United and Forest Green Rovers delivered seven goals on Boxing Day. New Year’s Day saw them share ten goals in a day that the 434 Gulls fans in attendance will never forget.
In United’s 3,722nd match, they shared their first 5-5 draw (credit @torquayfanstats) on a day when goals were relatively easy to come by at The New Lawn.
United had their wingers to thank for providing and finishing on the day. A goal from Aman Verma and an own goal by Ethan Pinnock were sandwiched between two goals from Dan Sparkes and a magnificent free-kick from David Fitzpatrick. United kept getting away from their South West rivals but goals from Keanu Marsh-Brown, Christian Doidge, and a contested own goal from Brendan Moore earned them a point.
Kevin Nicholson had to change personnel after Giancarlo Gallifuoco was ruled out awaiting the scan results on an injury picked up in the corresponding match at Plainmoor. Millwall loanee Paul Rooney came in to replace him and make his fourth appearance for the Gulls.
Forest Green Rovers opened the scoring in the 4th minute when a dummy from midfielder Darren Carter set up Keanu Marsh-Brown to score low into the bottom far corner.
AFC Wimbledon loanee David Fitzpatrick started to take the game to FGR from that moment on.
United’s equalizer was a tidy move that started with United breaking up play and ended with a cross by Fitzpatrick being converted at the far post by Dan Sparkes. It was his 4th goal of the season, and was vital in turning the game back in United’s favour after the Green’s fast start.
United took the lead with a goal in the 21st minute that was very similar to their first. Again Fitzpatrick found his fellow winger Sparkes at the far post score his fifth goal of the season.
Kieffer Moore nearly equalized for the Green in the 28th minute but his header from a Dale Bennett cross failed to find the target.
29 minutes had passed and the game had already produced four goals when Keanu Marsh-Brown got his second of the match after a cutback from Dale Bennett.
Kieffer Moore went close again in the 33rd minute but yet again he couldn’t get a header on target.
Aman Verma got his first goal of the season in the 40th minute. Again, it was Fitzpatrick that supplied the ball, this time from a corner, for United to score their third. Half-time and United were leading 3-2.
The goals continued to flow in the second half. It took just five minutes for the score to change once again. Fitzpatrick’s driving run and low ball into the box tested FGR. Ethan Pinnock was caught out and the ball went into his own net after hitting the FGR defender – 4-2!
Ben Gerring went very close to scoring in the 57th minute but the ball skipped past him at the last moment.
United’s lead was once again pinned back when in the 62nd minute Christian Doidge turned in after a header from Elliot Frear. United didn’t react to the danger inside their own box and it was a soft goal on a day when defences were certainly not on top.
Fitzpatrick had created all four of United’s goals, and he took the chance of getting on the score sheet himself in the 67th minute. His free-kick from 25 yards deceived Russell and put United two goals clear once more.
In a game that had produced eight goals, it seems absurd to claim that neither goalkeeper had had much to do. But it was only in the 69th minute that Brendan Moore had a meaningful save to make. Although Kieffer Moore didn’t get on the score sheet, he went close on many occasions and Moore had to tip his effort over the bar.
Frear was starting to change the game after his introduction in the 53rd minute. His low shot was parried by Moore, but fell into the path of Christan Doidge who got his second of the match.
Then came the equalizing goal for FGR, and it was a contentious one. Yellow shirts were adamant that Brendan Moore had been unfairly charged into the net by substitute Shamir Mullings.
Despite feeling hard done conceding a contentious equalizer, United can hold their heads high having claimed four points over the festive period against promotion contenders Forest Green Rovers.
The Gulls take on Boreham Wood on January 7 at Plainmoor. You can buy your tickets online here.