Torquay United manager Gary Johnson says the team are desperate to stay top of the National League table ‘for when the fans come back’.

Torquay are five points clear at top of the table after they beat FC Halifax Town 2-1 on Saturday afternoon and Wealdstone and Sutton United drew 3-3 in the evening kick off.

A goal in each half by Asa Hall and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans won a tough game for the Gulls at Halifax – but it could have been an easier afternoon if Danny Wright had put away the penalty he ended up smashing over the bar.

Ahead of a period of nine days without a game – with next weekend’s visit of Dagenham & Redbridge postponed because of their involvement in the FA Cup – Johnson said: “You get all types of games in this league and you have got to see them through. If you are at the top you desperately want to stay top for when the fans come back. That’s going to be important to us.

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson on the touchline during the English National League game between FC Halifax Town and Torquay United at The Shay on Nov 21 – PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

“We showed enough approach play and we scored two great goals to be fair but we could have had a couple more and it could have been a lot easier had we taken a few more opportunities in the first half.

“You want outstanding performances every week but nobody ever gets that. So that is the level we are at. But as long as the boys work hard and they know why they are doing what they are doing – and enjoying it – then it’s good to be up there and nicking games ever so often late on.

“Sometimes you have to give credit to the lads. They are out there, they are working hard, and we have had a lot of fixtures recently.

“We have tried to game-manage in training but I think both teams showed a little bit of legginess towards the end and it was good that we were 2-1 up at the time.

“You lose a bit of sharpness from fatigue but we hung on in there and I think we certainly created more chances than they did in the game.”

Johnson made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Boreham Wood the previous weekend with midfielder Adam Randell sitting the game out after picking up two yellow cards and being sent off in that game, and left back Dean Moxey also not in the squad.

Defender Gary Warren was brought into the team which meant Kyle Cameron moved out to left back, while there was a first start for striker Billy Waters.

Goal celebration by Torquay United player Asa Hall during the English National League game between FC Halifax Town and Torquay United at The Shay on Nov 21 - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK
Goal celebration by Torquay United player Asa Hall during the English National League game between FC Halifax Town and Torquay United at The Shay on Nov 21 – PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

Ben Whitfield set up Torquay’s 17th-minute opener when his low cross from the left – after some good work by Cameron – was perfect for Hall to hit home from 15 yards.

In the second half, Nemane won the Gulls a penalty. It was a debatable one but that didn’t matter because Wright sent the spot kick high over the bar.

In the 83rd minute Lemonheigh-Evans did really well in the box, turning to create a shooting opportunity, and smashing the ball home for 2-1. It was a quality goal.

Because of the Dagenham postponement, next up for the Gulls is a trip to Wealdstone on Tuesday, December 1.





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