Ten-man Terras suffer Tuesday loss

We have suffered only our third loss in 12 matches after we were beaten 3-1 away to Torquay United on Tuesday night at Plainmoor.

This result leaves us 18th in the National League South table, three points above the drop zone.

We are, however, five points and six places better off than this time last year round.

It was always going to be difficult playing away to an in-form side who are in the play-offs, especially considering we were looking for our first win at Plainmoor in 14 years.

The score was also reflective of our Tuesday night struggles, a type of fixture which we have only been able to win once so far this season.

The hosts led for much of the game, after Brett McGavin gave The Gulls the lead with a superb free-kick just four minutes in.

Former Terra Bradley Ash then came back to haunt us by doubling his side’s lead just past the half-hour mark.

We managed to pull one back four minutes before the break when Elliot Bolton scored with a beautifully-struck volley.

Then, after a series of injuries to both sides in the second half, Lewis Collins found his side’s third with just 14 minutes left on the clock, which ended up being the final goal of the game.

Bobby Wilkinson made two changes following our draw at home to Aveley last month, Keelan O’Connell and Ben Thomson being introduced for the suspended Teddy Howe and Joel Rollinson.

Any hopes that the game would start brightly for us vanished after four minutes.

O’Connell, who returned to his old ground, was judged to have tripped Jack Stobbs more than 20 yards from goal.

The distance did not bother McGavin one bit, firing over the wall into the top-right corner past Gerard Benfield, who had no chance of keeping the ball out.

Our first chance was an Olu Durojaiye effort which was fired well over the bar, perhaps a reflection of how the game’s opening minutes had gone for us.

Then came O’Connell’s opportunity after 22 minutes.

The winger found himself in the box when Dan Roberts provided him with a cross.

However, he was unable to direct his header towards goal as he saw it fly wide.

The first injury casualty was Tom Lapslie, who was on the receiving end following a heavy Durojaiye tackle just four minutes later.

This didn’t slow down the hosts though, as they doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark.

The goal was frustratingly scored by Ash, who fired past Benfield against his former club.

The Torquay forward hit a curling low-driven shot just inside the 18-year area, again leaving our shot-stopper with little chance to parry the ball away.

Their lead would thankfully be halved 10 minutes later, when Bolton struck a half-volley on the edge of the box towards the bottom right-hand corner, resulting in his first goal for The Terras.

However, as both sides headed down the tunnel, we would have a lot of work to do after the break if we were to come away with any points.

The second half began with The Gulls in control, Ash having the chance to grab his second had he managed to get on the end of a Torquay cross.

Injuries would then rock both sides in the space of a minute, Ash and Brandon Goodship limping off in place of Ryan Hanson and Rollinson respectively.

The hosts then had to make their final change after 67 minutes, with Stobbs being stretchered off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

The game then appeared to slow down in terms of chances, instead increasing in terms of fouls and bookings.

Collins, who had already been booked for the hosts, avoided a second booking following a foul.

The referee’s choice not to issue Collins a red card would quickly come to haunt us.

With just 15 minutes, the forward reacted quicker than our defence to a lengthy goal kick from Mark Halstead, carrying the ball a short distance into the box before blasting the ball past the helpless Benfield.

Our night would then soon be inflicted with more hardship when Calvin Brooks was judged to have brought down Theo Williams.

Already on a booking, the defender was handed his second yellow card, leaving us with 10 men for the last nine minutes.

With Brooks being given his marching orders for the second time this season, his dismissal capped off an ultimately miserable night for our team.

Match report
By Jack Webb

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