(Lumbumbo-Kalala 29’, Reid 37’ & Koue-Niate 70’)
(Monakana 41’ & Okimo 74’)
United secure a crucial 3-2 victory over Wealdstone at Plainmoor that keeps them at the top of the National League South table.
Goals from Lumbumbo-Kalala, Reid and Koue-Niate helped TUFC secure a crucial victory over Wealdstone in a game where they weren’t always on top.
Gary Johnson named an unchanged XI from the side that won at Concord last weekend, with Jean Yves-Koue Niate being named on the bench after serving his suspension.
After applying a lot of early pressure and enjoying many spells of possession in the opposition half, United looked to get into full momentum and take the lead. Although conjuring a number of chances, they found it difficult to find that final ball and just couldn’t make it count where it matters.
Captain Asa Hall could well have opened the scoring for Torquay within 10 minutes after Connor Lemonheigh-Evans’ free kick found him with space in the area. Although he connected well with the header, it just found its way past the Wealdstone post.
Wealdstone’s best chance of the half came on the 23rd minute, enjoying a rare counter attack where they could really inflict some serious threat on the United defence. Wealdstone forward Daniel Green had the TUFC defence back peddling, enough to get his shot away, but luckily for Shaun MacDonald in net, it found his upright.
United finally broke the deadline just before the half an hour mark. United wingers Ruari Keating and Kalvin Lumbumbo-Kalala had a part to play in the goal, with Irishman Keating’s cross finding Kalala at the far post. Kalala had both the precision and the ability to strike on the half volley and his decisive left-footed strike found its way past Jonathan North for his eighth goal of the season.
Hall could have increased United’s advantage in the game soon after this. Similar to his chance earlier in the half, Lemonheigh-Evans’ cross found him in the six-yard box in plenty of space. Although getting real conviction on the header, it just evaded the far hand post, just like his previous attempt.
Torquay didn’t take long to add to their lead. Top scorer Jamie Reid got United’s second of the afternoon in the 37th minute, again Keating having an important part to play as it was his lofted ball over the top of the Wealdstone defence that Reid was able to get on the end of. He confidently shrugged off the Wealdstone defender and created the space for him to get his low-driven effort away.
Wealdstone did manage to get a goal back in the 41st minute. After being awarded a corner by referee David Spain, Jeffrey Monakana found himself with time and space inside the TUFC area and was able to just sneak the ball home. It was unfortunate on MacDonald’s part as he nearly kept it out but it was just beyond his reach.
Kalala was certainly well involved with all of the action on a Torquay front and he was unlucky not to add to The Gulls’ advantage right on the stroke of half time. The winger did extremely well to free himself from the Wealdstone defence, power into the area and strike an effort on target that needed saving from North in the Wealdstone net.
After the interval, it was United who came out of the dressing rooms the better of the two sides and were able to maintain the same style of high tempo pressure they sustained in the first period.
All of United’s attacking prowess paid dividends from a corner they had won in the 70th minute. Substitute Jean Yves- Koue Niate rose highest in a crowded penalty area from Lemonheigh-Evans’ teasing corner and was able to head home to make it 3-1 going into the final 20 minutes.
Torquay could well have got another quickly after with leading scorer Reid being brought down in the area with the referee soon awarding him a penalty and booking offender Rhys Tyler in the process. Reid stepped up to take it and did strike it well but Wealdstone keeper North guessed the right way and was able to prevent Reid from scoring his 30th of the season.
Although given the freedom to strive forward into the Wealdstone half, it certainly wasn’t all going United’s way. On the 74th minute mark, MacDonald performed heroics to prevent Wealdstone forward Sheppard from curling in from close range, resulting in a corner. Wealdstone did manage to get their second of the afternoon via an unfortunate deflection, from Torquay’s perspective, from the corner and captain Jerome Okimo was able to capitalise. 3-2 was the score going into the final 15 minutes of the match.
Lemonheigh-Evans could well have finished the game in style for United, driving an effort low and hard after some fantastic work down the right. Unfortunately for the Bristol City loanee, his strike found the upright and was subsequently cleared by the Wealdstone defence.
TUFC did manage to hang on and secure another important win, especially when results elsewhere were going their way. Now four points in front, with a game in hand, at the top of the table and not looking like deviating from that position any time soon.
Next up for The Gulls is Chelmsford City at Plainmoor next Tuesday evening (7.45 KO) where Johnson’s men will look to make that game in hand count.
TUFC: Shaun MacDonald, Ben Wynter, Liam Davis, Jamie Sendles-White (Jean Yves-Koue Niate 62’), Ruairi Keating (Ryan Dickson 71’), Asa Hall (c), Saikou Janneh, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Kyle Cameron, Jamie Reid, Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala (Frank Vincent 85’) SUBS NOT USED: Olaf Koszela, George Burton (GK)
Yellow Card: Sendles-White (56’)
Wealdstone: Jonathan North (GK), Rhys Tyler, Freddie Grant, Christian Smith, Jerome Okimo ©, Godfrey Poku, Tarryn Allarakhia, Stefan Brown (David Pratt 66’), Jeffrey Monakana, Daniel Green, Jake Sheppard. SUBS NOT USED: Dylan Paterson, Femi Azeez, Simon Mensah, James Clark.
Yellow Card: Poku (34’), Sheppard (56’), Green (60’), Tyler (73’) & Pratt (78’)
Attendance: 2934 (192 away)