TORQUAY UNITED will "keep building" insists Johnson

Torquay United FC crestNational League South champions Torquay United will begin building for a new challenge after winning promotion to the National League at the first attempt.

Gary Johnson – who became Gulls boss last September with United languishing 14th in the table - has kept his early promise to deliver overdue success to the South Devon club and it's supporters by leading United to their first promotion since 2009.

It could signal the start of a new golden era for the Gulls under the stewardship of 63-year-old former Cheltenham Town, Yeovil Town and Bristol City boss Johnson, assisted by former Torquay United central defender Aaron Downes.

Johnson's yellows beat Eastbourne Borough 2-0 at a packed Plainmoor to clinch the National League South championship with three games to go.

Gulls goals by on-loan Bristol City duo Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Jake Andrews enabled Torquay to win while title rivals Woking lost 2-0 at play-off rivals Chelmsford City.

Swansea-born Welsh Under 21 international Lemonheigh-Evans, 22, got the Plainmoor promotion party started in the 23rd minute with 21-year-old Bath-born Andrews sealing victory on 83 minutes in front of 4,538.

Torquay’s 26th victory of the season means they now top National League South on 85 points, 10 more than second placed Woking, whose title chances receded after drawing 3-3 with the Gulls a week ago after leading 3-1 with just 10 minutes left on the game clock. Full back Ben Wynter smashed United's 90th minute leveller.

With Johnson at the helm free scoring United have now won 23 out of 30 league games, including a record 10 wins on the spin.

Remarkably winning National League South is Torquay United’s first championship success since 1927, when they won the western division of the Southern League and subsequently gained promotion to the Football League.

Torquay's final three games are at Chippenham on Good Friday, at home to Hungerford next Monday and away to St Albans City on the final day of the regular season, Saturday April 27.

After Saturday’s success Johnson: “We have just got to keep building, keep going. Build on the supporters, get more in, build on the team. You can’t say we are champs and put a full stop after it. You have got to keep building. That’s what I hope to do and I know that what the club wants to do.”

When he became Gulls boss last September Johnson said he could lead United back to the Football League given time, support and resources.


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