Match Centre

Torquay United (A)
15:00 - Saturday 21st August 2021
National League (Plainmoor)
Goals: Marcus Dinanga [14'] Connor Kirby [20'] Toby Mullarkey [84']
Goals (Opponent): [' og]
Attendance: 2599
Referee: Robert Massey Ellis
1 Tony Thompson
24 Joel Senior
19 David Fitzpatrick
25 Toby Mullarkey
5 Tom Hannigan
6 Jake Moult
15 Connor Kirby
10 Josh Hancock
9 Marcus Dinanga
7 Dan Mooney
11 Ryan Colclough
Torquay United
1 Mark Halstead
2 Ben Wynter
4 Tom Lapslie
5 Ali Omar
9 Danny Wright
10 Armani Little
16 Keelan O'Connell
17 Gabriel Rogers
21 Dean Moxey
30 Dan Holman
31 Joe Lewis
3 Dan Martin
8 Asa Hall
14 Chiori Johnson
19 Klaidi Lolos
23 Marcin Brzozowski
20 Aug 2021 by John Edwards

The eve of another season is finally upon us, and as Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson and his squad - not to mention in excess of 100 Robins fans - prepare to hit the road for Devon, ED PAINTER sets the scene for what lies in wait.

The Robins begin their 2021/22 Vanarama National League campaign on Saturday when they journey south to face last season’s play-off finalists Torquay United at Plainmoor.

Following a busy pre-season schedule which was designed to give every player a good workout, Phil Parkinson’s side enter the new season hoping to improve upon last season’s 17th place finish.

Facing the likes of Ashton United, Bradford (Park Avenue), Stoke City under-23s and Huddersfield Town B this summer, Alty developed a respectable pre-season record of five wins, two losses and two draws, scoring 18 goals and conceding 10.

In our most recent outing against Huddersfield Town B, a game which was played behind closed doors, goals from Dan Mooney, Marcus Dinanga and Tom Peers helped secure an impressive 3-1 win, a result which will no doubt fill the side with confidence ahead of our trip to Torquay.

Alty started brightly, with Dinanga, Tom Hannigan, and Matty Kosylo all having first-half efforts denied by Aleksandar Petrovic in the Terriers' goal.

However, they entered the break a goal down, courtesy of an impressive strike from Huddersfield skipper Ben Jackson, who picked the ball up 30 yards from goal before unleashing an effort which Tony Thompson was unable to keep out.

Top scorer for the Robins this summer, Mooney was particularly impressive at the Canalside Training Ground in West Yorkshire, combining well with a trialist and Dinanga to fashion an equaliser, with the former Fleetwood Town man darting beyond two defenders before finishing past the ‘keeper.

That goal seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and, only five minutes later, Parkinson’s side had the lead when Josh Hancock intelligently picked out Dinanga's run before the former Stevenage man dinked the ball delightfully over the advancing Petrovic.

Following a disallowed goal for one of the two trialists on display, the game was put to bed with 10 minutes to spare. A flowing move involving A-Jay Leitch-Smith and Toby Mullarkey saw the ball fall to the feet of Peers, who completed the passage of play with a calm right foot shot from 12 yards.

Last Meeting

The last time the two teams met was on the final day of last season, a game which finished all square in front of a passionate crowd of 1,302 supporters.

In an encounter which was short on goalmouth action, Alistair Smith’s spectacular first half effort almost sent the home faithful into raptures, only for visiting ‘keeper Lucas Covolan to produce an acrobatic save.

Torquay had chances of their own in the second half to end their league programme with a win, as Kyle Cameron saw his looping header cleared off the line by Alty captain Jake Moult, before Adam Randell was left frustrated when he directed his header marginally off-target.

But both defences were comfortably in charge of the opposition attacks and there was a sense that a point was a satisfactory outcome for both Phil Parkinson and opposing manager Gary Johnson.

Watch the highlights from that 0-0 draw by pressing play below.

The Opponents

A side that came oh so close to securing a long-awaited return to the Football League, losing to Hartlepool United in last season’s play-off final, Torquay United will have their eyes firmly set on going one better this time around.

