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Torquay United 0-0 Latics - News

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Led by John Sheridan, the Latics started the 2022-23 season clean with points away and an action-packed game in Torquay.

Mike Vondopp made a real impact off the bench, nearly robbing what would have been the winner twice, but Hallam Hope chose other chances.

Torquay, who hit the crossbar in the opening minutes, kept most of the distance from the early rush. The Latics were generally comfortable after Dan Gardner was sent off for a second yellow card.

Over 800 Latics fans provided excellent support throughout the game as the new owners, the Rothwell family, watched from the director’s box.

The visitors were at times attrition given a new squad of eight players making league debuts.

Torquay did their best in the first half, with the home side taking the lead after just four minutes.

A free kick from the left was knocked back over the box, but Will Goodwin saw his powerful shot rebound from under the bar and scrambled.

The same player was denied by a strong hand from visiting keeper Magnus Norman off to the right as the hosts turned up the heat in scorching conditions.

However, the Latics fought back and had a golden opportunity to take the lead 15 minutes ago. Jack Stobbs successfully stripped a hesitant defender and shoved the ball into Hope’s wide-open path, but the striker was unable to hit his target when one-on-one with the keeper.

The visitor almost immediately regretted the mistake, but Norman bravely challenged Cory Andrews at point-blank range, and the Torquay Man was injured in the process.

Despite this, the Latics continued to grow into the game and Torquay keeper Mark Halstead was forced to make smart saves from Tritt and Chris Porter, making his debut for the second time.

Ryan Hanson’s free-kick from distance made Norman’s routine save to tie the first half.

Porter thought he had scored a goal for his second spell for the club shortly after the restart, but his header from the frontman’s skillful free-kick strayed just wide of the ball.

The dangerous Tritt had several half-chances in a row, testing Halstead with an effort that deflected him before breaking deep from midfield but trailing the shot wide.

Von Dopp replaced Porter in the hour and was soon inches away from marking his introduction with the first goal.

Jordan Clarke’s long free-kick was nodded off by the striker, who took advantage of the rebound to launch a powerful half-volley off the edge of the box, completely beating Halstead and flushing the far post.

However, Gardner was ejected in the second bookable offense, reducing the number of visitors to 10 and playing 15 minutes. It’s a trip when the Torquay man turns his back on Dean his moxie.

This prompted Sheridan to try to beef up their defense by introducing Harrison McGahee to replace Tritt, who will be a sure-fire threat this season.

Numerical parity was restored five minutes into the end as Ali Omar retired with an injury after an aerial fight with Vondopp. The hosts had already used all three substitutes, so he had to take a hit.

There was final drama as Vondopp felt fouled by Halstead after keeping a loose ball away from the keeper.

Junior Luamba was introduced in injury time in place of Hope on the final roll of the dice. The youngster nodded as Von Dopp exploded inches past the post, almost producing the winner.

It wasn’t complete, but the Latics started their National League campaign with solid points and clean sheets.

Oldham Athletic: Norman, Clarke, Hogan (C), Sheron, Francis Angol, Stobbs, Gardner, Cooper, Tritt (McGahee 79), Porter (Vondopp, 60), Hope (Luamba, 90).

Submarines not in use: Reutweiler, Burgess.

Torquay United: Halstead, Moxey (C), Omar, Marshall, Crowe, Wyatt, Hanson, McGavin, Evans (Nathaniel-George 46), Andrews (Koszela, 18, [Hall 76]), Goodwin.

Submarines not used: Lovett, Tomlinson.

Referee: Lee Collins

Attendance: 3,690 (827 away)