Torquay United vs Hemel Hempstead Town | Match Report by Joseph Brown

United put their title ambitions back on track after their first win in five games, beating Hemel Hempstead Town 2-0 at Plainmoor.

Goals from Jamie Reid and Asa Hall, within a six minute spell, sealed all three points for United.

TUFC coach Gary Owers made four changes from the 0-0 draw away at Gloucester City on Bank Holiday Monday. New loan signings Opi Edwards and Jake Andrewscame straight into the starting eleven with Ben Wynter and Brett Williams. Ryan Dickson dropped out of the squad overnight due to injury. Bobson Bawling and Ruairi Keating took places on the bench.

The Bristol City loanees started brightly for United, as they combined on the right to cross for Chris Regis, but the midfielder rushed his effort putting it over the bar. Hemel started to build momentum and started to control the first half. Firstly, captain Jordan Parkes spotted Torquay goalkeeper Alex Bass off his line and attempted a chip from just outside the centre-circle. Bass, however recovered well, tipping it over the crossbar with an acrobatic save. From the following corner, striker Steve Cawley mis-kicked his first effort, and poked his second effort narrowly wide. Cawley had another chance minutes later. After a good dummy by Jordan Parkes, Cawley turned Kyle Cameron, but somehow fired his close-range effort wide.

Billy Clifford was next to take aim for Hemel, with his drive just going over Bass’ bar. Former Arsenal winger Herschel Sanchez Watt then beat Ben Wynter on the right to deliver a low cross for Cawley, but his flicked effort was held by Bass. Parkes then delivered a free-kick, from the right, which was met by an unmarked Watt. His close-ranged diving header hit the left post and bounced away to United’s relief.

Hemel shaded the first half for the quality of their chances, but United weren’t without chances of their own. Brett Williams picking the pocket of the Hemel defence and delivering a cross for Opi Edwards. The ball fell for Jake Andrews and his effort was well saved by former Morecambe keeper Laurie Walker. Walker was called into action seconds later as Andrews lined up a second effort and the Hemel keeper was equal to it. Andrews was denied by Walker for a third time after Alex Bass’ free-kick was flicked on by Brett Williams to land to Andrews’ feet, but Walker kept his effort out. Bass still had to be alert for the end of the first half, firstly saving Parkes’ free-kick and then Spencer McCall’s drive.

In the second half, United started the brighter. Gary Owers changed tact, putting Jamie Reid upfront with Brett Williams and pushing Jake Andrews onto the left wing. Firstly, Reid cut inside from the left and dribbled around the Hemel defence before setting up Opi Edwards, but his point-blank effort was saved well by Laurie Walker. Kyle Cameron’s long pass was met well by Jake Andrews, who beat the offside trap, but his cross was put behind well by Hemel defender Darren Ward. Andrews’ next delivery was more placed, finding Reid in the box, but his effort was again, saved by Walker. United were testing the opposition gaolkeeper.

Hemel then had their best chance of the match. Steve Cawley beat the offside trap and delivered a low ball for Sanchez Watt who fired his effort over the bar from around ten yards out from goal. It was a terrific chance for Hemel to take the lead.

United fought back. A long ball by Cameron found Reid who set up Keating, he smashed his effort wide.

United finally got the goal they deserved. A good through ball by Jake Andrews collected by Jamie Reid inside the box. He slotted the ball calmly inside the near post past Walker. It should have been 2-0 after Reid’s cross was met well by Keating, but his header was tipped over the bar by Laurie Walker. However, from the resulting corner, Andrews’ delivery was met by an unmarked Asa Hall whose bullet header beat the dive of Walker to double United’s lead.

Alex Bass still had to be alert in the United goal, holding onto Darren Ward’s header. Ben Wynter produced a good tackle to stop the onrushing Steve Cawley to protect the clean-sheet for Torquay and seal all three points.

United move up to 11th in the table and welcome Chippenham Town to Plainmoor in seven days time.

United: (4-3-3) 1. Alex Bass (GK), 2. Ben Wynter, 3. Liam Davis, 4. George Essuman, 8. Asa Hall, 9. Brett Williams (C) [7. Ruairi Keating 58’], 17. Kyle Cameron, 18. Jake Edwards, 19. Jamie Reid [11. Bobson Bawling 90’], 20. Chris Regis, 21. Opi Edwards. Substitutes (Not Used): 10. Jason Banton, 12. Andre Wright, 13. Shaun MacDonald (GK).

Booked: Williams (56’), Cameron (75’).

Hemel Hempstead Town: 1. Laurie Walker (GK), 2. Callum Martin, 3. Kyle Connolly, 4. Jordan Parkes (C), 5. Darren Ward, 6. Tom Hamblin, 7. James Kaloczi [15. Reece Prestedge 66’], 8. Billy Clifford [14. Alex Osborn 81’], 9. Steve Cawley, 10. Herschel Sanchez Watt, 11. Spencer McCall [12. Karl Olyide 64’]. Substitutes (Not Used): 16. Joe Howe, 17. George Paulin (GK).

Booked: Clifford (61’), Connolly (70’).

Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis

Attendance: 1409 (70 Away)