FOUR reasons why Town won this excellent game.

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork and the best goal ever scored at the McAlpine.

It came 10 minutes from the end of a thoroughly dominant Town performance and proved there's dynamite in the left boot of Tony Carss.

Teammates and management confirmed he's found adjoining woodland and fields when trying the volleyed corner routine in training at Storthes Hall.

Yet on Saturday, he met Andy Holdsworth's flag-kick with perfect precision and drilled an unstoppable shot past the seemingly unbeatable Kevin Dearden to ensure that all bets are off already for Goal of the Season.

The 33-year-old keeper, who had a short spell with Town, had starred in a determined defensive effort from Torquay with goalline stops to deny Nathan Clarke (twice) and Carss when a previous volley took a touch off defender Jason Fowler.

There was nothing he could do with the winner, though, as the ball flashed past him before he could move.

Carss was mobbed by his colleagues, who had kept going superbly in the face of fierce resistance, and the McAlpine went mad. The ex-Oldham man was applauded every step of the way after that - taking corners and even when taking a drink of water near the dug-out!

The whole team deserved their standing ovation at the end, however, and no-one more than the ubiquitous Fowler.

The sooner Town get him signed up from Coventry the better because he was at the heart of the best 90-minute League display of the season.

He hit an odd stray pass, but mostly he was right on the button and his tackling revived memories of Darren Bullock and Jimmy McGill as he worried Torquay out of their stride.

His all-action performance allowed Jon Worthington and Danny Schofield to attack with freedom - the former was desperately unlucky not to score six minutes from time - and it helped the back three to keep a fourth successive McAlpine clean sheet.

Nathan Clarke was terrific on his first home start in 11 months, looking quality at the back and providing a barrage of long throws to keep Leroy Rosenior's side under the cosh for much of the game.

On a day when his 15-year-old brother Tom played a full 90 minutes for the Academy side, too, Clarke could easily have been on the scoresheet.

Twice he met corners with bullet headers and twice he saw Dearden spring across his line to claw the ball away.

Clarke's confidence was reflected in the contributions of colleagues Efe Sodje and Steve Yates, who kept a tight rein on Torquay's eight-goal leading scorer David Graham, and the visitors didn't manage a single shot on target in the entire match.

They created one or two hairy moments on the break, but Town haven't conceded in six hours of McAlpine action and Ian Gray never looked likely to lose the record.

It would have been a travesty, in fact, if Town hadn't won the game because they played some smashing football from first to last and kept working at a fearsome pace.

They were roared every minute of the way by an appreciative home contingent, whose frustration about Town not finding the net was often vented on bemusing referee Carl Boyeson.

He was fortunate to keep control after some shocking decisions, especially when Craig Taylor and Kevin Hill escaped punishment for challenges which were far worse than that for which Holdsworth received a yellow.

Jon Stead, too, was felled from behind by two Torquay defenders as he headed into the box in the first half, but Mr Boyeson remained unmoved as 9,000 voices united in scorn.

Despite his interference, Town continued to pass the ball for fun and Stead joined Andy Booth in providing a tremendous pivot for the attacks.

It took the best of Torquay's defensive efforts to hold out for so long, although Booth would have been disappointed not to make them pay on 19 minutes when a slip left him with a clear shooting chance which he planted well wide.

Town were fluent and menacing while providing tremendous entertainment. This was everything the England match wasn't.

Stead was close on more than one occasion - he would have scored but for a brave block by Taylor - while Booth's aerial threat from open play, set pieces and Clarke's throw-ins was awesome.

Even before he scored, Carss was raiding with purpose and his effort was matched on the opposite flank by Holdsworth, who was back in the side for hip-injury victim David Mirfin and eager to impress.

Holdsworth, 19, showed great maturity and no little skill in supplying some good crosses - and in giving Fowler a ready outlet as he buzzed around midfield.

The watching Hull City manager Peter Taylor was bound to have been impressed, but he had already left by the time Carss' silver boots turned to gold.

The goal immediately brought chants of "the Town are going up" from the home faithful, and few would doubt them after such a comprehensive win.

The scoreline may not reflect it, but this was a hammering for a very useful Torquay side and a convincing statement of intent from Peter Jackson's side.

No wonder he grabbed all of them by the hand as they left the pitch, reserving a special hug for the beaming Carss as he made his way to the tunnel.

TOWN FORM (3-5-2)

Ian Gray Didn't have a single effort to save as he kept a fourth successive McAlpine clean sheet behind a solid defence Rating: 8/10

Andrew Holdsworth Back in the side for injured David Mirfin, he attacked with plenty of purpose as the right wing-back and supplied some good crosses Rating: 8/10

Tony Carss Scored the sort of goal which he and 9,117 will remember for a long, long time: the best ever at the McAlpine Rating: 8/10

Steve Yates Got stuck in and made sure Torquay's eight goal leading scorer David Graham didn't get a sniff of a chance Rating: 8/10

Efe Sodje Dominant display and stamped his authority from the early stages with some towering headers and tackles Rating: 8/10

Nathan Clarke His long throws were a feature and he twice had headers brilliantly saved. Quality at the back as well. Rating: 8/10

Lee Fowler Sign him up. Made the team tick in a bristling midfield show. One or two stray passes but he was excellent Rating: 9/10

Jon Worthington Desperately unlucky not to score and seal the game when McGlinchey cleared off the line after a thrilling late break Rating: 8/10

Danny Schofield Linked well and caused all sorts of problems for Torquay with his close skills, clever ball control and trickery in attack Rating: 8/10

Andy Booth Terrific display of aerial power and hold-up play but will be disappointed he didn't hit the target when clear on 19 mins Rating: 8/10

Jon Stead Good skills on the ball and grafted hard. Close with a couple of headers and aimed his best chance too straight Rating: 8/10

Torquay United

Dearden, Williamson, Woods, Taylor, McGlinchey, Russell, Fowler (Benefield 82), Hill, Kuffour, Graham, Hockley.

Subs not used: Wills, Broad, Camara, Bond.


Lee Fowler

All over the place, putting pressure on Torquay's midfield and allowing them no chance to settle on the ball or create any decent attacks. His work was a major factor in helping Town keep a clean sheet and he set the tempo for a best display of the season.


Tony Carss has been threatening to score with a special volley from a coner all season and Holdsworth gave him the perfect invitation. A credit to all the hard work which is put in on the training ground and it paid off in style


Subs used: Town: none. Torquay: Benefield for Fowler, 82.

Subs not used: Town: Senior, Newby, Scott, Holland, Mattis.

Scorer: Town: Carss 80 mins.

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorks).

Bookings: Town: Yates, Holdsworth. Torquay: McGlinchey, Hill.

Shots on target: Town 9, Torquay 0.

Corners: Town 5, Torquay 2..

Caught offside: Town 1, Torquay 3.

Free-kicks awarded: Town 13, Torquay 16.

Attendance: 9,117 (Away: 290).

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