Jarvis has the last laugh as Gulls 'switch off' at home
EARLY in the first half on Saturday, Plainmoor's Popsiders enjoyed themselves hugely at Ryan Jarvis' expense when the former Torquay United forward went to cross the ball, missed it and kicked the corner-flag instead.
By teatime it was Jarvis who had the last laugh. And how!
It's a football cliche that goals change games, but it was never more true than last weekend.
Injury-hit United looked the better side before the interval, York manager Nigel Worthington admitted later that he was relieved to get in at half-time at 0-0 and Karl Hawley and Billy Bodin had goalbound shots saved in quick succession by City goalie Mike Ingham in the 52nd minute.
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No great cause for concern, we thought. Keep that up, and Alan Knill's men would surely have a great chance of a second home win on the trot.
But straight from Ingham's save from Bodin, York took the ball to the other end and forced a throw on their right.
You could sense that United, still frustrated at not scoring themselves, had let their concentration lapse as Luke O'Neil prepared to take that throw.
'Switched off' is how Knill described it later.
City midfielder Craig Clay took O'Neill's throw, picked out Wes Fletcher in United's penalty area and Fletcher produced a smart touch, turn and volley past Martin Rice from eight yards...0-1.
Ironically, Fletcher's touch had failed him several times in the first half. But he got it right when it counted.
One goal, with 40 minutes to go as it turned out, should not have been a disaster, but Fletcher's strike undoubtedly, and worryingly, changed the game.
The crowd had been subdued anyway, and the team needed to rouse them. It didn't happen.
By contrast, York sensed that United were suddenly there for the taking.
Worthington made a couple of attacking substitutions. Knill sent on Elliot Benyon for debutant Ade Azeez in the 66th minute, only for York to score again seconds later.
Loan signing Anthony O'Connor conceded a free-kick – it was a harsh decision, compounded by a booking for dissent – and Josh Carson's 22-yard shot went in off Rice's fingers and the underside of the bar...0-2.
Finally, in the 73rd minute Rice did well to parry David McGurk's header from a corner, but Jarvis was there to poke the ball over the line from unmissable range...0-3.
He made a point of not making one to the Pop Side.
Even though United conceded three goals, most of their pluses were in defence.
O'Connor looked strong and committed at centre-back, Tom Cruise applied himself well in a makeshift role alongside the new boy, and full-backs Dale Tonge and Kevin Nicholson pushed forward at every opportunity, especially in the first half.
But the injury to Ben Harding just before half-time robbed United of a midfield player who has been starting to show what he can do of late.
Azeez showed some promising touches, especially when he was running at the York defence, and Hawley worked hard.
But there wasn't enough penetration or service from the wings, York 'won' in midfield and the combination of Benyon and Hawley had little chance when the ball started going higher and longer later in the game.
Knill was quick to admit: "We should never lose 3-0 at home, and if you do, you've got to accept criticism.
"There was nothing in it in the first half – if anything we were the better team. But you've got to score.
"We switched off for their first goal, and when the second went in it became a struggle.
"The life of the game is ups and downs, and I can sit here and say we haven't got our two main centre-halves, we lost our central midfield player in the first half and one of our senior goalkeepers isn't fit, but you have to get over all that."
Torquay United (4-4-2): Rice; Tonge, O'Connor, Cruise, Nicholson; Chapell, Mansell, Harding (Lathrope 41), Bodin (Cameron 70); Azeez (Benyon 66), Hawley; subs not used – Ball, Craig, Sullivan, C. Thompson (gk).
Booked: O'Connor (dissent 67).
York City (4-4-2): Ingham; O'Neill (Platt 71), McGurk, Parslow, Davies; Carson, Clay, Whitehouse, Brobbel (Chambers 56); Jarvis, Fletcher (Bowman 64); subs not used – Kettings (gk), Smith, Allan, Puri.
Booked: O'Neill ('dive' 65).
Referee: Michael Naylor (S. Yorks).
Attendance: 2,559 (174 City fans).
Statistics: Fouls – United 11, York 11; Offsides – United 2, York 1; Corners – United 7, York 7; Shots/Headers On Target – United 4, York 4; Off Target – United 8, York 3; Hit Woodwork – United 0, York 1.