THERE was stoppage time agony for Torquay United as we fell to a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of in-form Dover Athletic.
It was United who launched the first raid when James Hurst did well out wide and his cross just evaded Alex Fisher who was waiting in the middle.
As our visitors tried to get into their stride, Nathan Smith did well to deny former Gull, Ajala as he looked to make progress.
There was a yellow card for Dan Butler for a foul on Ajala shortly afterwards as Dover started to pose one or two questions and force a series of corner, which all came to nothing.
Smith did well to bravely block a goal-bound effort from Parkinson but it wasn’t long before the visitors took the lead when Payne broke through before slotting the ball home beyond the advancing Fabian Spiess with 14 minutes on the clock.
The goal brought a response from United as Hurst tried his luck only for his effort to be deflected away, then a cross from Butler was only half-cleared as far as Fisher who saw his header creep just wide.
A loose back-pass almost cost us dear as Payne was alert but as he looked to go round Spiess, the angle beat him.
There was another scare when Payne put an inviting ball into the danger zone as Miller just failed to connect in front of goal.
With half-time approaching, United got back onto level terms when the returning Courtney Richards won the ball following a Dover free-kick and Hurst was able to break away before applying the finish to make it 1-1.
The Yellow Army was in good voice as Durrell Berry fired just over right at the end of the opening period.
United continued in the same vein at the start of the second half as a neat flick-on by Fisher found Louis Briscoe whose strike was saved by the feet of Walker in the visitors’ goal as he managed to grab onto the loose ball.
Spiess did well at the other end to deny Payne, whilst skipper, Angus MacDonald was alert to block a teasing cross from Ajala.
A cross from Fisher caused problems for the visitors’ defence but they were able to breathe a sigh of relief when the ball was eventually cleared.
United were showing some positive signs with Hurst in particular looking a threat and he was denied by the ‘keeper.
The next attack saw Briscoe and Butler combine to good effect but once again Walker was on hand to make the save.
There was a blow for Kevin Nicholson’s side when Parkinson was able to head the visitors back in front from close range against the run of play.
In the wake of the goal, Nicholson and Briscoe made way for Fergus Bell and Shepherd Murombedzi respectively.
A powerful header from Fisher was saved by Walker before loud penalty appeals for United were waved away by the referee as the clock ticked down.
The equaliser finally arrived with just two minutes remaining as a cross from the left by Murombedzi was met by the head of Hurst and the ball nestled in the back of the net.
There was joy around The Launa Windows Stadium and we went into stoppage time with United going for the winner.
Unfortunately there was to be a sting in the tail as a strike from the edge of the area from Payne found its way home to make it 3-2 and make it an undeserved defeat for United.