overcame a poor start to sweep aside the Cornish outfit, who found themselves falling out of the NLS in the opposite direction to the Gulls. A good volley in the box from Tyler Harvey was cancelled out by a lovely lob shot over the keeper before Kalvin Kalala slammed the Gulls in front. The goals continued to come and the best of the bunch came from skipper Asa Hall, who from almost 30 yards beautifully saw his shot loop into the top corner of the Truro net, one that Jamie Reid couldn’t believe! The Gulls made it 4-1 early in the second half through Saikou Janneh’s low shot 18 yards out. The visitors scored a second through Jared Lewington late on but Devon overcame Cornwall and provided the perfect present for the near 4,000 Gulls fans in attendance. Spot the theme!
19/20: Yeovil Town (a) L 6-2
Yeah, less said the better. A humiliating performance, miserable weather and thrashed well and truly, one could argue this was our lowest ebb under Gary Johnson at the time. We lost 6-2, moving on!
20/21: Yeovil Town (h) W 6-1
Funny the difference a year makes! Despite Covid restrictions beginning to ramp up again, the few supporters lucky enough to attend Plainmoor on Boxing Day were treated to a Torquay performance out of this world. Armani Little bending his free kick low into the corner of the net set the Gulls on their way to victory was quickly followed up by a lovely finish from Danny Wright on nine minutes. It got better after Sam Sherrings deflected header from a corner found the net midway in the first half. A comical fourth goal was converted by Arron Nemane, who seemed to be the only player to realise that the ball hadn’t gone out for a goal kick when everyone else just stopped. Embarrassing from the Glovers perspective. Connor made it five early in the second half and despite a consolation goal from Yeovil, the Gulls made amends for the capitulation of the Boxing Day disaster in 2019 with Kyle Cameron heading our sixth goal in late on.
21/22: Yeovil (h) W 3-1
Oh Tom Lapslie, we do love you. Torquay United secured three points over our Westcountry rivals after Sonny Blu-Lo Everton’s silly kick out at Tom after a coming together between the two resulted in an early bath for the Glovers player. Second half goals from Ben Wynter, loanee Jack Sparkes and an unmarked header in the box (although looked to be offside) from Joe Lewis sealed victory for the men in black and white stripes, who thanks to a late Holman goal just a few days later, secured the double over the side from Somerset.
FINAL GAME OF THE SEASON
18/19: St Albans City (a) W 4-0
Ah what a fun weekend that was. Torquay United won the NLS title after beating Eastbourne Borough 2-0 on the 13th March, had lost the following two games and despite lifting the title in front of a record 5,000+ crowd the weekend before, were looking to end the season with a positive result. Ten seconds in and they were on their way. Kalala slotted home in record time before Reidy slammed home our second just nine minutes in. A missed penalty from Reidy didn’t sour the mood as Opi Edwards and Kalala sealed victory for the champions and deny the hosts the chance of a play-off spot in the process. A joyous bumper away following celebrating a job well done and to celebrate our champs as we waved goodbye to the National League South.
19/20:* Sutton United (a) L 2-0
With Covid cases rising all over the world, a game which wasn’t supposed to be the final game, turned into one with football and most sports stopping just a week or so later. For Torquay, our last game of the 19/20 season ended in defeat at Gander Green Lane with a disappointing performance after two first half goals and not much goal threat up front giving our future title challengers for next season the victory. Bonus points if you know where we were meant to end the season that year. No cheating!
20/21: Altrincham (a) D 0-0
The Gulls final league game of the 20/21 season ended in a rather lacklustre goalless draw at Altrincham, which was only notable for Kyle Cameron playing upfront. The Gulls already knew their fate would rest in the lottery of the play-offs and the Yellow Army praying that key players would return from injury in time for our play-off run, it probably was no surprise the final league game of the season ended in a bore draw against 17th place Alty. Nice weather though from the livestream!
21/22: Southend United (a) D 1-1
With both sides finishing in mid-table with absolutely nothing riding on the game, there was to be no repeat of happy seaside memories of the 03/04 season. The 141 Gulls fans who made the trip to Essex were treated to a disappointing performance from Gary’s side with many as we now know, making their last appearances in Yellow. A lovely finish from Choiri Johnson late into first half stoppage time and a red card for Jason Demetriou should have been enough to take the points back to Devon, but the hosts upped the pressure and deservedly levelled and probably should have won the game with a man disadvantage. Typical end of season affair.
COYY – Thomas