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Club News

League Two Lowdown: Torquay

21 August 2013

Our look at Pompey's 2013/14 opponents continues with the Gulls

Meetings with Pompey
There have been nine previous matches between the sides – the first occurring in Division Three in September 1961.

Goals from Ron Saunders and James Campbell saw the Blues triumph 2-0 at Plainmoor, while Saunders again and Harold Middleton netted in a repeat scoreline at Fratton Park just a week later.

The most recent meetings also came just seven days apart, with the sides drawn together in the first round of the League Cup in August 1999.

Following a goalless draw at Plainmoor, Luke Nightingale (2) and Steve Lovell scored in a 3-0 Blues victory at Fratton Park.

Pompey have won six of the nine matches between the sides, with Torquay triumphing twice and one draw.

Torquay history
The club were formed by a group of school leavers in 1899 and played friendlies at Upton Cricket Club before joining the East Devon League and then the Torquay & District League.

They then merged with local rivals Ellacombe and took the name Torquay Town, moving into their current Plainmoor home.

Another merger – this time with Babbacombe – followed after the First World War and saw the club turn professional and become known as Torquay United once more.

They joined the Football League at the expense of Abedare Athletic in 1927, but finished bottom and had to seek re-election.

Torquay enjoyed one of their finest moments in 1954 when they beat Leeds 4-0 in the third round of the FA Cup. They lost to Huddersfield in the next round, but the Plainmoor attendance of 21,908 remains a record high.

The Gulls had spells in both the third and fourth divisions, but two bottom-placed finishes saw them flirt with falling out of the Football League in 1985 and 1986.

The 1987/88 campaign was an eventful one, with defeat in the play-offs, a League Cup victory over Tottenham and a run to the semi-finals of the Football League Trophy.

There was also the emergence of a young Lee Sharpe, who later left for Manchester United for a club record fee of £180,000.

Torquay finished bottom of the fourth tier again in 1996, but were reprieved because Stevenage’s ground was deemed unfit for the Football League.

Their luck ran out in 2007, however, when a 1-1 draw at home to Peterborough sealed their fate and relegation from League Two.

But Torquay spent just two seasons in the Conference Premier before beating Cambridge at Wembley in the play-off final.

Torquay present
The Gulls finished 17th in their first season back in League Two and reached the play-offs in 2011/12, only to be beaten over two legs by Cheltenham.

They were unable to build on that last term, however, ending the campaign in 19th place – just two points clear of the drop zone.

Information for Pompey fans
Away supporter are housed in the Marsh Toyota Terrace, which holds up to 1,100 people. A further 500 seats can be made available in the Bristow’s Bench Stand.

The ‘boots and laces’ supporters’ club welcomes away fans, while The George Inn and Dog & Duck can be found nearby.

Travelling by road
Postcode: TQ1 3PS
Distance from Fratton Park: 149.1 miles
Estimated drive time: 3 hours 10 minutes

At the end of the M5, follow the A38 and then turn left onto the A380. On reaching Kingskerwell, take the first exit at the large roundabout onto the A3022 towards Torquay. After one mile, turn left towards Babbacomba and after a further mile, turn left into Westhill Road. Street parking is available near the ground.

Travelling by rail
Trains from Portsmouth stations take around four hours and 20 minutes, with changes at Salisbury and Exeter St Davids. The standard adult fare not booked in advance is £53.50. The ground is two miles away from the station.

League Two fixtures
Torquay v Pompey: Saturday, October 26 (3pm)
Pompey v Torquay: Saturday, February 1 (3pm)

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