Buckland Athletic 0
(Lumbombo-Kalala 64′, Wynter 70′, Price 82′)
United took another step towards preparing for the 2019/20 Vanarama National League season, with a 3-0 victory over a spirited Buckland Athletic at Homers Heath.
After a goalless first hour, United got the goals their possession deserved, courtesy of second-half strikes from Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala, Ben Wynter and Owen Price.
The first real chance fell the way of Gary Johnson’s men on four minutes. Olaf Koszela, boosted by his goal against Bideford on Tuesday, showed a swift turn of pace to trouble Buckland’s trailing defenders, before lifting a delicate chip over the ‘keeper and onto the roof of the net.
On nine minutes United came even closer. Ruairi Keating took a quick throw and found Koszela, who showed good awareness to tee-up Jake Andrews for a terrific volley which rattled the post, with former Torquay man Kenny Griffiths well beaten.
The home side were competing well, but the chances continued to come The Gulls’ way. This time Keating sent in a teasing ball into the box, which Armani Little met with a diving header – just wide.
As was the case on Tuesday, Little was again proving integral to all of Torquay’s best moves as they continued to dominate proceedings.
Ex-Taunton Town man Matt Buse was also showing some nice touches at right-back, and he enjoyed the freedom to join the attack at every opportunity.
United had the ball in the net just past the half-hour mark following their fourth corner of the game, but alas, Kyle Cameron’s header was ruled out for a foul.
Unperturbed, they continued to press, and five minutes before the interval it was Jamie’s Reid’s chance to go close. Captain Asa Hall brought the ball out the ball out from defence and found last season’s leading scorer, with only a late intervention from a covering defender preventing him from giving Torquay the lead their possession so richly deserved.
Athletic’s goal was by now leading a charmed life, illustrated perfectly in the 42nd minute, as United struck the woodwork again. Cameron was the man denied on this occasion, following another flowing move that cut through the Buckland backline.
Despite a plethora of chances, Johnson’s men had to be content with a goalless score line at the interval.
The pattern of the game was much the same at the start of the second-half, with Torquay well on top.
On 52 minutes, Hall met a cross into the box with a trademark firm header, which forced Buckland’s substitute keeper into a fine full-length save.
On the hour-mark, half-time substitute Lumbombo-Kalala nearly profited, but once again United’s luck was out, with a clearance off the line preceding the Frenchman’s effort over the bar.
Just when you started to question whether it was going to be their day, United struck twice within a few minutes.
In the 64th minute, Lumbombo-Kalala jinked into the box and calmly slotted the ball home to give Torquay the lead.
Six minutes later, the lead was doubled. Lumbombo-Kalala, threatening to go clear, went down following a collision with the home keeper. In the goalmouth scramble that followed, it was left to Ben Wynter to evoke memories of his strike against Woking last season, by firing into the roof of the net and make it 2-0.
The expected barrage of substitutions soon followed, which somewhat broke up what had been an entertaining match, as both sides looked to rotate their squad.
There was one more goal for the Yellow Army to savour though, and it was a special moment for youngster Owen Price, as he latched onto a through ball to make it 3-0 with eight minutes remaining.
The next test for Johnson’s men will follow on Tuesday evening, as Ryan Lowe’s Plymouth Argyle head to Plainmoor for a pre-season Devon Derby (16/07/19 7.30pm KO). Tickets are available here.
TUFC: 1. Shaun MacDonald, 30. Matt Buse, 5. Jean-Yves Koue Niate, 8. Asa Hall (c) (23. Louie Slough, 70′), 16. Ryan Dickson (4. Kyle Cameron, 27′), 7. Ruairi Keating (20. Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala, HT), 10. Armani Little (22. Jacob Evans, 70′) 14. Frank Vincent (26. Trialist B, 63′), 11. Jake Andrews (24. Josh Baxter, 70′), 19. Jamie Reid (25. Owen Price, 70′) 18. Olaf Koszela (2. Ben Wynter, HT). Sub not used: 21. Andy Collings.
- Pre-Season Friendly Vs Plymouth Argyle (Home) | Tuesday, July 16th (7:30pm KO)
- Pre-Season Friendly Vs Tiverton Town (Away) | Saturday, July 20th (3pm KO)
- Pre-Season Friendly Vs Swansea City U23s (Home) | Tuesday, July 23rd (7:30pm KO)
- Pre-Season Friendly Vs Exeter City (Home) | Saturday, July 27th (3pm KO)
National League Season Commences on Saturday 3rd August v Boreham Wood (Home, 3pm KO)