TORQUAY United began the Kevin Nicholson era with a home encounter with Aldershot Town.
The player-manager took his familiar left-back role as Dan Butler moved into the heart of defence alongside newly-installed skipper, Angus MacDonald as Exodus Geohaghon was ruled out through injury.
The opening exchanges saw United working hard to win the ball and apply pressure on our visitors.
There was a good early tempo to the proceedings with both sides playing their part and showing plenty of spirit and endeavour.
Fabian Spiess did well to deny The Shots early on as a well-worked corner ended with a low strike at goal but the ‘keeper was able to push the ball away from danger.
At the other end, Tyrone Marsh made room for a strike at goal but his effort was blocked.
Then a free-kick from Louis Briscoe was delivered into the danger zone where the ‘keeper was caught in two minds as the ball struck the woodwork before being gathered by the grateful Smith.
Another Spiess saved denied the visitors but it wasn’t long before they took the lead when a free-kick from distance by Hatton found its way into the net.
With their confidence high, Aldershot continued to press and they were able to double their advantage with ten minutes to go until the break when a sharp passing move ended with Walker curling the ball home beyond the reach of Spiess.
The closing stages of the first half saw Marsh denied a penalty before James Hurst’s strike was blocked as United ended the opening period strongly.
A free-kick from player-manager, Nicholson caused more problems for the Shots’ ‘keeper as the loose ball was scrambled clear for a corner, which ultimately came to nothing, and then Durrell Berry tried his luck in the next attack but his long-range effort flew over as we went in two goals down at the break.
The second period starting with an inviting cross from Shepherd Murombedzi asking questions of the visitors’ back-line as they scrambled clear.
Hurst went agonisingly close with a free-kick before at the other end, Stevenson saw his strike deflected just wide of the target.
With Alex Fisher on for Briscoe, there was some brave defending from Nathan Smith to deny The Shots, which required him to receive some treatment before returning to the action.
Another change saw Fergus Bell take the place of Murombedzi before there were bookings in quick succession for Simon Heslop and then Berry for fouls.
As the clock ticked down, Ashley Yeoman was introduced in place of Marsh, but United couldn’t find a way through a well-marshalled Aldershot rear-guard as the game ended in a 2-0 defeat.
We must pick ourselves up and be ready to go again on Tuesday as we play host to Dover Athletic at The Launa Windows Stadium.