Gulls in last week of prep

Gabby Rogers of Torquay United battles for the ball with Aaron Roberts of AFC Bournemouth U23s durin

Gabby Rogers of Torquay United battles for the ball with Aaron Roberts of AFC Bournemouth U23s during the pre season match between Torquay United and AFC Bournemouth U23s at Plainmoor Torquay, Devon on Tuesday 10th August 2021 - PHOTO: Dave Crawford/PPAUK - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Manager Gary Johnson will give his squad one more 'in-house' practice match, after Tuesday night's 4-0 win over AFC Bournemouth Under-21s, before they start their National League campaign on August 21. 

The game against the young Cherries was the Gulls' last official friendly, and they made the most of it with a dominant performance which produced goals for Dan Holman (2) and Ali Omar in the first half and Tom Lapslie 15 minutes from time. 

Holman was scoring for the fifth time in three games, and United's starting XI also included Johnson's tenth summer signing, ex-Plainmoor youth and Yeovil Town winger Gabby Rogers. 

United have a ten-day break before Altrincham come to Plainmoor to kick off the NL, because all other competitions outside the Premier League have already started their seasons. 

Johnson said: "We'll have our own game early next week, because we're hoping that Asa (Hall) and Connor (Lemonheigh-Evans) will be over their injuries by then and we can get a game into them." 

He was buoyed by what he saw against the Cherries, who were lucky to escape with only a four-goal defeat. 

"Bournemouth play a particular game, and I thought we dealt with that quite well," said Johnson. 

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"Some of the boys showed good skills, ability and passion, and everybody played their part. 

"It's always important for new signings to show the fans why we've signed them, and I think ours have done that. 

"It's a different kettle of fish when it comes down to winning points, but we look competitive and now we've got to keep sharpening them up for when the league starts." 

Rogers, 20, who had to leave United after a previous regime closed the Academy in 2015, is the son of ex-Plymouth Argyle, Southampton and Reading winger Andy Rogers and he attended Churston Ferrers GS. 

He scored a spectacular goal for Tiverton against Torquay last week and then hit an even better one for the Gulls in a 3-0 win over Chippenham Town at the weekend. 

"I started out here when I was eleven, was here for four or five years before they had to shut the Academy down, so it's great to be back," he said. 

Johnson said: "Gabby impressed everybody in training, and he showed in (Chippenham) game what he could do in training. 

"He was born in Torquay and was here as a young lad.  He's not a youngster any more, he's 20, he's ready and he needs regular games at a good level." 

United Shorts


LOSS FOR GULLS: Ron Peterson, one of the band of supporters who took over the club at its lowest ebb in the summer of 2015, has died suddenly. After withdrawing as a director, he remained a keen supporter and sponsor and will be much missed around Plainmoor on match days.

NOT HIM AGAIN!: Ex-Torquay goalkeeper Lucas Covolan was sent off on his league debut for new club Port Vale at Northampton Town last weekend.  And the referee was - yes, Simon Mather, the same man whose key decisions in the National League Play-Off Final at Ashton Gate in June will never be forgotten by Gulls fans.

KENNY IN FOR PHIL: United have replaced their departed goalkeeping coach Phil Osborn with Kenny Griffiths, who has stepped up from the club's Academy after a career in local semi-pro and amateur football.

OLAF ON LOAN: Young United striker Olaf Koszela has been sent out for a second spell on loan to Southern League Premier club Tiverton Town.