Torquay United extended their lead at the top of the Vanarama National League on Saturday with a relentless 6-1 win over West Country rivals Yeovil Town.
The Boxing Day blowout saw six different players on the scoresheet as United moved nine points clear of Sutton United at the top of the standings and ensured that the Devonians will see in the new year in pole position.
Torquay set the pace from the start, with Gary Johnson’s side employing the flair of 24-year-old Ben Whitfield and Frenchman Aaron Nemane on either flank as they looked to make inroads on a Yeovil defence that had already leaked on 17 occasions this term.
The opener came after just five minutes through Armani Little. On his first start in more than 10 months, the 23-year-old buried a delightful free-kick into the bottom-right corner from 20 yards after being fouled by Charlie Lee on the edge of the penalty area.
Little’s strike opened the floodgates for United to continue dominating in the final third and they doubled their lead four minutes later, with in-form striker Danny Wright finding the net. 36-year-old Wright received a high ball from Whitfield deep into the penalty area and did well to squeeze his shot past ‘keeper Adam Smith’s near post for his eighth goal of the campaign.
Twelve minutes later, Torquay chalked up their third of the afternoon by way of an own goal from Lee, who could do nothing but turn the ball into his net following Connor Lemonheigh-Evans’ teasing corner.
Torquay eased the pressure considerably afterwards, and their organised attack took a significant blow when Little, who had been among the stars of his side’s rampant showing, was forced to depart with a suspected hamstring injury shortly before halftime.
Nemane added his name to the scoresheet shortly before the break when a long ball down the right wing looked to be escaping possession, but substitute Josh Umerah managed to keep it in play. Neither the goalkeeper nor his defenders chased down the loose ball, which allowed plucky Nemane to nip in, take the ball around Smith and calmly slot home his first league goal for Torquay United.
Now playing with the wind behind them, Yeovil started the second half a much-improved team. The Glovers found the net just four minutes after the restart when Albi Skendi bundled the ball across the line following a long throw-in. Former United forward Joe Quigley had struck the post just moments earlier.
The Gulls re-established their commanding four-goal lead four minutes later. Nemane set about on a driving run through the centre of the pitch, and, unpressured by the yielding Yeovil defence, found Whitfield wide on the left flank. The sprightly winger fizzed a low ball across the box and it was turned in by Lemonheigh-Evans at the front post.
Captain Kyle Cameron rounded off the scoring with a ferocious header after he rose to the challenge of a sumptuous cross from a Jake Andrews free-kick on the left touchline.
Torquay boss Gary Johnson said of the victory: “They’re not any mugs, Yeovil, and we’ve got to play them in a week’s time, so you have to be a little bit humble in victory where you can, but it was a fantastic result, some great goals and it was nice to get six.
“We’ve been threatening it a few times. Against Dagenham [& Redbridge] we didn’t score, Kings Lynn [Town] was one where we didn’t really create enough chances, but the boys were dangerous – very dangerous today – and we made sure we won the game well.”
The visiting Glovers’ cataclysmic fall continues as they sit on just eight points from 12 matches, a tally better than only Dover Athletic. Torquay and Yeovil will clash once again in the reverse fixture at Huish Park on January 2, 2021.