TORQUAY United welcomed competitive reserve team football back to Plainmoor yesterday by easing to a convincing 3-0 win over Swansea City Reserves in their opening Totesport.com Combination match of the season.
United won with two goals early in the second half by winger Saul Halpin and left-back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, and a clincher from substitute striker Ashley Yeoman six minutes from time.
They might have taken charge earlier than that if Swansea goalkeeper David Cornell hadn't made a series of good saves in the first half.
Of extra interest to the near-200 crowd was the appearance of two triallists, ex-Bristol City, Reading, Brighton, Millwall and Tranmere centre-forward Baz Savage and young former Sunderland right-back Neil Simpson.
But United's stand-out performers were Eunan O'Kane in midfield and Kieran Charnock in defence.
Charnock headed a Wayne Carlisle corner against the bar after a quarter of an hour, but some hesitant defending by United also saw City's lone striker Kerry Morgan fire against the post midway through the first half.
Cornell in Swansea's goal and Danny Potter in United's swapped good saves, Halpin and Savage both going close for the Gulls.
But after an often scrappy first half Halpin made the breakthrough, racing onto a through-ball to beat the advancing Cornell from just inside the penalty area in the 47th minute.
In the 56th minute it was 2-0 as the overlapping Rowe-Turner hit the target with an angled shot.
O'Kane lit up the game with several moments of class in the second half.
Yeoman replaced Savage and then Ray Spear took over from Halpin as a young Swansea side offered hard work and plenty of possession but little penetration where it counted.
Finally, in the 84th minute O'Kane dummied on a Rowe-Turner pass to give Yeoman an opening on the left.
Yeoman beat a man and unleashed a swerving right-foot shot that bamboozled Cornell… 3-0.
Torquay United Reserves (4-4-1-1): Potter; Simpson, Palmer, Charnock, Rowe-Turner; Macklin, Carlisle, Lathrope, Halpin (Spear 76mins); O'Kane; Savage (Yeoman 69mins); subs not used – Kudi, Lang, Parrish, Taylor, Kitscha (gk).
Swansea City Reserves (4-5-1): Cornell; Richards, Alfei, Walsh, Taylor; Gregg (Prosser 78mins), McDonald, Donnelly, Lucas, Thomas; Morgan (Kasler 81mins); subs not used – Whatley.
Referee: Mr. K. Johnson.