Sholing FC 0
(Hall pen 44′, Umerah 75′)
United made it through to the FA Cup first round proper for the third successive season, following victory at Sholing FC on Saturday.
Asa Hall’s penalty on the stroke of half-time gave his side the lead, before Josh Umerah’s second-half clincher secured the club’s place in the first round draw.
Manager Gary Johnson took the opportunity to make a number of changes to his side for the trip to Hampshire, with Shaun MacDonald, Gary Warren, Jake Andrews, Asa Hall and Josh Umerah taking the places of Dover starters Lucas Covolan, Dean Moxey, Aaron Nemane, Danny Wright and Louis Britton.
Relishing their role as underdogs, the hosts started the game well. Although MacDonald was not overly worked, United’s recalled goalkeeper had to show some confident handling in the face of some physical early challenges.
It was Ben Whitfield who went closest to finding the breakthrough in the opening stages, with his 16th minute deflected effort finding its way through Ryan Gosney in the Sholing goal, before sending in a curling effort which sailed just over the crossbar seven minutes later.
A succession of corners was the perfect illustration of Torquay’s growing dominance, with Hall’s header just missing the target on the half-hour.
United continued to bang on the door in the lead up to the interval, with Umerah just failing to make contact from close range after Kyle Cameron directed the ball back across goal on 35 minutes.
Just when it looked as though the sides would be entering the changing rooms all-square, The Gulls were awarded a penalty.
With barely a minute of the first period remaining, a typically rampaging run from Ben Wynter ended with the right-back upended illegally, with the referee immediately reacting by pointing to the spot.
Hall took on the penalty duties for the first time in a Torquay shirt, however there was not a glimmer of any nerves on show, as United’s skipper fired the ball low into the bottom corner to give his side the advantage ahead of the change of ends.
As the game got back underway amid torrential rain, Johnson’s men continued to stamp their authority on proceedings, as they went close to extending their lead twice in the opening few minutes.
In the 53rd minute, a firm drive from Lemonheigh-Evans called Gosney into action, however a minute later, The Boatmen stopper was left to thank the woodwork, as Cameron followed up last weekend’s goalscoring heroics with an outrageous strike from distance that left the post shaking.
With the corner count remaining in The Gulls’ favour by some margin, chances continued to come and go though, until a mistake eventually led to United’s lead being doubled.
In the 75th minute, Gosney made his way out of goal to tidy up a loose ball, however after being dispossessed by Umerah, the frontman showed admirable poise to calmly usher the ball into the net, to score first goal for the club.
That addition to the scoreline was certainly appreciated moments later, as MacDonald was called into serious action for the first time, as he produced a fine save to deny Green, before Hall was forced to clear off the line from the resultant corner.
Having wrestled control from their eager hosts, United continued to push for a third in the closing stages, with Nemane’s effort forcing Gosney to palm the ball away, with fellow replacement Wright just unable to divert the rebound home.
The return to action for Armani Little for the final stages proved to be the icing on the cake, with the midfielder’s welcome return nearly complimented by a goal, as his fierce drive in the 85th minute just failing to find its reward.
With cup progress secured, United return to league action on Tuesday evening with a trip to Aldershot, as Johnson’s side look to maintain their impressive start to the National League season.
Sholing FC: 1. Ryan Gosney, 2. Marvin McLean, 3. Jake Hoole, 4. Prince McLean, 5. Dan Miller, 6. Charlie Wagstaffe (15. Martin Buckland, 65′), 7. Claudio Herbert, 8. Byron Mason (c), 9. Dan Mason, 10. Stuart Green, 11. Brad Targett. SUBS NOT USED: 12. Jamie Bulpitt, 14. Alex Sawyer, 16. Joe Smith, 17. Josh Carey, 18. Nick Watts, 19. Luke Deacon (GK).
Yellow Card: Herbert (87′)
UNITED: 1. Shaun MacDonald, 2. Ben Wynter, 4. Kyle Cameron, 6. Gary Warren, 7. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 8. Asa Hall, 11. Jake Andrews, 12. Adam Randell (23. Aaron Nemane, 60′), 16. Sam Sherring, 34. Ben Whitfield (9. Danny Wright, 60′), 35. Josh Umerah (10. Armani Little, 80′). SUBS NOT USED: 5. Fraser Kerr, 15. Matt Buse, 33. Lucas Covolan (GK).
Yellow Card: Andrews (58′), Warren (72′)