Connor Lemonheigh-Evans’ 90th-minute strike for Torquay was enough to inflict a 1-0 defeat on Southend United at Plainmoor.
With both sides looking like taking a point apiece, the Gulls number seven popped up at the far post to slot in Dean Moxey’s low cross and earn Gary Johnson’s side a first home victory of the season while piling more misery on Blues who have now lost their last three.
Phil Brown made two changes to the side that lost 3-2 to Aldershot in midweek as captain John White came in alongside the returning Abu Ogogo to replace Shaun Hobson and Jason Demetriou, as Blues reverted to the 3-5-2 formation deployed at the start of the campaign.
Neither side came into this one in particularly great form, with both claiming just one victory each from their opening six games, and it was Torquay who began the brighter with early efforts from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Gabby Rogers coming to nothing.
Southend found clear chances hard to come by with Josh Coulson having a header on goal cleared the best they could muster early on before the Gulls had a great chance fall to Klaidi Lolos who got into the box but couldn’t pull the trigger quick enough to threaten Steve Arnold’s goal.
Keelan O’Connell then had an opportunity go begging, firing wide from inside the box, as Blues began to get a foothold in the game with Rhys Murphy looking the visitor’s biggest threat. Despite having three good chances though the Blues striker was unable to trouble Shaun MacDonald.
Southend did end the first 45 arguably the stronger of the two sides at Plainmoor and went close to breaking the deadlock when a Jack Bridge corner was headed just wide by Ogogo as it remained goalless at the interval.
Gary Johnson’s side came straight out the traps in the second-half and had a great chance on the counter two minutes after the restart only for Danny Wright to fire straight at Arnold. Blues responded in kind with an effort from Sam Dalby who shot on the turn but shot wide of the mark.
After the hour mark, Torquay began turning the screw and went close from a corner which was headed narrowly wide by Joe Lewis, before Gabby Rogers’ final act before being substituted was to fire over after another set-piece came out to him on the edge of the penalty area.
As we entered the final few moments at Plainmoor it looked like both sides were happy to settle for a point apiece and a clean sheet each, but Torquay had other ideas as they broke through in the final minute of normal time to steal a huge three points for the home side.
The ball fell kindly to Dean Moxey wide on the left who played a first-time ball across the face of goal that was duly dispatched at the far post by Lemonheigh-Evans to secure Torquay their first home win of the season and condemn Blues to a third straight defeat.
Torquay United XI: MacDonald, Wynter, Lemonheigh-Evans, Hall (C), Wright, Johnson, O’Connell (Omar 90+3’), Rogers (Addai 70’), Lolos (Holman 82’), Moxey, Lewis. Subs Not Used: Brzozowski, Martin
Blues XI: Arnold, Ralph, Ogogo, Coulson, Bridge (Kargbo 82’), Dunne, Murphy (Dennis 67’), Dalby, Egbri, Atkinson, White (C). Subs Not Used: Seaden, Hobson, Demetriou
Referee: Scott Jackson
Assistants: Michael Begley & Justin Amey
Fourth Official: Callum Waller
Torquay United: Connor Lemonheigh-Evans 90’
Southend United: None
Torquay United: Joe Lewis 34’
Southend United: Abu Ogogo 9’, Will Atkinson 32’, Nathan Ralph 90+2’