Bideford AFC 0
(Duku 17′, Reid 45′, Trialist A 50′, 75′, Koszela 60′)
United began their preparations ahead of the 2019/20 Vanarama National League campaign with a convincing 5-0 win over a committed Bideford side at The Sports Ground.
Goals from Manny Duku and Jamie Reid gave Gary Johnson’s men a comfortable advantage at the interval, before second half efforts from Trialist A (2) and Olaf Koszela added further gloss to the scoreline.
After a bright start from the hosts, United, modelling the Navy Blue rendition of their three new strips, began to impose themselves on the game. Asa Hall was the first to test the keeper with a firm drive that was palmed behind for a corner. From the resultant flag-kick, it was United’s captain again who threatened, but this time his header sailed wide of the target.
Bideford responded well and came perilously close to taking the lead themselves on eight minutes with a strike that cannoned off the crossbar and bounced down and away to safety.
With 18 minutes on the clock, United took the lead as summer signing Duku opened his account for the club with a neat finish from eight yards, despite Shaun Downing’s best efforts to clear.
Shortly after, home ‘keeper Joe Moore produced a fine point-blank save to deny Reid as Johnson’s men began to take charge.
Duku thought he had doubled his, and United’s, tally for the evening on 24 minutes, however this time the assistant’s flag denied the Dutchman.
Bideford were still making a game of it, but United’s attack, which won so many points and plaudits last season, were beginning to threaten the Robins’ backline at regular intervals.
In midfield, Armani Little was giving the travelling Yellow Army a first glimpse of his undoubted potential by bossing the midfield. Some delightful interplay with Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala was so nearly rewarded with the end product it deserved.
Kalala would prove to be the catalyst on the stroke of half-time as Torquay extended their advantage through a familiar source.
United’s French winger travelled the length of the field with his trademark close control, before feeding the ball to Reid, who slammed the ball into the net in impressive style to make it 2-0.
Despite a number of substitutions at the break, United never threatened to lose their grip on the match, and during their second half they began to take the game away from their Southern League opponents.
Five minutes in, from their sixth corner of the game, United made it 3-0.
Andrews’ delivery was excellent, and at the second attempt, it was Trialist A who fired into the net to put the result beyond doubt.
On the hour mark Koszela announced his introduction, as he drove past a number of retreating Bideford defenders, before delicately dinking the ball past the onrushing keeper for Torquay’s fourth.
A number of United’s youth team players duly entered the action, with the match taking some time settle down following their introduction.
The Gulls weren’t done though, and with 15 minutes to go, they scored again.
Koszela, revelling in his first pre-season match as a professional, fired in an effort towards goal and Trialist A was on hand to divert the ball into the net and make it 5-0.
United saw out the remainder of the game to round off a comfortable win for Johnson’s side, with the next test coming in the shape of a visit to Buckland Athletic on Saturday (13/07/19 3pm KO).
TUFC: 1. Shaun MacDonald (GK) (28. Lucas Covolan Cavagnari, HT (21. Andy Collings, 66′)), 2. Ben Wynter (24. Josh Baxter, 60′), 4. Kyle Cameron (22. Jacob Evans, 60′), 5. Jean-Yves Koue Niate (Dickson, 60′), 7. Ruairi Keating (23. Louie Slough, 60′), 8. Asa Hall (15. Trialist A, HT), 9. Manny Duku (14. Trialist C, HT), 10. Armani Little (18. Olaf Koszela, HT), 11. Jake Andrews (25. Owen Price, 60′), 19. Jamie Reid (Trialist B, HT), 20. Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala (30. Matt Buse, HT).