Torquay United 1 Southend United 2 – Gulls suffer injury time loss

Things got a lot tougher for Torquay United as they battle to stay in the National League this season. The Gulls were beaten 2-1 by crisis club Southend United at Plainmoor; they are four points below the safety zone with 14 games to go, and with two straight losses, the confidence that came from the win against Barnet last weekend will have taken a hit.

Southend could face a winding-up order next week but their players, who have not been paid recently, showed more quality and at times passion than Torquay’s to win a game that could be their last for the club.

The visitors took a 1–0 lead in the 27th minute and had chances for more goals, but Torquay substitute Lewis Collins scored with five minutes remaining to make it 1–1. However, with Torquay attacking for the winner, they fell open behind and a counter-attacking goal got the traveling supporters excited. To be fair, if the club closes on Wednesday, it could be the last goal fans will see their team score.

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Jacob Mensah was named in the starting 11 for the first time with Johnson making just one change from the squad that started at Dorking Wanderers. The missing man was midfielder Kieron Evans, who was sent off there, so Johnson switched back to 5-3-2 for this one. On the bench was forward Lewis Collins, who has missed the last two games due to concussion protocols.

It took Dillon De Silva 17 seconds to earn a corner and from a short kick the winger crossed the ball into the box, with a couple of Torquay headers coming close to the ball, but not close enough to make contact. In the sixth minute, Mensah had a great chance from De Silva’s cross, but his header was poor and straight for Southend keeper Blondy Nna Noukeu.

It was a very lively first 15 minutes, but most of the game was spent between the boxes. However, from a free kick down the right on 18 minutes, Southend captain Cavaghn Miley shot over the bar. Mark Halstead easily held off a shot from Noor Husin, and missed a Jake Hyde flick.

Callum Powell made it 1-0 for the visitors on 27 minutes after De Silva struggled to clear the ball from the danger area, and the Southend player ran towards him and past Halstead well. Tom Lapslie shot wide on the half hour mark, and Shaun Donnellan shot wide when it might have been better to find someone else with a pass. Halstead had to duck to deliver a decent shot from Husin in the 36th minute.


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