TORQUAY United got 2016 underway with a trip to Forest Green Rovers in a game that was screened live on BT Sport.
Having beaten our hosts 4-1 on Boxing Day, United were looking for more success against a side that went in the game in second place in the table.
The opening exchanges saw both sides trying to get a foot-hold into the game. It took until the 12th minute for the first effort on goal as a neat United move ended with Andre Wright feeding Tyrone Marsh whose strike was gathered by the home ‘keeper.
A high ball pumped into the area by Angus MacDonald caused problems for the FGR defence and as the loose ball fell to Wright, he was wayward with his strike.
The next attack saw Marsh try his luck with a low effort that had to be pushed out by Arnold in the home goal who was almost caught out.
United were playing with plenty of determination and working hard for each other once more as the home side were restricted to very few opportunities.
An effort from the edge of the area by Kevin Nicholson went well wide of the target just past the half-hour mark.
At the other end, Dale Bennett’s strike was tipped over by Dan Lavercombe who took no chances as the resulting corner found its way to Darren Carter whose attempt was blocked by Butler.
The opening period wasn’t a good one for the neutral as chances were few and far between but as far as United were concerned, we looked solid and well-organised.
There was a positive start to the second half as three minutes in, a neat move on the left from United saw Butler deliver an inviting ball to the far post where Aman Verma was on hand to find the net from close range to make it 1-0 to United!
As the home side looked to get back on level terms, Lavercombe was brave and alert to clear ahead of Sinclair.
The equaliser arrived on 66 minutes when substitute, Keanu Marsh-Brown, delivered in a free-kick that bounced in off the shin of Kurtis Guthrie and went in off the unfortunate Ben Gerring.
It was a scrappy goal to concede but it brought the home side to life.
A good ball from Marsh-Brown picked out Frear whose positive run ended with him firing over the crossbar as the clock ticked down.
With 83 minutes on the clock, the home side were given a penalty when the referee adjudged Berry to have handled inside the area. It seemed to take everyone by surprise as Berry was spoken to but not even booked.
Darren Carter stepped up and slotted home to give FGR the lead.
It was cruel on United but we continued to press for an equaliser as Berry fired an effort over the crossbar.
In stoppage time, a powerful swerving strike from the lively Marsh-Brown gave Lavercombe no chance as it made the scoreline 3-1 and sealed the points for the home side.
As has been the case in each of our festive games, there were plenty of encouraging signs to come out of the game against one of the leading National League sides.