A great win for Torquay in a passionate, exciting match. Inevitably all of the attention was on Paul Buckle, who left Torquay for Bristol Rovers in the summer, and took a number of Torquay players with him.
Torquay started excellently, and took the lead on 11 minutes when Taiwo Atieno calmly finished into the corner of the net after some nice work by Danny Stevens and Lee Mansell. This was followed 4 minites later by a penalty from Howe, after Bevan was sold short by a poor back pass and ended up bringing down Atieno. A dream start for Torquay.
By and large, the rest of the match from this point was played in Torquay's half it seemed, albeit with some impressive counter attacks that could well have brought more goals. Howe and Atieno should both have scored clear chances after rounding the keeper, and Scott Bevan made an excellent save from a header by Josh Morris.
Rovers pulled one back on 56 minutes after Torquay gave away an unnecessary corner and then failed to clear. The second half was very tense, and Chris Zebroski, who moved from Torquay to Rovers in the summer, missed a golden chance to equalise near the end.
An excellent, solid performance by Torquay. They had clearly been working hard in defence following the frailities of last week against Burton. Oastler was caught out a few times at right back, out of position or diving into challenges, which is something to keep an eye on. I suspect once Daniel Leadbitter has recovered from his injury he will be the first choice right back. Oastler's best position may well be in the centre of the ark in the long term anyway. He's tough, tall and can pass.
The two strikers were impressive, especially Atieno, who looks a good buy. Olejnik looks good in goal, although he always rolls the ball out to kick, and a couple were very poor.
Danny Stevens was good today, although I think he is still more impressive when moving to the middle of the park rather than the wing. It would be good to fins some way of incorporating that more, even if it means moving O'Kane wider to the right,
A lot of fans were giving Paul Buckle a lot of stick during the game, shouting 'Judas' at him for 'betraying' them by moving to Rovers in the summer. If this was all part of football banter, then so be it, but I hope they really do not feel that way. In four seasons Buckle took Torquay to Wembley twice, Old Trafford, got them promoted from the Conference at the second attempt and very nearly into League 1. We may well not be back in the Fotoball League without him.
At this level Bristol Rovers are a massive club, whilst Torquay are small, over-achievers. At this level, moving from Torquay to Rovers is like moving from Blackburn to Liverpool. Buckle in a young manger in the rise, and I really don't think he could turn that opportunity down.
Torquay owe Paul Buckle an awful lot and I hope in years to come they remember that.
If you were at the game, please leave any thoughts below. Work, weddings and holidays mean I don't think I'm seeing another Torquay game until Morecambe at home on 1st October.