Torquay United 0 Woking 4

Torbay Weekly

Two goals down in four minutes and down to ten men - again - from the 22nd minute, Torquay United were comprehensively routed by Woking on an afternoon to forget at Plainmoor.

Gary Johnson's Gulls, hoping to build on a gutsy 1-1 draw at Notts County on Saturday, never recovered from the shock of conceding those early goals.

They then had midfielder Chiori Johnson dismissed for a second booking, did not force a serious save from Woking goalkeeper Craig Ross and, indeed, did not even have a corner in the 90 minutes.

It was a numbing day for the Plainmoor faithful, who stayed remarkably supportive to the final whistle.

Into Johnson's starting XI came skipper Asa Hall in midfield and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans in attack.

The absence through suspension of centre-back Ali Omar, sent off at Notts, was covered by the switch inside of Dean Moxey.

Dan Martin made his first start at left-back after a promising display at Meadow Lane.

Going 2-0 down in 20 minutes against Altrincham (1-3) on Day One, and losing Omar after 24 minutes at Nottingham, had been bad enough. But United's start here was even more disastrous.

Woking, impressively powerful and athletic, stormed into a 2-0 lead before Torquay had hardly drawn breath.

In the second minute, Kyran Lofthouse crossed from Woking's right and Tahvon Campbell rose above Wynter at the far post and headed home…0-1.

Then Campbell pounced on a mistake by Lemonheigh-Evans, this time he centred and Rohan Ince's downward header crossed the line before Mark Halstead could hook it out…0-2.

United, struggling to contain wing-back Lofthouse down the Woking right, were being overpowered and outpaced.

Then referee Adrian Quelch took a hand.

With the help of linesman Steve Durnall, Mr Quelch booked Johnson for a strong but perfectly good tackle in the ninth minute.

It was the start of a series of head-shaking decisions, and not just against Torquay.

But there was no let-up from the Cards.

George Oakley, Campbell and Jordan Maguire-Drew all went close, and Joe Lewis did well to block another Campbell effort.

Things got even worse in the 22nd minute.

There had been precious little wrong with Johnson's earlier tackle, but he was slightly late to a second one on Josh Casey - out came Mr Quelch's yellow card and Johnson was off.

Armani Little, who had starred for Woking on loan as they followed United up from the NL South in 2019, clearly felt that Casey had made a meal of the incident and told him so.

United's 4-3-1-2 had to change to 4-3-3, which took away most of their width, and it was more than half-an-hour before they had their first attempt at goal - a header well wide from Hall on a Little free-kick.

Several times Woking threatened to catch the Gulls on the break - Moxey's outstretched leg denied Solomon Nwabuokwei from just such an attack.

A head injury to Wynter prompted seven minutes of first-half stoppage-time, and United were almost relieved to reach the interval only two down.

Johnson made one change at half-time - O'Connell for Lemonheigh-Evans, who had looked off the pace.

The Gulls' boss then sent on Rogers and Lolos for Martin and Holman, but not before Woking had scored again in the 55th minute.

Martin had a weak cross cut out, Woking were away on the counter again and Campbell, 1-v-1 against Lewis, cut back on his right foot and drilled an 18-yard shot low into the bottom right-hand corner…0-3.

At 2-0, United may still have had a chance, but 3-0 looked terminal.

When Woking goalie Craig Ross - he had been a spectator for most of the match - comfortably took a long-range shot from Hall in the 62nd minute, it was United's first shot on target.

But moments later Lolos took a pass from Wright, turned eight yards out and only Diarra's leg denied the United sub a goal.

Torquay's afternoon seemed to be summed up when Little and Lolos could not cash in on a gilt-edged chance from a Woking backpass mistake.

But moments later Rogers cheered up the Plainmoor crowd, which had not turned on the team despite everything.

Rogers jinked past a man 35 yards out, let fly and the ball whistled over Ross onto the bar and over.

It was something to lighten the gloomy mood, but it did not shake Woking out of their stately stride and they were able to stroll to victory.

Indeed, they nearly made it 4-0 when sub Allarakhia chipped over the bar with Halstead to beat.

And in the final minute of stoppage-time they did just that, as they had threatened to do for some time.

Sub Kane Thompson-Sommers finished off another counter with a low left-foot shot, in space against a tired home defence, from the edge of the area…0-4

Torquay United (4-3-1-2): Halstead; Wynter, Lewis, Moxey, Martin (Rogers 58); Johnson, Hall, Little; Lemonheigh-Evans (O'Connell 46); Holman (Lolos 58), Wright; subs not used - Rogers, Lapslie, Lolos, Brzozowski (gk).

Sent Off: Johnson 2nd Yellow 22.  Booked: Johnson 9, Hall 52, Little 61, Lewis 65.

Woking (3-5-2): Ross; Champion, McNerney, Diarra; Lofthouse, Nwabuokei, Ince (Thompson-Sommers 67), Maguire-Drew (Allarakhia 81); Oakley, Campbell; subs not used - Smith (gk), Loza, Johnson.

Booked: None.

Referee: Adrian Quelch (Dorset).

Attendance: 2,486.