Superb Little double wins it for United

Goal celebrations for Armani Little, Captain of Torquay United during the National League match betw

Goal celebrations for Armani Little, Captain of Torquay United during the National League match between Torquay United and Dover Athletic at Plainmoor Torquay, Devon on Saturday 13th November 2021 - PHOTO: Dave Crawford/PPAUK - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Torquay United 2 Dover Athletic 1 

Two spectacular goals by captain Armani Little - one from nearly 30 yards in the first-half and a screaming volley in the 90th minute - earned Torquay United a victory which they often struggled to clinch in front of nearly 3,000 fans at Plainmoor. 

Midfielder Little took his tally for the season to seven goals after an otherwise frustrating afternoon in which Gary Johnson's Gulls struggled to break down bottom club Dover Athletic. 

The visitors took a third-minute lead through Travis Gregory and they mounted stubborn resistance which looked like earning them a surprise draw. 

But United always believe that 'Gary-Time' is never far away, and they finally forced a fourth successive home win with Little's last-gasp volley. 

Johnson was without more players than expected. 

Asa Hall and Danny Wright were both still injured, Dan Martin completed a three-match suspension and loan striker Sinclair Armstrong was on Eire international duty. 

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But midfielder Connor Lemonheigh-Evans joined the absentees, reportedly for personal family reasons. 

If United expected Dover to play the role of sacrificial lambs, they were in for a nasty shock. 

After only three minutes, visiting left-back Junior Tiensia made an overlap run, crossed low and Gregory arrived from the right wing to bundle the ball over the line as Dean Moxey tried to clear…0-1. 

Dover had to make a change only five minutes later, former Plymouth Argyle defender Reda Johnson walking gingerly off with what looked like a thigh problem, to be replaced by Harry Ransom. 

The Gulls' passing was badly off-target at times - Little and Ben Wynter both missing intending targets - and their decision-making was also erratic. 

But their workrate ensured that they dominated possession and territory, even if they didn't create the amount of chances that pressure should have delivered. 

Little got Klaidi Lolos in with one smart through-ball, but Lolos' first touch gave Adam Parkes a chance to dash out and save. 

But in the 19th minute, United finally put together the sort of simple passing move which should have been the priority, got Wynter on a Keelan O'Connell pass, only for Wynter to blaze over with Parkes to beat from 15 yards. 

Just when it looked as Torquay might have a completely frustrating first half, Little cut in from the left, tried his luck from nearly 30 yards and the ball skidded just in front of Parkes and under his body for the equaliser…1-1. 

Having made that mistake, Parkes then kept his side on terms until half-time. 

The young Dover goalie made two top saves from Lolos on another O'Connell cross, before sticking out a right foot to deflect a Lolos shot wide, O'Connell again the 'assister'. 

And four minutes before the interval, Parkes topped those efforts when he arched up to tip the ball over his bar after Lolos had taken a touch on another O'Connell cross and unleashed a volley that was heading into the roof of the net from 12 yards. 

United must have been hoping to turn their first-half domination into second-half goals, but it turned into a very different story. 

They created few, if any, clear chances - a Moxey free-kick from the left which Holman headed over at the far-post was one of them. 

Boss Johnson sent Chiori Johnson, Jake Andrews - to loud applause after his illness problems - and Gabby Rogers on for Moore, Johnson himself - he pulled up with a hamstring injury moments after coming on - and Holman, who also limped off. 

Dover visibly started to fancy their chances of more than a point, and were more adventurous than they had been before. 

Andrews did let fly from 35 yards, and was only feet wide, in the 80th minute. 

But it looked as if United were going to have to settle for a very unsatisfactory point when, in the last minute of normal time, Andrews crossed from the left by-line, Dover could not clear and Little hit a first-time left-foot volley from ten yards into the roof of the net…2-1 - salvation and three points! 

Torquay United (3-5-2): MacDonald; Perritt, Lewis, Moxey; Wynter, Lapslie, Little, O'Connell, Moore (Johnson 59/Andrews 62); Lolos, Holman (Rogers 82); subs not used - Halstead, Omar. 

Booked: O'Connell 55, Lolos 90+2. 

Dover Athletic (5-4-1): Parkes; Collinge, Johnson (Ransom 8), Goodman,Tiensia; Gregory (Bentley 83), Hanson, Woods, Bramble (Arthur 69), Williamson; Cosgrave; subs not used - Bexon, Wood.  

Booked: Collinge 53, Goodman 90+2. 

Referee: Matthew Russell (Hants). 

Attendance: 2,892.