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Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 22 April, 2023 at 3pm.


A ninety-first minute penalty by substitute Zak Goodson all but mathematically condemned Torquay to relegation at the J. Davidson Stadium. It could have been different as Torquay reached the 90-minute mark in the lead, 2-1, but then Altrincham substitute Zak Goodson was brought down in the box and the young forward converted the resulting spot-kick himself.

With York City and Maidenhead United also drawing, the Gulls must now not only beat Wrexham at The Racecourse next week, but also hope that Maidenhead United lose, and that they can overhaul a seven-goal deficit in goal difference between them and Maidenhead.

In a first half of moderate quality, in which Torquay spent a significant spell in the Alty half, it was a counter-attack by Aaron Bennett which led to Regan Linney opening the scoring just before the interval (44 mins).

The second half was a better spectacle. On the hour mark, Asa Hall hit the ball into the upper reaches of the net after a corner had been half-cleared to him to level the score at 1-1.

The same Torquay midfielder made it 1-2 to the visitors, just nine minutes later, with a fine strike from 25 yards, once again after a Gulls' corner had been half cleared out to him.

The Gulls then opted to sit on their lead by winding time with gratuitous unilateral drinks breaks at throw-ins and other breaks in play. They were to pay the price for that approach.

Their 354 fans who had been exultant when their side took the lead were plunged into despair in the ninetieth minute when Goodson turned past his man into the box and was brought down. The young striker, who has spent most of the season away from Moss Lane on loan, coolly converted the resulting penalty to silence the away support.


  • 44 mins: Regan LINNEY (ALTRINCHAM 1 Torquay United 0)
  • 60 mins: Asa HALL (ALTRINCHAM 1 Torquay United 1)
  • 69 mins: Asa HALL (ALTRINCHAM 1 Torquay United 2)
  • 90(+1) mins: Zak GOODSON (ALTRINCHAM 2 Torquay United 2)

REFEREE: Mr Ed Duckworth

ATTENDANCE: 2,480 (354 in away end)

Altrincham made three changes not least because the club's Manchester United loanees (Oyedele and Hugill) were apparently no longer available.

In came Elliot Osborne as well as loanees Aaron Bennett and Kyle Ferguson, the latter returning from injury.

Options were otherwise limited as James Jones remained suspended whilst Ollie Byrne, Miles Welch-Hayes, Egli Kaja and Ross Barrows were out, injured.

Indeed the squad today was so depleted that Phil Parkinson needed to name three players on the bench who had yet to start a National League game, in the shape of Zak Goodson, who had been on loan in the National North, and two home-grown products in goalkeeper Ryan Forde and midfielder Harlan Rodgers-Morris neither of whom had made a league appearance.

Torquay made a change after the warm-up with the veteran, Dean Moxey, replaced by Wyatt at left-back.


ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 21. Matt Gould, 30. Harry Perritt, 5. Kyle Ferguson, 6. Lewis Baines, 2. Eddy Jones, 8. Josh Lundstram , 4. Isaac Marriott, 10. Elliot Osborne, 27. Aaron Bennett, 9. Jordan Hulme (c), 29. Regan Linney. Subs: 11, Luke Burgess, 18. Ben Pringle, 24. Ryan Forde, 25. Harlan Rodgers-Morris, 32. Zak Goodson.

TORQUAY UNITED (Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts): 1. Mark Halstead, 4. Tom Lapslie, 8. Asa Hall (c), 9. Aaron Jarvis, 15. Ben Wyatt, 16. Shaun Donnellan, 19. Nico Lawrence, 27. Jack Stobbs, 28. Kevin Dawson, 31. Lewis Collins, 45. Frank Nouble Subs: 5. Ali Omar, 14. Brett McGavin, 2. Dylan Crowe, 22. Rhys Lovett, 11. Kieron Evans,


Before kick-off, defeat today would relegate Torquay United if either York City or Maidenhead United gained a point elsewhere and even victory for the Gulls would not guarantee survival owing to their poor goal difference figures.

The reverse fixture had been a mad 4-4 draw in which Altrincham had 2-0, trailed 3-1 and then led 3-4 deep into added time.


On a sunny afternoon, with the away end well populated by loyal Torquay supporters who had made a 500-mile round trip more in hope than expectation, Altrincham kicked off towards them.

To describe the opening period as scrappy would be no exaggeration. Throw-ins, petty freekicks and misplaced passes were the order of the day.

After eight minutes Jones did get some space on the left but his fierce cross ball was either a misdirected shot or a greatly over-powered cross.

The visitors won the first corner from a cross from the right but nothing came of it.

Alty goalkeeper Gould probably kicked the ball more than some of his outfield colleagues in the opening stages such were the number of back passes to him.

Things belatedly improved a little, after 17 minutes, when Linney advanced and fed Bennett but he shot disappointngly well over the bar.

