Gulls find winning formula at Weymouth
- Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK
Weymouth 1 Torquay United 2
Second-half goals by Joe Lewis and sub Sinclair Armstrong ended a run of three successive defeats and gave Torquay United a deserved and much-needed victory over Weymouth at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
Having failed to convert their first-half superiority with the wind into a goal, Gary Johnson's Gulls carried the fight to the Terras after half-time, and only the woodwork and a series of brilliant saves by Weymouth goalie Ross Fitzsimmons stood between United and a much bigger scoreline.
Lewis headed home a left-wing corner by the tireless Armani Little in the 65th minute - it was a third goal of the season for Torquay's outstanding Welsh centre-back.
They allowed Weymouth to hit back with a 'sucker' equaliser by Brandon Goodship only three minutes later.
But Johnson had sent on Armstrong as soon as Lewis scored, and in the 70th minute he followed up Klaidi Lolos' blocked shot - Little again supplied the cross - and buried the winner from close-range.
Fitzsimmons tipped efforts by Lolos and Little onto his bar in the closing stages, with the determined Tom Lapslie also hitting the post in stoppage-time.
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Johnson brought Byron Moore back into the starting line-up, on the back of a full week's training, but Connor Lemonheigh-Evans was missing, because of a Covid-19 isolation issue away from the club.
The Gulls went to a back-three, with loanee centre-back Harry Perritt left out altogether, while Johnson opted for a pairing of Lolos and Dan Holman up front, with Armstrong on the bench after a brief bout of illness midweek.
With the wind behind them, United would have been disappointed, to stay the least, that they did not score in the first half.
They had more than enough possession and chances to do it, but a recurring theme of Johnson's quotes recently has been a lack of quality near goal, and it was a similar story here.
As early as the sixth minute Lapslie missed a good chance on a Little cross, heading wide across the face of goal when he should have hit the target.
Weymouth fed on breakaway scraps, but Martell Taylor-Crossdale did latch onto one of them in the 16th minute, cut in from the left and forced an excellent fingertip save from Shaun MacDonald.
Moore completely mishit a glorious chance after Fitzsimmons had parried Little's 30-yard drive, and Holman fired wide from a cross by the always-dangerous Dan Martin on the left.
Wing-back Martin's breaks were a feature of United's play, and he helped to create the pressure which forced near-misses for Holman, Little and Lolos before the interval.
The best effort was a searing low shot from 25 yards by Little in the 44th minute - Fitzsimmons did well to get down and save to his right.
Moore was replaced by Keelan O'Connell at half-time and, far from struggling into the wind, United powered forward.
Fitzsimmons did well to deny Lolos, following an inviting Martin pass, just before Lewis' head finally made the breakthrough, glancing in Little's inswinging corner from the left...0-1
On went Armstrong for Holman, but United then let their concentration slip for a moment, the quality of Leon Davies' diagonal cross giving the chance for Goodship to nip in between MacDonald and his defence to head home…1-1.
But the Gulls were not to be denied this day, and in the 70th minute they regained the lead.
Little put in another lung-bursting run down the right, found Lolos inside, his shot was blocked, but Armstrong followed up to volley the loose ball into the roof of the net from six yards…2-1.
Dean Moxey, who hardly missed a trick at the back, came up with a goal-saving, match-winning tackle to deny Weymouth sub Tom Blair, but the longer it went, the more United looked like filling their boots on the counter.
Fitzsimmons somehow tipped a Lolos header off target and a Little 'special' onto his bar and over, before Lapslie, whose tackling in midfield, had been a big plus for Torquay, also hit the right-hand post from 15 yards in stoppage-time.
Nearly 500 Gulls fans, who had given raucous support throughout, celebrated in style at the final.
Weymouth (3-4-2): Fitzsimmons; Olomowewe, Morgan (Leslie-Smith 82), Cordner; Davies, Mussa (Shields 71), Murray, McQuoid, Harfield; Taylor-Crossdale (Blair 71), Goodship; subs not used - Thomson, Bearwish.
Torquay United (3-5-2): MacDonald; Wynter, Lewis, Moxey; Moore (O'Connell 46), Little, Hall, Lapslie, Martin; Lolos, Holman (Armstrong 66); subs not used - Halstead, Omar, Andrews.
Referee: Martin Woods (Lancs).