A daunting and unpredictable trip to Fratton Park beckoned for the Gulls on a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon in Portsmouth, as a first goal and first win was at stake for the yellow army on the day.
A touch and go pitch inspection was passed at roughly 9:30 am, meaning the incredibly loyal 741 Torquay Fans could make the trip to Fratton comfortably.
Most of the United fans arrived at The Waterfront City around 2pm, with most fans entering the gate with immediate effect.
The away end filled up positively and quickly, as the extraordinarily loud away fans bellowed a range of chants, a memorable one being The Beatles – Hey Jude, changed to fit the Torquay lyrics.
As the game kicked off, it appeared it would be an end to end match, as both sides threatened their oppositions goals. After a series of outstanding defending tackles and clearances, it appeared the inevitably changed side from Oxford, was going to take the front foot.
A knock around in the box resulted to the ball falling perfectly for Billy Bodin, as the off balance winger struck the ball home from close range.
It was 1-0 to Torquay. Game on.
A frenzy of attack inevitably came from the home side, as the 15,000 home fans tried their best to lift their team from a disappointing 1-0 deposit.
A vital Dale Tonge block being the defensive highlight of Uniteds first half, as he stopped a goal bound strike finding Michael Poke’s bottom corner.
A fresher and motivated Gulls side came out the traps for the second half, with the first five minutes being solely Torquay’s.
Portsmouth slowly eased their way back into the game after Uniteds super five minutes, as a flourish of attacking moves led by man-of-the-match Ricky Holmes beckoned for the home side, corner after corner flowed for Pompey, as every second felt like a minute. The game dragged on to 70 minutes as Hargreaves made his first sub, superb Shamir Goodwin made way for usual captain lee Mansell, as he had surprisingly started on the bench. More attacking play continued, as the talented Torquay midfield of Joss Labadie and Damon Lathrope tired, leaving slight sloppy gaps for the Pompey players to exploit. Shortly after these exploitations, a price was nearly payed, as Jake Jervis skied the ball into the loyal Portsmouth crowd, which was followed by a sarcastic jeer from the Gulls support. This was shortly to be replicated by Patrick ‘the tank’ Agyemang, as he blasted over another shot, leaving the Portsmouth fans in dismay once again.
Added time followed shortly after, 3 minutes that quite frankly felt like 3 months, as the half seemed to drag on with extremely late last ditch attempts for an equaliser for Pompey.
But it wasn’t to be, as the outstanding partnership of Pearce and O’Connor held Pompey at bay for the full 90 minutes.
In conclusion; a fantastic defensive display was topped deservedly with 3 points and a first ever win at Fratton Park; a truly extraordinary experience.
Contributed by Will Taylor