Wed, 23rd Mar 2011 | TorquayUnited | 2,365 Views, 1 Nod.


Gulls 2
Branston 28
Murray 70

Cheltenham 1
Andrew 89

IT is official: the Gulls are flying.

Cheltenham were swept aside with consummate ease on a terrifically efficient night at Plainmoor.

Guy Branston headed a comfortable first on 28 minutes and Ronan Murray sealed the win with an accomplished finish in the second half.

It was a beautifully simple victory that lifted the men in Yellow to the verge of the automatic promotion places with just eight games remaining, although the Robins did remove a slither of gloss with a late consoltaion from Danny Andrew.

United boss Paul Buckle allowed himself a slight tweak to the side that came back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to secure an incredible 3-3 draw at Macclesfield on the weekend. Ben Pringle dropped out of the squad for Joe Oastler to slot in on the bench. Murray was the other beneficiary, restored to partner Gavin Tomlin in attack.

Cheltenham manager Mark Yates understandably stuck with the same starting 11 and bench after a terrific 3-2 win at Bury on Saturday, which included a sensational brace from experienced midfielder Joshua Low.

It was United's Craig Stanley who took just three minutes to make his mark on the midfield area, scooping a lovely ball wide for the in-form Jake Robinson, who cut inside and fired a comfortable low shot for Scott Brown in the Cheltenham goal.

The sprightly Robinson remained United's principal threat in a drab opening 15 minutes with the pace of Wesley Thomas and former Gull Matt Green a mild cause for concern at the other end.

It was, however, a start to the game that needed inspiration and it almost arrived in the form of a corner from Kevin Nicholson that was steered over the line by the head of Chris Robertson.

First impressions suggested the United defender had climbed over his marker but some unclear officiating gave brief hope that the goal had been given before referee Steve Tanner eventually turned his thumbs down to the hopeful Yellows.

The Gulls suddenly had verve in their play and Damon Lathrope fed Murray for an instant swivel and shot from 25 yards that had Brown at full stretch to tip over the bar.

United continued to slowly turn the Yellow screw and the reward arrived just before the half-hour mark when a superbly flighted Stanley corner was headed powerfully beyond Brown by the imposing figure of Branston.

It was simple and effective stuff from the Gulls, and represented a second goal of the season for Branston after opening his account with the dramatic weekend equaliser.

Cheltenham looked a deflated side until they were presented with an opening following a rare mistake by Robinson, but Green thundered his low shot narrowly past Scott Bevan's far post.

Thomas was given an even better chance when United allowed a long punt forward to bounce and the Robins' leading scorer planted his low shot into Bevan's side-netting with the home defence struggling to recover.

United reasserted a semblance of control after a brief sleepy spell to coast through to a very satisfactory half-time lead.

The second period resumed with a return to the tempo that had taken the Yellows clear and Tomlin was unlucky to see his powerful snap-shot from just inside the area palmed away by the sprawling Brown.

Murray was the instigator of United's next foray, weaving a wonderful path through the centre of the pitch before slipping the ball to Zebroski on the right, but his shot was an ugly hack over the bar.

Yates had seen enough from his lacklustre team and he withdrew Green and Frankie Artus for the fresh legs of Jeff Goulding and Jake Thomson, another former Yellow.

United remained in the ascendancy, however, and Nicholson carved open the visitors with a dazzling run and cross from the left. Stanley's determination forced the ball into the path of Tomlin, who showed a rare heavy touch at the crucial moment.

It was the final contribution of another strong performance from Tomlin, as he was rested for the fresh legs Eunan O'Kane.

The new man was instantly involved, feeding a pass to Murray, who laid it wide for captain Lee Mansell. Andy Gallinagh then made a horrible mess of the bouncing cross and Murray had continued his run to slot home the easiest of goals.

The Gulls were now strolling and looking a class above their hapless visitors, and another sensational move involving Stanley and Zebroski had the Plainmoor public purring with admiration. Zebroski's next trick was a powerful run and fizzing shot from 25 yards that shaved Brown's post.

No more goals arrived and Andrew scraped an undeserved consolation for Cheltenham, but United's dominance was expressed in every other way on a great night in TQ1.

Gulls (4-4-2): 1 Scott Bevan; 7 Lee Mansell (capt), 5 Chris Robertson, 23 Guy Branston, 3 Kevin Nicholson; 26 Chris Zebroski, 6 Craig Stanley, 22 Damon Lathrope, 9 Jake Robinson (19 Danny Stevens 84); 11 Ronan Murray (8 Billy Kee 80), 15 Gavin Tomlin (10 Eunan O'Kane 69). Substitutes (not used): 2 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, 4 Mark Ellis, 16 Danny Potter (gk), 18 Joe Oastler.

Cheltenham (4-4-2): 1 Scott Brown; 2 Keith Lowe, 5 Andy Gallinagh, 22 Steve Elliott, 3 Danny Andrew; 8 Joshua Low (11 Brian Smikle 78), 4 David Bird, 7 Michael Pook (capt), 20 Frankie Artus (28 Jake Thomson 58); 23 Matthew Green (10 Jeff Goulding 58), 9 Wesley Thomas. Substitutes (not used): 12 Daniel Lloyd-Weston (gk), 17 Theo Lewis, 24 Marlon Pack, 26 Ashley Eastham.

Referee: Steve Tanner.

Attendance: 2,186 (103 away).



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Wed, 23rd Mar 2011
Went forward and kept up the pressure-Zebroski ran his heart out as did Jake Robinson. Keep going forward and auto promotion is on! No reason why we can't persuade some of the loan players to stay? Robinson, Stanley and Pringle?? Well Done!
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