Torquay United 2 King's Lynn Town 0
- Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK
New loan signing Sinclair Armstrong had a goalscoring debut to remember as Torquay United calmed a few nerves with a welcome and well-deserved win on 'Community Day' in front of a noisy crowd of the Plainmoor faithful.
Armstrong, the 18-year-old Dublin-born striker from Queen's Park Rangers, gave Gary Johnson's Gulls a 41st minute lead after leading the attack with a mixture of pace, athleticism and intent.
His 'Man Of The Match' award was almost a foregone conclusion, despite another impressive performance by centre-back Joe Lewis, who clinched the victory with an opportunist goal 13 minutes from time.
The result ended a run of four games without a win, including that FA Cup exit at Havant & Waterlooville in midweek.
Johnson grasped the nettle and introduced both his new loanees, Harry Perritt and Armstrong, in defence and attack respectively.
And, with Klaidi Lolos and Dan Holman also in the starting XI, it was three up front as well.
From the moment that he burst past Kyle Callan-McFadden on a long ball by Lewis, the Plainmoor fans liked the look of Armstrong.
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He finished that run with a shot saved by Lynn's former Exeter goalkeeper Paul Jones, but he continued to look the liveliest of United's forwards - full of athleticism and intent.
He went down a little too easily for referee Brett Huxtable to give a penalty on a Perritt cross after 20 minutes, just before Armani Little and Perritt had goalbound shots blocked at the Babbacombe End.
Armstrong and Lolos got in each other's way when a Holman pass slipped them through in the 23rd minute.
But the danger of being caught on the counter was clear, and the Linnets nearly took the lead against the run of play when Ethan Coleman rose to meet a Brett McGavin free-kick and the ball flashed across the face of goal without a touch which must have scored.
Michael Clunan then clipped the outside of the left-hand post from the edge of the area - too close for United's comfort - and McGavin drove over from even longer range.
It was just looking as if the Gulls' superiority might founder on a lack of real penetration near goal when they took the lead from a set-piece in the 41st minute.
Joe Lewis flicked on Dean Moxey's long throw from the left, the ball dropped for Armstrong and he slammed a half-volley into the roof of the net from 12 yards…1-0.
It was a much harder finish than it looked.
United should actually have been 2-0 up at the break, for in first-half stoppage-time Little, unmarked, got his body shape all wrong and miscued on a Moxey cross when he should have hit the target at the far post.
There was a worrying hold-up while Lewis received treatment for a shin problem at the start of the second half, but he was able to run the injury off.
That was followed by an equally concerning spell when King's Lynn started to pass the ball around, and United did not pressure them as well as they had done earlier.
MacDonald got right behind a deflected shot by Ethan Coleman after a good move between Clunan and Omotayo.
But United then started to catch the visitors on the break and Lolos was denied by Jones when he ran from inside his own half, with Little and Armstrong both alongside and calling for a pass.
An Armstrong cross-shot from the left was deflected onto the near-post and out by McFadden before, in the 77th minute, United finally put the match to bed.
From a half-cleared corner by Little, Moxey lobbed the ball back into the area, Little's follow-up header was spilled by Jones under pressure from Lolos and Lewis was there to slam the ball into the empty net from eight yards…2-0.
Armstrong, sub Keelan O'Connell twice and Lemonheigh-Evans all had efforts blocked, O'Connell also hitting the woodwork as Torquay went for a third goal in the closing stages.
But any win was gratefully received in the circumstances, and this one was ecstatically received by the Plainmoor crowd.
Torquay United (3-4-3): MacDonald; Perritt, Lewis, Moxey; Wynter, Little, Johnson, Lemonheigh-Evans; Holman (O'Connell 64), Lolos, Armstrong; subs not used - Halstead, Andrews, Rogers, Addai.
King's Lynn Town (3-5-2): Jones; Barrows, Callan-McFadden, Fernandez; Jones (Gyasi 63), Clunan, Coleman, McGavin, Denton; Omotayo, Linton (Sundire 78).
Booked: Linton 76.
Referee: Brett Huxtable (N Devon).