TUFC BOXING DAY WINS by Steve Harris

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Steve Harris – @steveharris84

Steve Harris looks back at notable Gulls boxing day games

2004 – Brentford 1 Torquay United 3

Leon Constantine hit a hat-trick on his Griffin Park return to give Torquay a welcome win after he completed his club record £75,000 move to Plainmoor following a successful loan spell.

It all looked different early on when Sam Sodje headed in Stewart Talbot’s free-kick to put Brentford ahead on 26 minutes.

However, after he had a goal disallowed for pushing, Constantine equalised with a free-kick from 20 yards out in the 55th minute.

He then put Torquay ahead after a mistake by right-back Kevin O’Connor on 70 minutes and sealed the points after good work by team-mate Tony Bedeau with seven minutes to go.

TUFC XI: Gottskalksson, Villis, Woods, Robinson, Canoville, Gosling, Russell, Hill, Woodman, Bedeau, Constantine

Subs Not Used: Kuffour, Hockley, Phillips, Akinfenwa, Boardley

2015 – Torquay United 4 Forest Green Rovers 1

The winter of 2015 had proved to be one of discontent as far as Torquay United were concerned on the eve of their Boxing Day fixture with high-flying Forest Green Rovers. 

Earlier in the 2015-16 season, Paul Cox resigned after only ten games in charge. United’s director of football Dean Edwards and Cox’s assistant John Ramshaw both had brief spells in caretaker charge before the Gulls’ board headed by Dave Phillips, who had taken over from Thea Bristow’s consortium in the close season, appointed Kevin Nicholson as player-manager. 

With money tight at Plainmoor, it proved to be struggle for Nicholson at first and as United headed into their festive clash with Forest Green on the back of a 4-0 away defeat to Chester FC the omens didn’t look particularly good. Nicholson was also yet to oversee a home win at Plainmoor, Luke Young was still sidelined with a knee ligament injury sustained in pre-season and the signings of the likes of Shaun Harrad, Nathan Blissett, Danny Racchi and Josh Rees who would prove to be so influential in keeping the Gulls in the National League hadn’t arrived.  

Then there was the small matter that United were second from bottom in the National League table and Rovers were second place behind a Cheltenham Town side managed by Gary Johnson and captained by Aaron Downes.

After a promising start, Forest Green finally made the break through on 20 minutes. Winger Keanu Marsh-Brown found the top corner from the edge of the penalty area, with a shot that had Gulls’ keeper Dan Lavercombe well beaten, after Torquay’s stand-in skipper Courtney Richards headed an Elliot Frear corner straight into his path.

The Gulls’ response to going behind was both sharp and swift as a cross from Andre Wright picked out Tyrone Marsh who, in turn, found the target with an angled effort. Initially it had looked as though he had been denied by the reflexes of Rovers’ keeper Steve Arnold, but the linesman on the far side ruled that the ball had crossed the line.

Torquay edged ahead in the 37th minute when an unmarked Marsh headed home a cross from Richards, following a short corner routine, to complete his brace.

With seven minutes to go, substitute Louis Briscoe looked well placed to score for the Gulls, after being sent through by Dan Butler, but he was twice denied by Arnold before the ball fell invitingly to Durrell Berry who slotted home to score his first goal for the club, which ended the game as a contest.

Then, in the 88th minute, Wright burst clear of the Forest Green defence to add a fourth as United wrapped up their first league win since October 2015. It was also their first victory in front of the Plainmoor faithful since they defeated Macclesfield Town 1-0 in Cox’s first game in charge on the opening day of the season. 

TUFC XI: Lavercombe, Butler, Smith, Gerring, Nicholson (Carmichael), Berry, Richards, Verma, Heslop, Wright (Finch), Marsh (Briscoe)

Subs Not Used: Geohaghon, Corderoy

2016 – Torquay United 4 Forest Green 3

Torquay shrugged off surrendering a three-goal lead to snatch a 4-3 victory over third-placed Forest Green.

After an uneventful first half, the hosts took the lead in the 55th minute when Nathan Blissett poked in Dan Sparkes’ cross and they had a two-goal cushion ten minutes later after David Fitzpatrick slid the ball home.

It appeared as if Torquay had wrapped up the three points on 69 minutes when Sean McGinty headed home, but they were stunned by three Forest Green goals in four minutes.

Substitute Christian Doidge’s header gave the visitors a lifeline in the 73rd minute before Charlie Clough smashed home a second and Ethan Pinnock nodded in an equaliser.

All the momentum was with Forest Green, but Ben Gerring’s close-range header eight minutes from time gave Torquay a thrilling win.

TUFC XI: Moore, Verma, Rowe-Turner, Gallifuoco (Rooney), Gerring, McGinty, Chaney (Reid), Sparkes (Ward), Richards, Fitzpatrick, Blissett

Subs Not Used: Robba, Williams

2018 – Torquay United 4 Truro City 2

Torquay United went behind against ground-share ‘neighbours’ Truro, but hit back in some style with three goals in eight exhilarating minutes. It was the teams’ first meeting at the Plainmoor ground which has become home for both teams this season.

Truro were coming to the end of a ground-share agreement which has seen them playing their ‘home’ games 90 miles from their Cornish base. However, not before United would face them in the return on New Year’s Day at Plainmoor as the away team.

Tyler Harvey gave City a shock early lead, but Torquay quickly steadied the ship and swept into the lead. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Kalvin Kalala and Asa Hall scored in quick succession to put the league leaders in front. Saikou Janneh made it 4-1 early in the second half. Future Gulls striker Jared Lewington pulled a goal back for Truro late in the game, which proved to be a mere consolation.

TUFC XI: MacDonald, Wynter, Davis, Hall, Koue Niate, Cameron, Andrews (Sendles-White), Lemonheigh-Evans, Reid, Kalala, Janneh (Koszela)

Subs Not Used: Essuman, Burton, Nabi

2020 – Torquay United 6 Yeovil Town 1

Torquay United gave their fans the perfect late Christmas present as they hit Yeovil Town for six to strengthen their lead at top of the National League.

The Gulls avenged their 6-2 defeat against the Glovers on Boxing Day 2019 by recording their biggest ever win over Yeovil in the process.

United were ahead in the fifth minute when Armani Little curled a home free-kick from the edge of the box, after he had been felled by Yeovil’s Charlie Lee.

Four minutes later, Danny Wright doubled the Gulls’ lead when he turned home a Ben Whitfield cross with an angled effort to score his eighth goal of the campaign.

On 21 minutes, United further extended their lead when a downward header from Sam Sherring, following a corner from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, took a deflection off Lee before finding the back of the net. Unfortunately Little’s afternoon ended prematurely as he limped off in the 34th minute and was replaced by Josh Umerah.

Umerah then played a key role in the Gulls’ fourth as he kept the ball in play on the right hand side, which enabled Aaron Nemane to race through and score while the Glovers’ defence were expecting a goal kick to be given.

In the 39th minute, Wright was also forced to exit the field to play and Jake Andrews took his place.

Early in the second half, Yeovil reduced their arrears on 49 minutes after Albi Skendi bundled home following a goal mouth scramble. United restored their four-goal cushion four minutes later when Nemane fed Whitfield on the left, and his low cross found Lemonheigh-Evans who flicked home his fourth of the season.

With seven minutes to go, Kyle Cameron added the Gulls’ sixth as he nodded home a free-kick from Jake Andrews.

TUFC XI: MacDonald, Cameron, Moxey (Kerr), Warren, Sherring, Nemane, Little (Umerah), Randell, Lemonheigh-Evans, Whitfield, Wright (Andrews)

Subs Not Used: Buse, Covolan

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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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