Next Match – Torquay United (H)

Torquay United are the visitors to Twerton Park this weekend in a mouthwatering final home contest of the regular league season.

It’s a game where a win will be so crucial for both. For City it could clinch a play-off spot, for Torquay it might mean survival. The Gulls’ win over Truro on Monday, in a game played at Gloucester, moved them five points clear of the drop. They’re only in this predicament after entering administration last month, which saw 10 points taken from their tally and led to Gary Johnson leaving by mutual consent after nearly five and a half years at the helm. Aaron Downes has taken over as interim manager and has overseen three wins, three draws and four defeats.

Monday’s success was their first on the road since late-November’s midweek win at Eastbourne. Torquay had drawn three and lost eight away in all competitions since that 4-1 victory, conceding three or more on four occasions. They’ve lost their last 10 away games after conceding first.

They’ve also been hit by striker Aaron Jarvis being on the sidelines. He’s missed half the season after crashing into a hoarding at Weston last October and although he returned just after Downes’ appointment, scoring two in three games, he’s not figured in the last six. The goalscoring has come from an unlikely source in on-loan full-back Arkell Jude-Boyd. The highly rated defender/wing-back is on loan from QPR and netted the opener in Monday’s win with Brad Ash notching his 12th of the season afterwards.

The only player remaining in Torquay’s squad from their last visit to Twerton Park is Asa Hall, who netted in the epic encounter in January 2019 which saw City win 3-2 in front of nearly 3,500. Freddie Hinds opened the scoring for the Romans before Hall headed home before half-time. Jamie Reid, now of Stevenage and Northern Ireland, bundled home a second for the Gulls who then squandered a penalty with Jake Andrews ballooning into the Bristol End. Anthony Straker showed him how to convert from the spot, rolling home after Ryan Brunt had been fouled before Brunt, formerly of Plymouth and Exeter, left the Devonians feeling deflated with a dramatic winner. It ended Torquay’s club record 16-game unbeaten run but they went on to win National League South whereas City lost in the play-offs to Wealdstone.

Torquay won the previous fixture between the two this season 1-0 at Plainmoor, as they did in August 2018 when they were managed by Gary Owers. He’s one of many with links across the two clubs, the two most stand-out are Ken Allen and Richard Bourne. Goalkeeper Allen enjoyed two spells with United in the 1980s between his two stints at Twerton Park. Bourne left City for Torquay in 1979, he represented the Gulls for three seasons in the Football League.

A packed house is expected at Twerton Park this weekend so secure your ticket early here and cheer on the team for possibly the final time at Twerton Park this season!