Torquay United 2 Weymouth 1
- Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK
Second-half goals by Jake Andrews and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans - the winner in the 85th minute - saw Torquay United come from behind to beat Weymouth and earn their fifth win in six games at a bright and breezy Plainmoor.
Gary Johnson's promotion-chasing Gulls had to mount almost non-stop pressure, after an Andrew Dallas penalty gave the Terras the lead just before half-time, to earn three more vital points.
They hit the woodwork twice, through Joe Lewis and skipper Asa Hall before Andrews drove in a 25-yard 'special' from Danny Wright's lay-off in the 59th minute.
United also had several penalty shouts turned down before, with Scott Boden and Billy Waters only just on for Wright and Armani Little, Lemonheigh-Evans threw himself at an Andrews corner and headed home from eight yards for the winner five minutes from time.
It was a third 'double' of the season for United - Solihull Moors and Wrexham had fallen the same way recently.
The result also cut the gap to National League 'leaders' Sutton United to three points ahead of a trip to Gander Green Lane next Tuesday night, but that was before the 5.20pm kick-off between second-placed Hartlepool United and Notts County.
Johnson brought Andrews back into midfield, with loan striker Benji Kimpioka injured, and the Torquay boss went back to the 4-4-1-1 formation, with Lemonheigh-Evans supporting centre-forward Wright.
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United dominated the early stages, but it still took them nearly a quarter-of-an-hour before Adam Randell found Andrews with a raking crossfield pass, Andrews chested the ball down and hit a stinging volley which Ethan Ross did well to tip wide.
That Randell-Andrews move was Torquay's best attacking ploy.
Weymouth played two men up against Sam Sherring and Lewis, and they hit a series of high balls up to their strikers, keeping United's centre-backs under pressure.
United like to play their way out from defence, but that search for confidence can spill over into casual territory, and so it proved.
Andrew Dallas was allowed a 40-yard run without a serious challenge, the Terras must have been encouraged by some moments of home indecision, and it would probably have helped if the 'Popside' crowd had been in - they would have sent out the right message loud and clear!
Ross did well again to deny Lemonheigh-Evans on another telling Randell cross in the 37th minute, then Little was just off target with another effort - Randell again the supplier.
But that defensive uncertainty reared its head yet again in the 43rd minute.
Ben Wynter had a chance to clear a flicked-on Weymouth corner, didn't take it, Lucas Covolan dashed past him to smother the ball, took Andreas Robinson out and it was a penalty.
Covolan nearly stopped Dallas' spot-kick, but the ball squirmed under him and into the net…0-1.
Johnson sent on the 'older head' of Dean Moxey for Ryan Law at left-back at half-time, and United visibly upped their tempo and urgency.
Referee Karl Evans turned down one penalty claim when Lemonheigh-Evans appeared to have been pushed in the goalmouth, before Lewis met a Moxey cross and headed against the bar in the 49th minute.
Hall also struck the woodwork from a Little corner as United poured it on, and in the 59th minute they equalised.
Wright, playing the 'targetman' role so well, laid the ball off to Andrews in central midfield, and he drove a left-foot drive from outside the area low and firm past Ross's left-hand and just inside the post…1-1.
Wright had a goalbound drive blocked, Randell and Lemonheigh-Evans had renewed penalty claims waved away by referee Evans, who did book Ross for time-wasting ten minutes from time.
Johnson took off Wright, with Tuesday's trip to Sutton in mind, and Little, and threw on Boden and Waters in the 83rd minute, presumably so that one of them might snatch the winner.
But when it came only two minutes later, it was neither of them - Andrews dropped a left-winger corner into the 'mixer' and there was Lemonheigh-Evans with a rare but so precious header…2-1.
Even then it wasn't quite over - United had to survive two successive Weymouth corners in stoppage time before they could celebrate another important victory.
Torquay United (4-4-1-1): Covolan; Wynter, Sherring, Lewis, Law (Moxey 46); Randell, Little (Waters 83), Hall, Andrews; Lemonheigh-Evans; Wright (Boden 83); subs not used - MacDonald, Buse.
Weymouth (4-5-1): Ross; Mensah, Morgan, Revan; Shields, Dallas, Robinson, Brooks, Harfield; Thomson; subs not used - Wakefield, Ngalo, Murray, Luque, Fonkeu.
Booked: Shields 38, Ross 80.
Referee: Karl Evans (Lancs).