Torquay United manager Gary Johnson - Mark Fletcher / Alamy

TUFC: 'We've got some quality still to come' - Gary Johnson

Dave Thomas

Manager Gary Johnson looked forward to bigger tests to come after Torquay United eased past Western League Buckland Athletic 1-0 in their first pre-season friendly at Homers Heath on Friday night.

Gulls fans swelled the attendance to 1,050, and Buckland played their part in a high-tempo and always entertaining game, decided by Olaf Koszela's 40th minute shot on the turn.

United held back new signings Aaron Jarvis, Ryan Hanson and Ross Marshall, and the expected raft of changes in the second half saw first Koszela take over the captain's armband and then even younger first-year pro Jack Winsor.

But there was plenty to encourage Torquay supporters, including their first sights of right wing-back Dylan Crowe, forward Kieron Evans and Brett McGavin in central midfield.

And on the day that last season's Player Of The Year, goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald, joined League One Cheltenham Town on a one-year contract, Johnson also introduced 25-year-old trialist Rhys Lovett in goal at half-time.

The former Cheltenham, Gloucester City, Maidenhead United and Billericay player gave a promising display after taking over from Mark Halstead, especially as Buckland threatened to equalise in the closing stages.

"We had four lads, not injured, but not ready to play," said Johnson. "The idea was to give everyone a game, and I think people saw what some of the new lads have got.

"We also had three or four trialists, and some of the younger lads we would like to involve, and I was pleased they held out at the end.

"Obviously we can do a lot better, and we will do.

"When it comes to Newport, and then Plymouth and Exeter - those are the competitive games building up to Oldham (United's first league match on August 6).

"It was a fantastic crowd. Everyone wants to see five or ten goals, and we had that many chances. But we didn't take them.

"We showed some quality, but not enough of it. But we've got some quality still to come in."

United go to Exmouth Town on Tuesday night before facing League Two Newport County and League One Devon neighbours Plymouth Argyle (July 19) and Exeter City (July 23).

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