UNITED chalked up another comfortable success of the pre-season campaign, building on a win over the Royal Marines with a 2-0 triumph at home to Tiverton Town on Tuesday night.
Bristow’s Bench was given a taster of the season ahead with a decent crowd inside Plainmoor enjoying the marvellous new grandstand and they witnessed a confident display from the Yellows.
Manager Martin Ling fielded a different side for each half and the first version opened the scoring with a sweet striker by Ashley Yeoman. A raft of chances in the second period culminated in Danny Stevens sealing the win from close range.
The brilliant sunshine of a summer evening on the Riviera was reflected by a bright opening from the Gulls and Billy Bodin in particular, cutting in from the right to warm the hands of Chris Wright with a dipping shot from distance.
Tiverton responded with a stinger from 30 yards by Andy Taylor, which needed the extended fingertips of Michael Poke to turn over the home crossbar.
The Gulls gradually exerted a mild measure of control as the first half progressed, with Bodin and Niall Thompson menacing down the wings and Craig Easton pulling the strings in midfield.
Lee Mansell was denied a clear header on goal by a super clearance from Tiverton skipper Paul Kendall, a former Plymouth Argyle trainee and local lad to Torquay, while Kevin Nicholson had a skidding shot easily saved.
The half-hour mark arrived with a nasty blow to the head for Joe Oastler and manager Martin Ling was forced into an unplanned early change, bringing on Daniel Leadbitter as a straight replacement.
From nowhere, United were in front, Yeoman picking up on the loose ball after some scrappy play and rifling in a low shot from 22 yards that beat Wright low to his left. It was a decent strike but the visiting ‘keeper will feel disappointed with the outcome.
The half ended with a Bodin cross sublimely controlled on the turn by Rene Howe, but his off-balance poke at goal was just the wrong side of the post.
The second period opened with the Gulls looking determined to add gloss to the scoreline and Lloyd Macklin raced clear for a perfect opportunity to fulfil that wish, only to fluff his lines with the final shot.
Ryan Jarvis then tested Wright with two decent strikes before Macklin unleashed a dipping drive from distance, again beaten clear by the goalkeeper.
Tiverton threatened with an equaliser as the game entered its final quarter, Kendall rising highest from a corner to thunder a powerful header narrowly past Martin Rice’s far post.
It was a false dawn for the visitors, however, as the Gulls added a second goal. Leadbitter caused the first problem, crossing for Jarvis to head against the post and then Stevens was in the right to crack a low shot in off the post.
United immediately made a couple of changes, removing Stevens and Leadbitter to give youth-team prospect Danny Sullivan a run out and also George Artemi, who is training with the Gulls to build his fitness.
As proceedings sauntered to a satisfactory conclusion, Macklin curled a clever shot toward the top corner, forcing Wright into another smart save for the final act of a happy night in the sun.
United First-Half Squad: Michael Poke; Joe Oastler (Daniel Leadbitter 31), Kevin Nicholson, Aaron Downes, Lee Mansell, Rene Howe, Billy Bodin, Kirtys MacKenzie, Craig Easton, Niall Thompson, Ashley Yeoman
United Second-Half Squad: Martin Rice; Brian Saah, Damon Lathrope, Ryan Jarvis, Ian Morris, Daniel Leadbitter (George Artemi 68)Lloyd Macklin, Danny Stevens (Danny Sullivan 68), Nathan Craig, Thomas Cruise, Jake Hutchings