United dominated possession and created some chances but suffered defeat at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.
Torquay United player-manager Kevin Nicholson had to deal with a raft of injuries and suspensions leading into today’s match. Not including Charlie Duke and Will Hancox who are on loan, five players were missing for the trip to Chester. New signings Joel Ambalu and Billy Palfrey joined Kevin Nicholson to make up a three-man bench.
The game started brightly but it was Chester that forced the first couple of chances. Elliott Durrell’s free-kick pulled out the best of Brendan Moore as the ‘keeper sprung himself into action to tip the ball wide of goal.
In the 16th minute Nathan Blissett got up a head of steam coming in from the left wing. His shot didn’t match the quality of the build-up though as he fired well wide of Chester’s goal.
The deciding moment of the match came in the 25th minute when they were awarded a penalty.
Elliott Durrell’s strike was saved by Moore – his second penalty save in successive matches. However Ryan Lloyd reacted the quickest to put the Blues ahead.
Moore was lucky not to be caught out just before the half-time whistle when, trying to let the ball go out of play he let Lloyd get in and chip towards goal. Fortunately for the Gulls his effort went wide of goal.
United had their best opportunity of the match in the 51st minute. Nathan Blissett headed wide from a Luke Young corner – it would have been the ideal way to get back into the game.
Nine minutes later United had to rely on defender Sean McGinty and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner to be sharp inside the box. Thanks to a McGinty block and a Rowe-Turner clearance off the line the Gulls kept the score to 1-0.
United may have thought that it wasn’t their day when a flurry of activity in Chester’s box didn’t end with an equalizer. First United couldn’t quite convert when Gallifuoco got on the end of a Luke Young corner. Then Damon Lathrope will wonder how his shot from distance in the 76th minute didn’t equalize for United. Chester goalkeeper Liam Roberts palmed the ball onto the woodwork in spectacular fashion. Finally Sean McGinty went close with the follow-up but he couldn’t convert.
Chester weren’t without chances of their own as United pushed for an equalizer.
Moore denied former Gull Jordan Chapell and then James Alabi in quick succession.
Torquay United player-manager praised much of what his team did in the 90 minutes but was realistic when assessing the performance as a whole.
“I’ve just told them [the players] in there [the changing room], do not think for one moment that we were unlucky. We weren’t unlucky and it was our fault that we lost. For a huge, huge portion of the game we were very good,” said Nicholson.
“We must have had about 75% of possession, we created chances and the ‘keeper has pulled off a few good saves. We pretty much had the whole game in their half bar a few spells here and there but if you are a bit naïve. If you dive in when somebody is running at you in the box. If you don’t follow in a penalty. If you give the ball back to the team when it is a foul and allow them to take a quick one and break on you – little things that if you are 28 [years old] and you’ve been around the block and you know the game you don’t do.
“We are so honest and so young and naïve at times that we make the basic mistakes. Overall I think they were very good. You come away from some games feeling thoroughly disappointed and depressed and wondering what you could’ve done better. It is just the very tiny bits today that have let them down.
“They’ve come to a team that’s the form team and the league and I think they’ve pretty much given them a good battering. But credit to them [Chester], they through bodies in the way, the ‘keeper when called upon did what he was supposed to do and they’ve taken their one real chance. I know they had a couple at the end when we’re going for it but overall I am pretty pleased”.
The Gulls enjoy FA Cup action this coming Saturday as they take on Woking FC at Plainmoor in a 3pm kick off.