TORQUAY United made light work of Bromley to book a fully deserved place in the third round of the FA Trophy.
Goals from Ben Harding and Toby Ajala had the Gulls cruising at half-time, and the visitors from the Conference South were swept aside by further strikes from Ryan Bowman and Ashley Yeoman in the second period.
United manager Chris Hargreaves made one change to the side held to a draw by Alfreton last weekend. Duane Ofori-Acheampong dropped down to the bench, allowing a return to the wing for Courtney Cameron and Ajala pushed forward to a role in behind the main striker, Bowman.
Bromley boss Mark Goldberg was looking for a response from his team after a home loss to Concord Rangers in the Conference South but losing skipper Rob Swaine to a failed fitness test before the game was a worrying start. The familiar name to United fans was striker Jordan Robertson, who enjoyed a loan spell at TQ1 in 2006.
United took just two minutes to conjure a glorious opportunity for the opener, as Ajala slipped a pass wide for Jordan Chapell to run opposed into the right channel. The goal was gaping for a shot but the young winger opted to seek out Bowman at the far post and the pass was too strong.
Despite spurning a great chance, the Gulls continued to dominate possession and another threaded pass from Ajala picked out Bowman for a one-on-one with goalkeeper Seb Brown, who kept the scores level by saving with his feet.
Bromley were struggling to contain the Yellow pace in attack and a searing run from Ajala led to Brown producing another decent low save. The visitors decided the best response was to break forward at the other end and United required a strong challenge from Aaron Downes to clear the danger.
While the Ravens were battling to handle United’s movement, a succession of three corners gave the travelling supporters some hope and Robertson went close with a header from one delivery by Louis Dennis.
The wind began to play a role as both sides struggled to maintain their rhythm but Adam Birchall used a gust to his advantage with a fizzing shot from distance that Jordan Seabright could only beat away with his fists.
Just when United’s grip on proceedings appeared to loosen, Harding picked up a pass from Cameron and shifted the ball onto his right foot for a 20-yard shot that took a significant deflection on its way past the stranded Brown.
It was a decent strike from the experienced midfielder and a very welcome first goal in a Yellow shirt, but a modicum of sympathy to Bromley’s custodian, who had little chance to make a save after being wrong-footed by the ball striking his own defender.
If United’s first had a slice of luck, the second took out a huge chunk, although massive credit to Courtney Cameron for a sensational weaving run that left the Bromley defence with twisted blood.
His cut-back to Bowman saw a fierce drive that Brown somehow kept out, with the help of captain Danny Waldren, but when the visitors attempted to clear, Ajala got in a block that led to the ball squirming over the line.
It was, again, unfortunate for Bromley but the Gulls were well worth the two-goal lead and the confidence in Yellow ranks was typified by Bowman’s audacious volley from distance arrowing just wide.
Cameron was next to have a pop, scooping the ball over with his right foot with a shot on the turn. The lively Ajala also fired over from long-range but a satisfactory first-half performance from the men in Yellow.
Bromley emerged from the interval knowing an early riposte could be pivotal and Robertson should have done better than steer a half-volley over the bar after finding space in the penalty area from a Moses Ademola cross.
It would prove to be a pivotal miss, as the excellent Tom Cruise slipped the ball to Cameron on the left and his delicious cross was perfect for Bowman to nod home a decisive third goal at the back post.
Chapell was next to find a pocket space in behind a tiring Bromley defence but Brown was equal to the curling effort toward the top corner, and Hargreaves freshened up his troops at the next opportunity, removing Bowman for Yeoman.
A flowing move awoke Seabright from his relative slumber on 66 minutes and the young goalkeeper produced a fabulous double-save to deny Ademola on two occasions, earning himself rapturous applause from the Yellow Army.
Both managers turned back to their bench, with Damian Scannell replacing Birchall for Bromley and the Yellow change saw Louis Briscoe come on for the outstanding Ajala.
Bromley were now in the desperate hunt for a consolation and United needed a goal-line clearance from Downes to maintain their clean sheet. Krystian Pearce repeated the trick moments later after a corner from Dennis.
Eden Dewar-Douglas replaced Joe Anderson for the closing ten minutes and United’s final change followed soon after, with Cameron withdrawn to give Angus MacDonald a run, as the Gulls sought to shut up shop.
Bromley were visibly exhausted but that was no dampening the praise for Yeoman, who skipped inside beautifully before lashing a tremendous left-foot finish past Brown to add further gloss to an accomplished United display.
The Gulls were having fun and a dazzling turn from Briscoe made room for a thunderous half-volley that missed the top corner by a whisker. The same Gull lashed over again with his next effort, as Bromley legs had completely gone.
Young missed the final chance to make it five after being picked out by Briscoe but still a very competent performance, and United march onto the third round.
United (4-4-2): 23 Jordan Seabright; 29 Durrell Berry, 5 Krystian Pearce, 4 Aaron Downes, 3 Tom Cruise; 12 Jordan Chapell, 8 Luke Young (capt), 6 Ben Harding, 11 Courtney Cameron (21 Angus MacDonald 81); 10 Toby Ajala (7 Louis Briscoe 69), 9 Ryan Bowman (14 Ashley Yeoman 63). Substitutes (not used): 1 Martin Rice (GK), 24 Duane Ofori-Acheampong.
Bromley (4-4-2): 1 Seb Brown; 2 Ugo Udoji, 5 Danny Waldren (capt), 6 Jack Holland, 3 Joe Anderson (16 Eden Dewar-Douglas 80); 7 Moses Ademola, 4 Reece Prestedge, 8 Ali Fuseini, 11 Louis Dennis; 9 Jordan Robertson, 10 Adam Birchall (14 Damian Scannell 69). Substitutes (not used): 12 Paul Rodgers, 13 Paul Agu (GK).
Referee: Steven Rushton
Attendance: 1,507 (114 away).