After a mediocre return to the Football League last year, Torquay United have been the surprise leaders at this very early stage in the season.
Torquay spent most of last season battling relegation, but an impressive end to the campaign saw the Gulls earn a safe lower-mid-table finish in their first season back in League Two, since finishing bottom of the league’s basement division in 2007 that ended their 80 year stay in the Football League. Torquay finished last season with six wins and two draws, ensuring their League status. Four games into this season and the Gulls have continued their impressive form from the conclusion of last campaign having won all of their fixtures, defeating Northampton in their opening league game at Plainmoor, followed up by impressive away wins at Lincoln City and Port Vale and another home win against Bradford City. Torquay manager Paul Buckle has led his side to the top of the table every week thus far this season with their run of wins, particularly helped by a water-tight defence.
During last weekend’s away victory at Port Vale, Torquay’s remarkable run of consecutive clean sheets came to an end after the Gulls conceded for the first time in 998 minutes. A long range effort by Vale’s Anthony Griffith denied the Devon outfit’s goalkeeper Scott Bevan yet another clean sheet, meaning Torquay only just failed to set a new Football League record. Torquay’s miserly defence has also started to attract attention from League One clubs, with young Gulls defender Mark Ellis subject of a rejected transfer bid from an unnamed club in the third tier of English football.
As impressive as Torquay’s defensive record was, Buckle and Gulls fans alike will be more interested in continuing their impressive run of victories rather than clean sheets. The Gulls, who haven’t lost a league game in twelve outings, are three games off equalling a club record of fifteen unbeaten fixtures in the league. Buckle’s team are making more records this season and last Saturday’s away victory at Port Vale equalled their league record of five consecutive away victories.
The transfer window passed yesterday with Torquay fans able to breathe a sigh of relief as the club managed to hold on to it’s prized assets and will now aim to break yet more records as they travel to Roots Hall this Saturday looking to extend their reign at the top of League Two with a victory over Southend extending their succession of away victories to six. Although it is still too early on in the season to judge a team, Torquay will no doubt take heart from their impressive start to this campaign and will hope to still be the surprise package come the end of the season.