Attacking display against Robins sets standard for Gulls' season
MANAGER Alan Knill hopes that this psychologically important victory will have set a benchmark for the standards that Torquay United need to produce every week from now on.
Just when some fans were starting to get a little edgy, after one point and one goal from three games, Knill's Gulls beat old Play-Off rivals Cheltenham with their best attacking display of the season.
Goals by Callum Ball (2), Karl Hawley and Jordan Chapell also clinched United's first home win of the campaign.
"The players worked so hard for these three points, but that's how hard you have to work every week if you want to be successful" was the message that Knill stressed to his players after the final whistle.
NEW FROM SYMPLY - a wet dog food in a tray freshly steamed with real meat and veg you can see minimum of 68% meat content up to 72% in the adult trays.
Terms: Come and try tray at introductory price of £1
Contact: 01271 440626
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
"All week we have been working with all the players on crossing, shooting, getting into the box and being brave.
"So I don't think it's a coincidence that we have scored goals today."
Knill, who introduced Tom Cruise for Kevin Nicholson at left-back, was especially pleased for young on-loan centre-forward Callum Ball, who finally broke his 'duck' for United in his tenth match.
"We've been working on getting Callum into the box more, because if he gets in there we know he can finish," said Knill.
"He did that today, and it will be a massive boost to his confidence."
Chapell supplied the 'assist' for Ball to open the scoring from 12 yards after only two minutes, but Cheltenham equalised through Byron Harrison's header in the 13th minute of a first half which could easily have produced half-a-dozen goals.
Both Martin Rice and Town goalie Scott Brown were called on to make saves – one by Rice from Steve Elliott was top-class – before Ball struck again in first-half stoppage-time.
Ball's first-time shot from Hawley's left-wing cross deflected off centre-half Elliott and looped over Brown...2-1 and a key goal at a key time.
Chapell was involved again, helping the busy Hawley to cut in from the left wing to make it 3-1 with a smart finish in the 48th minute.
But an entertaining game continued when the Robins' striker Terry Gornell made the most of Russell Penn's through-ball, despite a despairing lunge from Krystian Pearce, to cut the deficit in the 65th minute...3-2.
Cheltenham has real strength on the bench, and manager Mark Yates sent on Ashley Vincent, Jason Taylor and former Exeter striker Jamie Cureton in an effort to salvage a point.
On another day United might have wilted under the pressure of trying to clinch that vital first home win, but they thoroughly deserved the goal that clinched it.
A classy move ended when Ball's pass set up Chapell for his third goal of the campaign in the 89th minute.
Individually, as well as collectively, United ticked plenty of boxes, few more so that Ben Harding, whose rasping near-miss in the first minute prompted his best display of a still-young season.
Full-backs Dale Tonge, the sponsors' man-of-the-match, and Cruise were among many others who played well.
Torquay United (4-4-2): Rice; Tonge, Pearce, Downes, Cruise; Chapell, Mansell, Harding, Bodin; Ball, Hawley (Benyon 71); subs not used – Nicholson, Lathrope, Cameron, Craig, Sullivan, C. Thompson (gk).
Booked: Bodin 17, Downes 49.
Cheltenham Town: Brown; Lowe, Wilson, Elliott, Jombarti; McGlashan, Penn, Richards (Vincent 60), Noble (Taylor 79); Gornell (Cureton 79), Harrison; subs not used – Deering, Roberts, Kotwica.
Booked: Noble 45, Gornell 65.
Referee: Darren Deadman.
Attendance: 2,407 (247 Robins fans).