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Report: Torquay United 2-0 Bristol City

A late brace from Torquay United’s James Gray inflicted City’s first defeat of pre-season at Plainmoor.

The Gulls created the better chances of the friendly contest, against a youthful City side that contained just five players with first-team experience.

Former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Ivan Lucic was the star of the show, producing a string of fine saves to thwart Torquay time and time again.

The Austrian had departed the field – along with the rest of his ten starting team-mates by the time Gray had done the damage.

Ex-Sunderland and Wrexham forward Gray scored the opener from the penalty spot after a trip from Tom Richards.

He made sure of victory two minutes from time through a goal-mouth scramble.


Torquay started brightly, carving out a number of opportunities. Damon Lathrope warmed the gloves of Ivan Lucic, before Jan Klukowski fired narrowly wide from distance.

When Jake Gosling found space down the left flank and picked out Luke Young on the edge of the box, it gave Torquay a great chance to break the deadlock, but somehow he skewed his attempt off target.

City had to wait until the 22nd minute for their first attempt on goal as George Dowling curled a shot into the waiting arms of Ryan Clarke.

Almost immediately at the other end Ruairi Keating let fly with a powerful first-time volley and saw it flash just over Lucic’s crossbar.

On the half hour Torquay’s pressing game caught out City, but when Keating cut the ball back into the path of Gosling, unmarked on the edge of the area, the former Bristol Rovers man sliced his attempt over the top.

With half-time approaching Torquay went closer still as Gosling’s goalbound effort was tipped over by Lucic. Sean McGinty glanced a header narrowly wide from the resulting corner, before Jon-Paul Pittman was denied by the legs of Lucic from an acute angle.


After half-time Taylor Moore advanced well down the right flank and crossed the ball invitingly for Jake Andrews six yards out but he lifted his effort just over the top.

Lucic then came to rescue for the visitors, saving brilliantly twice in quick succession. The Austrian made a smart save with his legs to deny Gray, who turned sharply in the box, and then he palmed away McGinty’s close range header.

City’s number 13 continued to shine as the half wore on. He reacted brilliantly to keep out Keating’s dipping header. When Keating beat Lucic moments later, City were indebted to Andrews’ goal-line clearance, before the keeper was able to palm the rebound further away to safety.

City made a raft of substitutions just after the hour mark and one of them, George Nurse, hit the crossbar, albeit more by luck rather than judgment as an over-hit cross almost caught out home keeper Clarke.


Ivan Lucic
Ivan Lucic produced a string of fine saves for a youthful City side


Just when the game looked to be heading for a stalemate, substitute Tom Richards was adjudged to have tripped Gray in the box – despite seemingly getting a clear touch on the ball.

Gray dusted himself off to slam the resultant spot-kick down the middle of the goal to beat Alhaji Sesay, who had replaced the outstanding Lucic ten minutes earlier.

To rub salt into the wound Gray struck again two minutes from time, bundling home from two yards out after City’s defence tried in vain to clear the danger.

Bristol City: Lucic (Sesay 72), Moore (Harper 62), Vyner (Edwards 62), Baldwin (Parsons 46), Golbourne (Nurse 62), Andrews (Richards 72), Morton (Stanley 72), Dowling (Rees 62), J.Smith (Mortimore 62), De Girolamo (H.Smith 62), Hinds (Akpobire 46).

Attendance: 1,258