King’s Lynn 0 Torquay United 0

Torquay United player Ben Whitfield is tackled by Kings Lynn Town player Simon Power during the Engl

Torquay United player Ben Whitfield is tackled by Kings Lynn Town player Simon Power during the English National League game between Kings Lynn Town and Torquay United at The Walks Stadium on Dec 12 - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK - Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle

Stalemate for the Gulls in the National League

The controversial sending-off of captain Asa Hall eleven minutes from time did not stop Torquay United from extending their unbeaten run to eleven games with a hard-fought point at wet and windy King’s Lynn Town.

Gary Johnson’s Gulls extended their lead at the top of the National League to six points on a day when hard graft and determination counted for more than style marks in difficult conditions at The Walks.

Most of the plaudits went to goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald and his defence for an overdue and valuable ‘clean sheet ‘.

Unchanged for the third successive game, United knew they were in a game from the moment, after only 17 seconds, when MacDonald had to save on an angle from Lynn left winger Jamar Loza.

The pacy Loza had clearly been told to test the Gulls’ makeshift right-back Sam Sherring, and the same went for Simon Power against Jake Andrews on the other flank.

The pitch was bobbly and the weather testing to say the least – United played into the wind in the first half – but Torquay still managed to fashion a chance or two, Ben Whitfield twice going close in the early stages.

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They made more of their possession than King’s Lynn did and, although Town’s Jordan Richards did fire a good chance wide from Michael Gash’s lay-off in the 25th minute, it was Whitfield who should really have hit the target ten minutes later.

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans hit a diagonal cross over the home defence and Whitfield, stealing in on the left, fired wide with a first-time effort from eight yards.

Kyle Cameron also forced a good save from Archie Mair on the stroke of half-time.

With the weather behind them in the second half, United must have hoped they could force the pace a bit more, but it turned into a bit of a slog.

Sherring did well to continue after lengthy treatment to an ankle injury before Johnson kicked off the changes, first with Waters and Umerah for Randell and Wright, and then Gary Warren for Sherring in defence.

United were already soaking up more pressure – Whitfield did brilliantly to scoop a Loza cross shot over his own bar on a counter attack – before Town manager Ian Culverhouse sent on fresh strikers in Kairo Mitchell and Adam Marriott.

But the big moment came in the 79th minute.

Hall stretched out a foot to make what seemed like a fairly routine tackle.

Lynn players claimed that Hall had gone ‘over the top’, but it was still a surprise when referee Miles, after a short delay, pulled out his red card.

United players were horrified.

But they gritted their teeth as Lynn tried hard to force the winner, MacDonald came up with two excellent saves in the last ten minutes and the Gulls held on for another important point.

King’s Lynn Town (4-4-2): Mair; Jones, McFadden, Smith, Barrows; Loza, Jarvis, Richards, Power; Gash (Mitchell 74), Southwell (Marriott 78); subs not used – Clunan, Fleming, Carey.

Torquay United (4-4-1-1): MacDonald; Sherring (Warren 71), Kerr, Cameron, Andrews; Nemane, Hall, Randell (Waters 69), Whitfield; Lemonheigh-Evans; Wright (Umerah 69); subs not used – Covolan, Buse.

Sent Off: Hall 79. Booked: Kerr 30.

Referee: Jacob Miles (Sussex)