However, they will have to do so off the back of several key departures, with the likes of Covolan, Billy Waters, Cameron, Ben Whitfield and Aaron Nemane all pursuing opportunities away from Plainmoor.

With plenty of work to do to rebuild their squad this summer, Gulls boss Johnson has been quick to bolster his ranks, securing the signatures of Ali Omar (Barnsley), Mark Halstead (Morecambe), Tom Lapslie (Colchester United), Gabriel Rogers (Yeovil Town) and Chiori Johnson (Welling United), among others.

These new signings have seemingly hit the ground running, judging by an impressive pre-season campaign for Torquay, who won all but one game, with that solo loss coming against League One side Plymouth Argyle.

In their last game, against Chippenham Town, goals from Danny Wright, Dan Holman and a trialist helped them to a comfortable 3-0 win, a scoreline that could have been greater had two of Holman’s first-half efforts not struck the crossbar.

The Manager

Torquay United are managed by Gary Johnson, an experienced coach who was appointed in September, 2018, filling the void left by Gary Owers. Throughout the course of his career, Johnson has coached 10 clubs, including spells at Yeovil Town, Bristol City and Cheltenham Town, the latter of which he led to the National League title.

Gary began his coaching career back in 1986 with Newmarket Town, a team he once lined up for as a player. A two-year spell with the Jockeys ended when he became the reserves manager at Cambridge United, before progressing to become first-team manager with the club.

In 1999, the Gulls boss surprised many by dipping his toe into the waters of international management, taking over the Latvian national team, before returning to the UK two years later with Yeovil Town.

After helping the Glovers to successive promotions, he became the manager of Bristol City in 2005, enjoying a five-year spell at Ashton Gate and helping the Robins to a place in the Championship.

Following short spells with Peterborough United and Northampton Town, Johnson returned to Huish Park in 2012, leading the club to the Championship after beating Brentford in the League One play-off final at Wembley.

His trophy-winning record did not end at Huish Park as, in 2017, two years after taking over at Whaddon Road, he led Cheltenham to the National League title, finishing 12 points ahead of second-placed Forest Green Rovers. He was let go by the Robins in 2018 and subsequently signed on at Plainmoor.

Last five games

Torquay United: WWLWW (F11 A4)

Altrincham: LWDDW (F8 A9)

Listen to the game Live on Radio Robins

You can listen to live commentary on Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery and the broadcast starts at 2.45pm.

The match commentary sponsor is Andy’s Man Club.

The commentary team is Mark Simpson, Laurence Howarth and Brian Flynn.

You can listen to Radio Robins in any of the following ways:

1) By visiting our Match Centre on the club website.

2) Download and install the Mixlr app on Android devices from the Google Play Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.

3) Download and install the Mixlr app on Apple devices from the Apple Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.


21 Aug 2021 by Brian Flynn

He's got a foot like a traction engine!!

Toby Mullarkey's stunning strike seals a memorable victory in Devon.

Picture: Jonathan Moore

Altrincham manager, Phil Parkinson spoke to Brian Flynn after the Robins stunned the Gulls as Alty opened their National League campaign with a 3-1 win at Plainmoor.

