United played out an entertaining if frustrating draw away to Weston-super-Mare on a cold Tuesday night.
Weston took the lead in the 1st half thanks to Matt Bower. United equalised in the second half through Saikou Janneh, and then took the lead thanks for a fantastic goal from Opi Edwards, but it wasn’t to be. Bradley Ash smashed in a late equaliser for Weston to keep a point in Somerset.
In the first half it was United’s high press against Weston’s willingness to pass out from the back. There were many occasions when Weston came close to losing the ball through a desire to pass inside their own penalty box between goalkeeper and defender. To their credit they kept frustrating United.
United forged two opportunities within a couple of minutes. First Opi Edwards shot wide with Weston stretched to breaking point at the back. The ball just bobbled up to strike his shin as he was about to pull the trigger. Then Jamie Reid shot wide in another breakaway. United were moving the ball with accuracy up until the last killer ball.
After a spell of United pressure in which it looked like they would be the ones to open the scoring, it was Weston that took the lead. Matt Bower met a free-kick into the box and opened up his right foot to guided the ball past MacDonald who had little chance from close range.
George Essuman succumbed to injury just before the half-time break and was replaced by Ben Wynter. Ruairi Keating was brought on at half-time to replace Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala.
United didn’t take long after the break to equalise. A shot from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans was spilled back into the danger are and there was Saikou Janneh to score at the third opportunity.
Reid then struck a delightful left-footed shot that smashed against the crossbar in the 53rd minute. It deserved more.
Despite being on top in terms of opportunities, United’s performance was starting to become a little less convincing than in has been in previous weeks. Weston refused to lower their work-rate and were still popping the ball around in search of another goal.
Keating went close with a header, and then Janneh shot over after the ball was laid off by Connor Lemonheigh-Evans. Janneh then set up Lemonheigh-Evans to fire over in a similar manner.
Lemonheigh-Evans’ influence was growing on the game but time was running out for United to find another goal. Opi Edwards took the initiative, and with style. He took the ball at speed into the box after seizing on a loose ball. He went past one man and then struck a powerful shot past the ‘keeper.
Minutes later United conceded a penalty after Samir Nabi was adjudged to have handled the ball after Weston had forced some sustained pressure on United’s goalmouth. Nabi was shown a straight red card. Up stepped Shaun MacDonald to dive to his left and pull off an outstanding penalty save. Combined with two other terrific saves, he kept United in the contest. at that point.
Unfortunately United switched off just two minutes later when Bradley Ash pounced on a ball that United should have defended better. He rifled the ball past MacDonald to earn a point.
The Yellow Army swelled the crowd to over 1700 hundred fans. Best estimate was that there was 1,000 Torquay United fans in the ground. Torquay United manager picked out the support on the night as the one positive from the match.
Thank you for your support!
TUFC: 1 Shaun MacDonald (GK), 3 Liam Davis, 4 George Essuman [2 Ben Wynter 45’+1], 10 Saikou Janneh, 11 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 12 Opi Edwards, 15 Jean-Yves Koue Niate 16 Ryan Dickson, 17 Kyle Cameron, 19 Jamie Reid, 20 Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala [7 Ruairi Keating HT] SUBS 9 Brett Williams, 13 George Burton,
Booked: Dickson 28′
Referee: Mark Howes
Attendance: 1,730 (unsegregated)