Late try sees Torquay stay top

Alex Bradley battling for the ball with Mark Shelton

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans struck seven minutes from time to seal table topping Torquay United’s sixth win in seven National League fixtures, with the Gulls leaving Halifax Town with a 2-1 victory under their belts.

Having seen a five game winning run brought to an end at home to a battling Boreham Wood last weekend- with the visitors holding on for a hard fought 1-1 draw – Gary Johnson’s charges were eager to put more points on the board in an attempt to keep the likes of Sutton United, Woking and Maidenhead at bay.

Things appeared to be going to script when Asa Hall put Torquay into a 17th minute lead against their struggling hosts, but Montserrat international forward Jamie Allen hit back early in the second half to haul his side level.

With their rivals hot on their heels, Torquay threw caution to the wind and were rewarded for their efforts, with Lemonheigh-Evans getting the better of home custodian Sam Johnson with a late strike, that left Halifax with little to no time to make amends.

A seventh win of the National League campaign leaves the Gulls three points clear of second place Sutton who, with a game in hand, dropped back after being held to a 1-1 draw against Dagenham and Redbridge.

There was more than just a sprinkling of West Country interest in Halifax’s team, with midfielder Luke Summerfield likely the most recognisable.

The 32-year-old came through the ranks at Plymouth Argyle, and also spent time with AFC Bournemouth and Cheltenham Town.

He was joined in the middle of the park by former Yeovil Town loanee, Martin Woods, while ex-Gloucester City man Jack Senior slotted in at the back alongside Tom Bradbury, also once of Yeovil.

Jake Hyde, once of Weymouth, helped lead the line in the absence of Gold Omotayo – another ex-Glover.

Following a plethora of early chances – most notably for Lemonheigh-Evans, who forced Johnson into pushing a shot around his post for a corner – Ben Whitfield showed some neat touches to set up the opening goal of the encounter, with Hall collecting his pass into the box and cooly beating the goalkeeper.

Hall came close to doubling his – and Torquay’s advantage – but Halifax were next to strike, with the pacey Allen netting his second goal in as many games just seven minutes into the second-half.

With their tails up, the hosts afforded the Gulls a chance to retake the lead when Bradbury brought Aaron Nemane down in the 18-yard-box, but Danny Wright sent his disappointing spot kick over the bar.

Both teams were indebted to their goalkeepers for keeping them in with a chance of a winner, which ultimately arrived when Lemonheigh-Evans picked up on some indecision at the back and finished past Johnson to send the Gulls home with another triumph. A short break ensues before Torquay’s next fixture, an away trip to Wealdstone on Tuesday, December 1.

Halifax Town: Johnson, Byrne, Clarke, Bradbury, Senior, Maher (Nepomuceno, 84), Woods, Summerfield, Green (Earing, 65), Hyde, Allen; Subs not Used: Davison-Hale, Tear, Danns

Torquay United: MacDonald, Wynter, Cameron, Warren, Lemonheigh-Evans, Hall (c), Wright (Andrews, 87), Sherring, Nemane, Waters (Umerah, 74), Whitfield; Subs not Used: Kerr, Price, Covol