THE CURTAIN came down on the 2015/16 season for Torquay United with a trip to Guiseley.
The hosts went into the game just inside the relegation zone and needed a win to give them any chance of survival whilst also relying on results elsewhere.
With Sam Chaney and Toby Ajala coming into the starting line-up as Kevin Nicholson named himself on the bench, the home side started on the front-foot and after a Hatfield effort was blocked, they took the lead within the opening five minutes when some defensive hesitation allowed Johnson to lift the ball home.
United were struggling to get hold of the ball in opening exchanges following a lively start by out hosts and it didn’t take them long to double their advantage when Boyes did well out wide and his low cross found Hatfield who had the simple task of guiding the ball home from close range.
Some good play in the midfield by Chaney saw him look to play through Nathan Blissett but the home side were alert to clear before a header from Blissett was met with a shot on the turn from Shaun Harrad but it was straight at the ‘keeper.
A positive break from Dudley saw him get in a strike that hit the inside of the post as the rebound was cleared.
It was 3-0 when a neat move from the home side saw Boyes play in Dudley who took the ball around the ‘keeper before slotting home.
There was more concern for the United back-line shortly afterwards when Johnson cut inside before seeing his strike deflected inches wide.
United just couldn’t get a foothold on the game as we were restricted to half-chances and went in at the break trailing by three goals to nil.
The second half started with United straight on the attack as skipper, Courtney Richards, fired just wide of the target.
There was a first change for United as Danny Racchi came on to replace Chaney and shortly afterwards we managed to reduce the arrears when a cross from Aman Verma found the head of Nathan Blissett who made no mistake.
It was a bright start to the half for United, and just on the hour-mark another long throw-in from Geohaghon caused concern as the ball was flicked on by Harrad into the path of Toby Ajala who poked home to make it game on!
There was a great chance for Ben Gerring as he met Danny Racchi’s cross but his header was deflected inches wide and from the resulting corner, Dan Butler curled the ball in and it hit the top of the post.
Andre Wright replaced Ajala as United continued to look the most likely side at this stage.
The home side made it 4-2 when a slip in midfield was seized upon by Lawlor who in turn played through Dudley and he guided the ball home beyond an exposed Brendan Moore.
It wasn’t long before United pulled a goal back when Butler’s deep cross found its way across to Harrad who fired home with a powerful strike that gave the ‘keeper no chance.
The third and final change for United saw Josh Rees replace Luke Young.
The home ‘keeper kept his side in front with a great stop to deny Harrad who found space inside the area before getting in a sweet strike.
It was a tense time for our hosts as they clung onto their lead.
There was a late booking for Dan Butler following a foul on Boyes.
A corner for United was half-cleared and as the ball came back in by Racchi, it found its way to the far post where Ben Gerring fired over from a good position.
The home side managed to keep United at bay in a nervy ending to the game as we signed off the 2015/16 campaign with an entertaining 4-3 defeat, a result which saw our hosts secure their place in The National League.