(Evans 24′, McCootie 70′)
United’s champions suffered their first defeat in eight games, as they went down to a lively Chippenham Town side at Hardenhuish Park.
Dean Evans headed the home side ahead against the run of play midway through the first half, and despite substitute Olaf Koszela levelling the scores with his first professional goal, it was Town who prevailed, with Nick McCootie firing home the winner.
United manager Gary Johnson made one change to the starting lineup that secured promotion last weekend against Eastbourne, with Jamie Sendles-White replacing Saikou Janneh, with Bristol City loanee set return to his parent close.
Torquay started well enough and won five corners within the opening ten minutes. Jake Andrews fired just wide, and then Jean-Yves Koue Niate saw his header deflected over the bar as The Gulls chased an early goal to mark their early authority.
It was though, the home side who made the breakthrough on 24 minutes. Josh Smile’s sent a free-kick which found Evans in space to head the ball past MacDonald from close range.
Although United bossed possession thereafter, with Frank Vincent again at the heart of United’s best moves, the final ball eluded them as they struggled to adapt to bobbly surface.
It wasn’t until after the interval that Johnson’s men created their first clear-cut chance, and it came from a familiar source. Lemonheigh-Evans brought the ball forward, and found Reid, who fired narrowly wide of the target in the 49th minute.
Four minutes later, Vincent floated the ball into the box and Sendles-White was only inches away from levelling the scores. Visibly lifted since the interval, it seemed only a matter of time before Torquay would find the net, and so it proved in the 57th minute.
Ben Wynter floated in an inviting cross into the box, and rising highest to divert the ball home was Koszela, to head in and level the scores.
It was a proud moment for everyone at the club, with Olaf netting just three weeks after becoming the first professional to rise from United’s relaunched youth team.
For a spell it looked like it would be Torquay who would force a winner, but instead it was the home side who restored their advantage.
Moments after Parselle saw his effort strike the crossbar, McCootie lost his marker and glancde his header past MacDonald in the 69th minute.
United continued to probe in the dying stages, with Koue Niate coming closest to saving the day as he headed Vincent’s cross wide in stoppage time.
Chippenham held on though, to became the only side this season to complete a league double over Johnson’s champions.
We now look ahead to Monday, when United return to Plainmoor for the visit of Hungerford, before lifting the championship trophy in front of their devoted Yellow Army. It’s not an occasion to be missed.
Chippenham Town: 1. Will Puddy, 2. George Rigg (c), 3. Rhys Davies, 4. Harry Rutty, 5. Greg Tindle, 7. Tariq Ossai, 9. Nat Jarvis (8. Callum Gunner 75′), 15. Dean Evans, 18. Nick McCootie (16. Adriel George 87′), 19. Josh Smile (17. Karnel Chambers 73′), 21. Kieran Parselle. SUBS NOT USED: 6. Will Richards, 20. Alex Ferguson.
TUFC: 1. Shaun MacDonald, 2. Ben Wynter, 3. Liam Davis (16. Ryan Dickson 70′), 6. Jamie Sendles-White, 11. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 14. Frank Vincent, 15. Jean-Yves Koue Niate, 17. Kyle Cameron (c), 18. Jake Andrews (12. Opi Edwards 74′), 19. Jamie Reid, 20. Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala (7. Olaf Koszela HT). SUBS NOT USED: 8. Asa Hall, 13. George Burton.
Attendance: 1,906 (1,100 away)