TORQUAY United returned to League action for the first time since the end of January with a trip to 20th-placed Boreham Wood.
With Toby Ajala, Nathan Blissett and Shaun Harrad brought back into the side, player-manager, Kevin Nicholson decided to drop himself to the substitutes’ bench.
It was the home side who created the first opportunities as firstly Durrell Berry did well to deny Lucas on the line before the same player cut inside moments later before seeing his strike fly well over.
At the other end, a neat passage of play from United ended with Danny Racchi threading through Nathan Blissett whose effort was pushed out well by the home ‘keeper.
United went on to force four corners in the opening 20 minutes but we were unable to make any of them count.
We were seeing more of the ball without troubling Russell in the home goal too much as a high corner found Ajala who failed to capitalise.
On the half-hour mark, Ajala did well out wide before playing the ball in for Harrad whose snap-shot was saved by the legs of Russell.
A free-kick was dangerously whipped in to the danger zone by Billy Clifford as Angus MacDonald did well to head behind as Dan Lavercombe hesitated.
With Ajala causing concern for the home side, he won a free-kick which was only half-cleared and as the ball came back in for Blissett, his effort was saved by the ‘keeper.
There were loud appeals for a penalty moments later as Blissett was bundled over inside the area but the referee was unimpressed.
In stoppage time at the end of the half, some neat play from United ended with Harrad getting in a sweet strike on target but the ball took a deflection off Blissett which took it inches wide.
There was still time for another sharp passage of United play as this time a great opening was created for Ajala who was well off target with his eventual effort.
It was goalless at the break but United were the better side, seeing more of the ball and creating the better opportunities.
United started on the attack in the second period and a free-kick in a dangerous position was fired on target by Harrad as Russell saved well. The ball stayed alive from the rebound and Richards delivered it back into the area where Harrad was inches over with his effort.
On 50 minutes, Courtney Richards saw yellow for a foul on Cox.
The opening goal finally arrived just before the hour-mark when Butler did well in midfield to pick our Durrell Berry whose cross was perfect for the head of Blissett who made no mistake for 1-0.
With our tails up, Ajala did well before his strike was deflected narrowly wide of the target.
As the half went on, we continued to work hard for each other and looked like a solid unit to frustrate Boreham Wood.
Some great hold-up play from Harrad saw him feed Richards whose inviting ball saw Rees just fail to guide the ball goalwards.
There was a crucial save by Dan Lavercombe to deny the home side in a rare foray forward before moments later, Sam-Yorke went down inside the area but the referee waves away the appeals as he did for United in the first half.
As the home side started to pose a few questions with the clock ticking down, United remained solid to keep them at bay.
With five minutes to go, Sam Chaney came on to replace Ajala in United’s first change of the afternoon.
In the final minute of normal time, a powerful header from Sam-Yorke rattled the crossbar for the home side but United survived to clear the danger.
With the 249 members of the Yellow Army, making up nearly half of the total crowd, in great voice, United soaked up some late pressure to claim a crucial – and fully deserved – three points.
Now on to Tuesday and our home game against Welling United...