Yeovil Town began the new decade in style on Wednesday as they coasted to a convincing 2-0 victory over an ailing Torquay United at Plainmoor.
The visiting Glovers looked dangerous in the opening exchanges, and had a firm grip on the tie as they asked questions of Lucas Covolan Cavagnari in the Torquay net. That was, until striker Chris Dagnall saw a red card brandished for a stamp on the Brazilian ‘keeper in the 12th minute.
United could not make the extra man count however, and they suffered the ultimate consequences just three minutes later. A botched clearance from Jean-Yves Koue Niate fell to the feet of Courtney Duffus, who thundered an exquisite half-volley across the goalkeeper into the bottom-left corner.
The home side never really looked threatening to Yeovil’s lead. Speculative efforts born from frustration were leathered goalwards by the Gulls, with the pick of the bunch – a volley from distance off Ruairí Keating – trickling rather pathetically just wide of the left post, much to the amusement of the 936 Yeovil supporters behind the goal.
With just ten minutes to go, Torquay’s man advantage was abolished as Niate, who had been having a rough time keeping Yeovil’s devastating attack at bay, was given his marching orders for a second yellow card offence. Substitute Rhys Murphy had the running on the Frenchman, who had no choice but to wrestle him to the floor in order to thwart the breakaway.
Revitalised by the introduction of starlet Jake Andrews and the vastly experienced Lloyd James, Torquay began to mount pressure on the Glovers’ goal in the dying minutes as they enjoyed the brightest passage of play they had experienced all match.
This sudden bombardment of Stuart Nelson’s net, masterminded by ball-playing winger Ben Whitfield, culminated in a curling strike from outside the box off Lloyd James, which Nelson spectacularly pushed around his far post.
United pushed everything they had forward in search of the elusive equaliser, hoping to salvage a point from a very poor, uncharacteristic performance. An enormous gap was left in the defensive line which Yeovil exploited in style, hitting back with a blink-and-you-will-miss-it counter attack which saw high-flying Murphy coolly slot the ball beyond the helpless Covolan Cavagnari for his 17th goal of the season.
The goal turned out to be among the final kicks of the match, and proceedings were soon brought to a close with the away side taking all three points back to Somerset.
Immediately following the full-time whistle, Torquay boss Gary Johnson snubbed his usual press conference as he followed referee Savvas Yianni down the tunnel. Johnson later revealed his reasons for doing so.
“I wanted to talk to him about the amount of time the ball was in play in both halves of the game [and] the four clear penalties we didn’t get – you can see them from the replay”, Johnson said.
Quizzed about the implied accusations of time wasting, he continued: “The fans want to see referees do something about it earlier, and I include action against us if we were doing it.
“If only they would do that, I think it would make a big difference.”
Johnson’s side have lost an astounding nine matches from 11 games in all competitions, the worst run of form since he took over the English Riviera outfit in September 2018.