(Lemonheigh-Evans 23’ & Andrews 83’)
Eastbourne Borough 0
It was call for celebration at Plainmoor as TUFC clinched the National League South title after a crucial 2-0 victory over Eastbourne Borough.
In a game of very few chances, United powered through a tough afternoon and came out victors courtesy of goals from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Jake Andrews.
Gary Johnson made two changes from the starting XI at Woking, with Frank Vincent and Jake Andrews coming into the starting lineup replacing Ruari Keating and Asa Hall who drop out through injury. United were also boosted by the return of Bristol City loanee Opi Edwards who was named on the bench, so too was young starlet Olaf Koszela.
Although United looked confident going forward, they could only slowly edge into the game and did find it difficult to break down the rather stubborn Eastbourne defence early on.
Kalvin Lumbumbo-Kalala could well have given Torquay an early advantage after Liam Davis found him with plenty of space on the right wing in the seventh minute. He dribbled his way into the area but his shot was well blocked by the Eastbourne Borough defence. From the following corner, United had another chance to take the lead, Jake Andrews corner was met by Saikou Janneh in the area but his effort was kept out by Eastbourne keeper Samuel Howes.
Although United were starting to creep into the proceedings, Eastbourne were creating chances of their own. The visitors could well have opened the scoring themselves on the 19th minute mark after forward Lloyd Dawes made serious inroads down the United left with his cross finding winger Charlie Walker in the area, but his cushioned header was well-saved by Shaun MacDonald.
United did finally break the deadlock in the 23rd minute when referee Jack Packman awarded Torquay a penalty, after Jake Andrews made inroads into the Eastbourne box and was brought down under the challenge of Tobi Adebayo- Rowling. Midfielder Connor Lemonheigh-Evans stepped up, however his right footed effort was saved by Howes in the Eastbourne net but Lemonheigh-Evans was quickest to the rebound and was there to head home to give the Gulls the lead.
Torquay came well out of the sticks after the interval, creating a plethora of chances early on and enjoying plenty of possession in the Eastbourne half. They could well have doubled their lead early in the second half, an Andrews corner found Lemonheigh-Evans free back post but he just couldn’t stretch far enough to convert.
Enjoying plenty of the possession going into the dying embers of the match, United were getting ever closer to getting that all important second goal. They very nearly got that goal in the 81st minute after some great work from Lemonheigh-Evans and Ryan Dickson, but Lemonheigh-Evans low driven shot was well claimed by Howes.
United did finally manage to double their advantage late in the second half on the 83rd minute mark. After some great play from Davis and substitute Dickson, the ball fell to Andrews in the box and he was there to smash it home top corner to send the Yellow Army on looking into mass adulation. With results as they were elsewhere, United were on to clinch the NL South title.
The game finished 2-0 to the Gulls and with news of Chelmsford beating Woking 2-0 coming through, it meant United clinched the National League South title to the delight of the everyone involved with the club! CHAMPIONS! CHAMPIONS!
TUFC: 1. Shaun MacDonald (GK), 2. Ben Wynter, 3. Liam Davis (6. Jamie Sendles-White 89’), 10. Saikou Janneh, 11. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans (: 7. Olaf Koszela 90’), 14. Frank Vincent, 15. Jean-Yves Koue Niate, 17, Kyle Cameron ©, 18. Jake Andrews, 19. Jamie Reid, 20. Kalvin Lumbumbo-Kalala (16. Ryan Dickson 78’) SUBS NOT USED:12. Opi Edwards, 13. George Burton (GK).
Yellow Card: Niate (54’)
Eastbourne Borough: 1. Samuel Howes (GK), 2. Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, 3. Krystian Campbell, 4. Kane Wills, 5. Marvin Hamilton, 6. Harry Ransom, 7. Michael West, 8. Sergio Torres ©, 9. Lloyd Dawes (14. Stefan Ljubicic 36’), 10. David Martin (16. Andrew Briggs 74’), 11. Charlie Walker (12. Josh Bingham 75’) SUBS NOT USED: 13. Gregor Shaw (GK), 15. Daniel Blackmore.
Yellow Card: Dawes (14’) & Adebayo-Rowling (49’)
Attendance: 4538 (49 away)