Weymouth 3 Torquay United 4
- Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK
It’s ‘Gary-Time’ again!
National League leaders Torquay United snatched yet another late, late victory when Connor Lemonheigh-Evans tapped in an 87th minute winner in a seven-goal thriller at Weymouth.
Gary Johnson’s Gulls led 2-0 and 3-1 just after half-time at the Bob Lucas Stadium, with goals by recalled duo Asa Hall and Josh Umerah, and then Aaron Nemane in the 46th minute.
But the Terras, completely outplayed for most of the first half, grabbed a lifeline with a breakaway goal by former Truro City striker Cody Cooke in the 31st minute.
Just when it seemed as if Nemane’s shot had settled it, Weymouth turned the match on its head through Cameron Murray (50mins) and a Josh McQuoid penalty (62).
But a brave double substitution by Johnson, including the withdrawal of lone striker Umerah, with ten minutes left, helped to clinch another crucial victory for United.
They put together a move with half-a-dozen passes for Lemonheigh-Evans to win it.
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It means that they are now eleven points clear at the top of the National League, plus their vastly superior goal difference.
Johnson made two enforced changes and tactical.
As expected, he brought Hall and Umerah in for the injured Armani Little in midfield and Danny Wright up front, but Fraser Kerr was also preferred to Gary Warren at centre-back.
Weymouth hardly had a kick of any consequence in the first half hour.
Kyle Cameron headed a Lemonheigh-Evans corner over before a quality move down the right saw Sherring find Lemonheigh-Evans for a perfect cross which Hall dispatched with a clever ‘cushion’ header…1-0 to the Gulls.
In the 25th minute Nemane seized on a mishit clearance by home keeper Jack Bycroft, fed Lemonheigh-Evans and his final pass was converted by Umerah’s cool, accurate right-foot shot into the bottom right-hand corner… 2-0.
United were in complete control until they were suddenly caught out by a counter attack down their right, Shaun MacDonald tried to flick Ollie Harfield’s cross away, missed it and Cooke could hardly miss… 2-1.
United should have stretched their lead when Umerah’s deflected drive was held by Bycroft after a crossfield move between Cameron and Lemonheigh-Evans in the 37th minute, but when they did score again just after the restart, it looked decisive.
The excellent Randell set up Whitfield for a low cross from the left, and Nemane finished with a firm shot from 12 yards at the far post… 3-1.
But it was far from over.
Murray made the most of some hesitant defending to shoot under MacDonald (2-3) and when Kerr nudged Cooke in the back and referee James Durkin pointed to the spot, ex-United forward McQuoid slammed the penalty into the roof of the net (3-3).
For a worrying spell, United seemed to doubt themselves and Weymouth started to believe that they could pull off an unlikely miracle.
But Johnson’s decisive action – he sent on Andrews and Warren for Umerah and Moxey – sparked that final push for all three points.
It was passing which won it, with every remaining United forward involved before Lemonheigh-Evans broke Weymouth’s heart – and sent the Gulls even further clear at the top of the league.
Weymouth (3-5-2): Bycroft; Mccarthy, Wakefield, Brooks; Dickson (Santos 50), McQuoid, Ngalo, Murray, Harfield; Cooke, Saydee; subs not used – Benfield, Olumuyiwa, Al-Hussaini, Hoey.
Booked: McQuoid 37, Dickson 39.
Torquay United (4-4-1-1): MacDonald; Sherring, Kerr, Cameron, Moxey (Warren 80); Nemane, Hall, Randell, Whitfield (Buse 90); Lemonheigh-Evans; Umerah (Andrews 80) ; subs not used – Covolan, Price.
Booked: Lemonheigh-Evans 74, Whitfield 85.
Referee: James Durkin (Dorset).