Torquay United recorded a tenth consecutive victory in the National League South as they comfortably saw off ten-man Slough Town 4-0 at Plainmoor.
The Rebels’ Ben Harris was shown a straight red card with 45 minutes on the clock after gesturing towards the Yellow Army in attendance. He’d received a caution seconds earlier for a rash challenge on Liam Davis.
Shortly after the restart, Ben Wynter slammed home his effort from 20-yards to fire the Gulls into a richly deserved lead. Jake Andrews netted a second with a low free-kick beyond Jack Turner.
Substitute Ruairi Keating scored the third – a tap-in from Kalala’s excellent delivery on 87 minutes – before Asa Hall sealed the points with a cool finish from close-range.
The Yellows were unchanged from the 3-1 win over Truro City at Plainmoor on New Year’s Day, whilst Slough top scorer James Dobson was dropped to the bench for the Rebels following their 1-0 defeat to Wealdstone on the same afternoon.
Torquay started the brightest in the opening five, Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala successfully taking on and dribbling past two blue shirts before a well-threaded pass to Saikou Janneh who tried to find Jamie Reid, though this was blocked for a corner.
Janneh was causing trouble on the flanks once again moments later, fainting a touch and evading his man before cutting the ball back for Andrews to fire narrowly wide across goal from the edge of the box.
Lumbombo-Kalala was back in the thick of the action in the 12th minute, beating another two Rebels defenders out wide before Janneh’s fierce effort was palmed away at the near post by Turner.
In the 20th minute, Davis weaved his way past three before a barge cut his run short. The perpetrator, Guy Hollis, was shown a yellow for his troubles.
Torquay continued to dominate proceedings as Reid fired a tame effort at Turner from distance. Then after a frustrating twenty minutes of few chances, Lumbombo-Kalala’s whipped delivery gave Asa Hall all the space in the world to convert from six-yards, but his header drifted over. The assistant referee’s flag was raised anyway.
Drama ensued minutes later, Harris was shown yellow for a rash challenge on Davis before receiving a straight red seconds after for frustrated gestures towards the Yellow Army on the side. Half-time arrived and the Gulls went into the break with a man advantage.
Within three minutes of the restart, Wynter fired Torquay into a deserved lead with a rifled effort from twenty yards. He’d found himself in acres of space to shoot after Reid’s close-range effort was well kept out by Turner.
With the visitors having to pile men forward, they were left severely depleted in defence. Reid mounted the first of multiple counter-attacks. He threaded a ball into Janneh, his shot from a relatively narrow angle was pushed away for another Torquay corner by Turner. Lumbombo-Kalala was next to try his luck from distance but his low effort was narrowly wide of the far post.
Then it was 2-0 to the Gulls in the 65th minute, A free-kick from the same distance that Wynter had earlier rippled the back of the net gave Andrews an opportunity to get on the scoresheet. He did just that, with a low effort to the ‘keeper’s right and the Yellows were out of sight!
As the sun set on a chilly Plainmoor, Slough had the ball in the back of the net shortly following the raising of the linesman’s flag. Then Torquay grabbed a third on 87 minutes – Keating the scorer as he tapped home Lumbombo-Kalala’s well-placed delivery into the six-yard box.
There was time for a couple of more clear-cut opportunities. Jamie Reid stroked a shot wide as the board went up for three minutes. Hall then signed off an impressive 4-0 victory in stoppage time with a calm finish from short-range to send the Gulls five points clear at the top of the National League South, their tenth consecutive win in the competition.
TUFC: 1. Shaun MacDonald (GK), 2. Ben Wynter, 3. Liam Davis, 6. Jamie Sendles-White, 8. Asa Hall ©, 10. Saikou Janneh (7. Ruari Keating 72’), 11. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 17. Kyle Cameron, 18. Jake Andrews, 19. Jamie Reid, 20. Kalvin Lumbumbo-Kalala (16. Ryan Dickson 88’) SUBS NOT USED: 4. George Essuman, 13. George Burton (GK), 14. Samir Nabi
Bookings: Reid (78’)
Slough Town: 1. Jack Turner (GK), 2. Josh Jackson, 3. George Wells, 4. Guy Hollis, 5. Mark Nisbet (14. James Dobson 76’), 6. Lee Togwell, 7. Sam Togwell, 8. Simon Dunn (14. Louis Soares 72’), 9. Ben Harris (12. Scott Davies 69’), 10. Chris Flood, 11. Warren Harris. SUBS NOT USED: 16. Dejon Noel-Williams, 17. Sean Fraser.
Bookings: Hollis (21’) & Harris (45’)
Red Card: Harris (45’)
Referee: Jason Richardson
Attendance: 2364 (117 away)
Match report by Alex Bullions