Final Score: Torquay United 1 Altrincham 3 (Dinanga 14' Kirby 20' Mullarkey 84')Not too bad a way to start the season boys! What an absolutely incredible performance and what an amazing turnout from the Alty faithful!!!!!!!
94' Jake Moult wins a great header to put a stop to another Torquay attack! (1-3)
90' Five minutes of added time! (1-3)
81' Ali Omar slides in on Peers and is subsequently booked! (1-2)
80' Tom Peers is fouled and Alty have a free-kick! (1-2)
76' PEERS ALMOST RESTORES OUR TWO-GOAL LEAD!!A lovely ball in played into Tom but his effort is saved brilliantly from close range! Ritchie Sutton comes on in place of Dan Mooney! (1-2)
73' Torquay pull a goal back! Ball bobbles around the Alty goalmouth before finding the back of the net! (1-2)
71' Colclough's dangerous corner eventually falls to Peers, but his effort is defended on the line! (0-2)
70' A dangerous ball into the Torquay are is hacked clear. Great play!!! (0-2)
68' Left-footed effort from Rodgers but the ball sails wide of Thompson's goal! (0-2)
64' SOOO CLOSE!!!!!!Jake Moult's header looks to take a touch off a Torquay arm, but the ref isn't interested and the danger is cleared! (0-2)
64' Second sub for Alty. Marcus Dinanga is replaced by Tom Peers! (0-2)
63' Excellent play from Dinanga, who wins us a corner! (0-2)
61' Torquay look to be in on goal but the linesman has raised his flag! (0-2)
55' Jake Moult and Danny Wright come together and the ref stops play! Looks like Danny Wright is booked for the incident, while Dan Holman and Connor Kirby are also booked in the aftermath! (0-2)
51' A stoppage in play as Danny Wright is pulled up for a late tackle! (0-2)
48' Mullarkey almost turns the ball home from a dangerous corner! Colclough delivers another dangerous ball and Dinanga is inches away from adding a third! (0-2)
Second half is underway! (0-2)
Half Time: Torquay United 0 Altrincham 2 (Dinanga 14' Kirby 20'). An excellent first half for the Robins, who carry a two-goal lead into the second half.
45+ Moxey flattens Mooney and is rightly booked. (0-2)
45' Three minutes of added on time! (0-2)
44' Ball comes in but Moult clears the ball out of the Alty box. (0-2)
43' Brad Jackson is booked and Torquay have a free-kick in a dangerous position. (0-2)
41' A stoppage in play as Tom Hannigan goes down with a head injury. (0-2)
38' Thompson forced into his first real action of the game, making a good save to put a stop to an impressive Torquay period of play! (0-2)
35' A tremendous challenge from Hannigan who dispossesses Holman in a dangerous position! (0-2)
30' Alty forced into an early change as David Fitzpatrick picks up an injury. Brad Jackson takes his place (0-2)
28' Rogers does well for Torquay and he drives the ball across the box, but with the ball falling to Lapslie, the midfielder cant hit the target. (0-2)
27' Mooney and Senior are linking up brilliantly down the right-hand side. Causing the Torquay defence all sorts of trouble. (0-2)
22' Torquay come close but a dangerous corner isn't turned home by the towering defender. (0-2)
20' CONNOR KIRBY ADDS A SECOND. Joel Senior mugs his marker before putting the ball on a plate for Kirby to finish (0-2)
17' Armani Little is booked (0-1)
14' WE ARE AHEAD. Excellent work from Mooney, with the ball eventually finding Dinanga in space to open the scoring (0-1)
12' Armani Little absolutely clatters Kirby and is given a warning by the ref. Free-kick Alty! (0-0)
8' Great defending from Kirby to deny a Torquay attack. Ball definitely goes behind off an Alty man but ref awards us a goal kick! (0-0)
5' Free-kick to Alty after Hancock is fouled! Comes to nothing (0-0)
Teams are on their way out. Kick off is only moments away!
Not long now until kick off. Here is to hoping we begin our 2021/22 Vanarama National League season with all three points!!
Torquay United Team News: Mark Halstead, Ben Wynter, Tom Lapslie, Ali Omar, Danny Wright, Armani Little, Keelan O'Connell, Gabriel Rogers, Dean Moxey, Dan Holman, Joe Lewis. Subs: Dan Martin, Asa Hall, Chiori Johnson, Klaidi Lolos, Marcin Brzozowski.
Altrincham Team News: Tony Thompson, Joel Senior, David Fitzpatrick, Toby Mullarkey, Tom Hannigan, Jake Moult (c), Connor Kirby, Josh Hancock, Marcus Dinanga, Dan Mooney, Ryan Colclough. Subs: Tom Peers, Ritchie Sutton, A-Jay Leitch-Smith, Ben Pringle, Brad Jackson.
The 2021/22 Vanarama National League season is finally here. Welcome to this afternoon's live blog as the Robins take on last-season's play-off finalists Torquay United. We will get you some team news as soon as we can!