United recovered from a tepid opening match of the season to beat Bromley at Plainmoor on a cool summer’s evening.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson had a fully-fit squad to pick from and could include Gibraltar International goalkeeper Jamie Robba for the first time in his matchday squad. Non-contract signing Giancarlo Gallifuoco is still awaiting International clearance and could not be included.
Nicholson picked the same first eleven that started the game against Macclesfield. Whether that signified a challenge to his men after Saturday’s performance, or was based purely on tactical decisions, it proved effective.
However, United started slowly, and allowed Bromley too much time and space on the ball. They kept the Raverns at bay though, offering little up front but holding their opponent back from dominating the game.
United wrestled the game back from Bromley through some incisive attacking play. They eased into a combative and resilient tempo that they kept going for the rest of the ninety minutes. The chances soon came.
It is surprising what a few shots on goal can do to a side. Ben Gerring was the first to threaten the Bromley goal. Damon Lathrope teed Luke Young up to send a ball into the box that Gerring headed wide. Brett Williams and Nathan Blissett soon followed with chances of their own. Williams flashed a shot past the post. Luke Young tried to beat Bromley ‘keeper Alan Julian with a whipped strike from distance.
On another night United striker Nathan Blissett would have come away with a goal, or even a brace, but tonight still outlined the striker’s value to his team. The sheer physicality and pace of our number nine caused numerous problems for Bromley’s defence.
Despite upping their game United should have gone behind when Adam Cunnington headed wide at the far post. It was among the best opportunities in the first half and was a let-off for United’s back line.
The Gulls needed someone to turn the match their way and it was defender Ben Gerring that provided the breakthrough. Dan Sparkes produced the ball – an out swinging corner that ‘Gez’ powered into the top corner after beating his man with a run across the six yard box.
It was Gerring’s first goal for Torquay United and he enjoyed the moment.
Without ever being at their best, United had the three points within their grasp.
Kevin Nicholson made one change at half-time. Sam Chaney replaced Damon Lathrope in a tactical switch that would lead to the young midfielder picking up the Man of the Match award.
Chaney made an instant impact. He helped United be more dangerous in the last third of the pitch, keeping possession when needed and driving at their defence when appropriate.
Brett Williams showed moments of class and composure, but it could have been topped off by his run and shot mid-way through the second half that smashed against the bar. The frustration from the striker and the crowd was palpable.
Bromley were threatening in parts. Just before he was replaced by Jamie Reid, Brett Williams took one for the team when he stopped a Bromley counter attack and received a yellow card.
On the whole it was a tightly contested match, and it heightened in the second half with some tough but fair tackles from both sides. Although the match was far from a classic, there was plenty to enjoy on the pitch appreciating two committed teams.
Nathan Blissett spurned United’s best chance of the second half, although Luke Young would run him close later on.
Blissett couldn’t find a finish when well-placed in the box. The ball never ran steady for the front man and the ball was cleared before he could strike.
Dan Sparkes and Luke Young broke free with just moments of the game to go. They passed the ball between each other, just waiting for the moment to pull the trigger. It was left to Luke Young to commit the killing stroke but his shot lacked power and precision and allowed Julian to claim the ball down to his right.
United claimed their first three points of the season and helped erase some of the hangover from Saturday’s poor showing.
A similar but improved performance on Saturday should wipe the slate clean.