Although only brought into the side at the last minute, Wyatt was prominent for the visitors, not least for a number of long throws and it was he who now won a corner (19 mins).

At the other end, Torquay keeper Halstead had to be smart to grab a deflected Lundstram effort before the marauding Hulme reached it (24 mins).

Next, a deflected cross from the right threatened to drop over Gould but he back-pedalled smartly to tip the ball over the bar for another corner (26 mins). In fact the Visitors were now on top and keeping Alty largely in their own half and they should have taken the lead, just before the half-hour mark.

Fortunately for Altrincham, however, former West Ham forward Frank Nouble made a hash of a header which should, at least, have tested Gould (29 mins).

Alty finally hreatened at the other end as Linney turned smartly but sliced his shot high and wide (32 mins). But, soon, the real danger was at the other end as Osborne's foul on Wyatt gave the Gulls a freekick on the front edge of the box (35 mins). It took some ninety seconds to get the wall lined up and the freekick taken and, when it was, Wyatt's effort was struck straight into the wall (37 mins).

Another Torquay corner soon followed and, not long after that, Jarvis almost took advantage of a rare slip by Ferguson (40 mins).

As half-time approached Altrincham belatedly got forward with Bennett surging up the middle. He laid the ball, left, for Linney and the Alty striker fired a shot past Halstead to give his side a lead against the run of play (44 mins).

In one minute of added time, Jarvis fired over from a Nouble pass but, as Altrincham walked off for their half-time break, they were fortunate to find themselves leading.


The second half started with Nouble colliding with the hoardings beyond the bye-line but he recovered to play on. Soon afterwards Osborne's effort almost looped over Halstead (48 mins).

Play switched to the other end where Gould came out of his box to punch clear but collided with Perritt in the process.

And soon afterwards it took an acrobatic clearance off the line by Lapslie, back at the Torquay end, to prevent Alty scoring after Lundstram had got forward on the right and Hulme had fed Bennett.

The end to end action continued with Jarvis threatening and Gould had to make a smart save to get the ball over the bar from close rannge. The resulting corner and another, soon afterwards, came to nothing for the visitors.

Shortly after the referee made Lundstram leave the pitch briefly with an apparent blood injury, Linney got himself booked after an altercation with Wyatt, who also saw a yellow card (57 mins).

Torquay's third corner of the half was won off Ferguson and, though it was half cleared, it fell for Asa Hall to poke into the upper reaches of the net, to the delight of the travelling support behind the goal (60 mins). Josh Lundstram picked up a yellow card in the aftermath.

With chants of "Yellow Army" ringing out, Torquay got forward again but a Jarvis header went comfortably to Gould (65 mins). Gould then made a great stop as he dived low to cut out a dangerous cross (66 mins). Two more Gulls' corners underlined their superiority at this stage. Taken by Stobbs the second corner was half cleared out to Hall who hit a superb 25-yard shot into the net to give the visitors the lead (69 mins).

Alty's discomfiture was underlined when a disgruntled Hulme barged Wyatt into the hoardings behind the goal and was promptly booked (71 mins).

Alty now brought on Burgess in place Bennett who, apart from the opening match of the season, has yet to complete another ninety minutes in either of his two loan spells at Alty (73 mins).

Torquay were now timewasting, seemingly content with three points rather than risking that position by pushing to improve their goal difference, which was far worse than that of their relegation rivals. Bizarrely, they even unilaterally instigated a drinks break whilst delaying taking a throw-in.

After 79 minutes, Osborne gave way to Pringle (79 mins).

With Torquay having surrendered the attackng initiative, Altrincham belatedly got forward and, from a Jones freekick, a Ferguson header was deflected onto the top of the crossbar (82 mins).

Evans now came on for Lapslie for Torquay (83 mins), a process that took an inordinate time as the Gulls continued far from subtly to run down the clock. Alty were now almost caught out when Gould came out to punch clear but the ball went to Lawrence whose goal-bound shot was smartly caught by a stranded Gould in the centre of the penalty area (88 mins).

With it looking like the game would end as an away win for the strugglers, Zak Goodson pcked up the ball and turned past his man in the outer reaches of the penalty area, only to be brought down for a clear penalty. Linney had missed a penalty recently so Goodson himself took the spot-kick, comfortably beating Halstead to render the away support despondent (90+1 mins).

As the four added minutes played out Torquay swappwd their timewasting for a marked degree of urgency.

And they nearly got a reward, after Lundstram had felled Evans 25 yards out, centrally. McGavin came on to replace Wyatt (90+2 mins) and he took the frekick and was inches wide from scoring from it (90+3 mins).

Draws elsewhere for York City and Maidenhead left Torquay almost certainly facing relegation next weekend, barring an unlikely win for the Gulls against champions Wrexham and a large swing in goal difference between Torquay and Maidenhead United, the team just above them in the table.