Welcome to Part Two of my sixth season review with Torquay United in the the third tier (EFL League One). This is the third season at this level after falling short in the previous two seasons, can it be third time lucky.
EFL LEAGUE ONE 2024/2025
We started the New Year off with a defeat on New Years Day to Portsmouth at Plainmoor losing by a single goal 1-0 in front of a capacity crowd despite having the lions share of possession. Another capacity crowd watched us lose 3-0 to Southampton in the 3rd round of the FA Cup before a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Crewe in the League with Chancel Mutombo on target for us.
After 3 back to back defeats we stopped the sequence with a 0-0 draw at Plainmoor in front of another sell out this time against Bolton.
A much needed win away to Bristol Rovers followed thanks to second half goals from Isaac Hutchison and Yassine En-Nayeh to secure all three points and record our first win in 2025.
A tough game at Mansfield Town ended in a 1-1 draw after Ethan Galbraith had given us a lead at the break thanks to a fantastic strike from 18 yards that left the Stags keeper helpless.
We rounded the month off with a 1-0 win against Burton Albion after Virgil Gomis had broken the deadlock in the 74th minute.
A player in form non other than Virgil Gomis scored a double in the 2-1 win at Rochdale to keep our promotion hopes on track however a 1-0 defeat at Oxford United continues our topsy-turvy start to the 2nd half of the season.
A Kalvin Kalala goal was all we could muster in a 1-1 draw against Wycombe Wanderers who are themselves pushing for automatic promotion. We are not clicking at the moment and it’s difficult to put a finger on it.
A 3-0 win against Scunthorpe looks more flattering than our performance deserved with the game tied at 1-1 thanks to a rare Kyle Cameron goal both sides looked like getting a point until in the 81st minute substitute Olaf Koszela grabbed a goal that upset the Scunthorpe defence who then just 4 minutes later gave away a penalty which Virgil Gomis converted to give us the victory.
It was Virgil Gomis who rescued a late draw with a 95th minute penalty to earn a 1-1 draw against Hull City to end the month.
The month of March turned out to be a better month which started with a 1-0 win against Walsall after a Chancel Mutombo goal was enough to seal all three points.
We fell to our 5th defeat in all competitions when we travelled to play Leyton Orient and lost 1-0 to the playoff chasing O’s.
Relegation threatened Doncaster Rovers felt the force of a Virgil Gomis hat-trick and even contributed to our goal tally with an own goal that see’s Rovers drop in to the bottom three on the back end of a 4-0 defeat.
We finished the month off with a good 1-0 win against Charlton with winger Kalvin Kalala on target with the winner. This would not be the last time we met Charlton, we crossed paths again later on in the season.
The English Rivera is a beautiful place and the spring time sunshine shone on another 6,200 capacity crowd at Plainmoor for a Saturday afternoon showdown with Rotherham United who like ourselves are looking to get in to the Championship. The game was a tight affair and it was the visitors who struck first midway through the first half but winger Kalvin Kalala rescued a good and well deserved point in the 77th minute giving us a 1-1 draw which was a fair result all round.
Another capacity crowd at Plainmoor ended in a 1-0 defeat when top of the table Sunderland visited the Rivera. The Black Cats are in good form but we managed to dominate them without scoring but that’s football and we move on.
We dusted ourselves off and managed a 3-2 win at Peterborough after Jake Andrews, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Chancel Mutombo were all on target to dent the Posh’s hopes of a late playoff push and keep us in the hunt.
A 3-3 draw at Blackpool saw Kalvin Kalala, Chancel Mutombo and Virgil Gomis all find the back of the net in an incredible first half that ended 3-3 but no of us could make a breakthrough in the 2nd half meaning a share of the spoils.
To end the month we visited Coventry and came away with a 2-1 win thanks to a first half double from top scorer Virgil Gomis setting up a final day drama in the chase for automatic promotion.
Going in to the final day of the season with a chance of automatic promotion is becoming somewhat of a thing for us and a win in front of a capacity crowd at Plainmoor against Shrewsbury would send us up in to the Championship with the honour of being champions.
That’s enough of the dreaming because anyone following this blog will know we have a history of bottling it on the last day and guess what ? True to form we blew it yet again losing a five goal thriller 3-2 to a Shrewsbury side who came to spoil the party. Both Virgil Gomis and Tyler Magloire got our goals. Finishing 3rd just 1 point behind the top two was hard to bear so now we go in to another playoff.
The Playoff Semi Final pitted us against Charlton who had finished 6th in the table with the first leg played out in front of 20,579 at the Valley and it was the hosts who had the better day running out 2-1 winners in front of their own fans. Virgil Gomis got our goal to keep us in the tie.
It was Virgil Gomis again who was on target in the 2nd leg in front of a capacity crowd at Plainmoor but his 34th minute penalty was not enough in a game that ended all square at 1-1 giving Charlton a deserved victory over the two legs confining us to another (4th) season in the Division.
EFL LEAGUE ONE FINAL TABLE
So near but yet so far yet again…… oh the life of a Torquay United manager.
EFL League One Playoffs
Awards & Squad Statistics
Kalvin Kalala was voted player of the season by the fans ahead of Joe Grayson and Virgil Gomis. Kalala had 12 Goals and 5 assists to his name this season and continues to be a crowd favourite at Plainmoor. Virgil Gomis was our leading goal scorer with 32 goals with Joe Grayson leading the way in the assist department with 13.
What can I say we blew our chances of automatic promotion and then lost to Charlton in the playoff Semi Final. Winning just 9 games after the turn of the new year out of 24 in all competitions meant we did not deserve to get promoted so we will go again next season which will be our fourth consecutive in League One. I am thinking that whilst the current squad is a bit out of sorts I may have to search the free transfers and loan markets in an attempt to bolster the squad for the 2025//2026 Season. I have spoke before about keeping a save interesting past the first two or three seasons something that I have personally struggled with but having a lower league save for me has definitely kept me invested with the challenges that a lower league offers.
Turning to next season we will be hoping to make it 4th time lucky in the race for promotion and I expect to freshen the squad up with a number of free transfers that hopefully can contribute to us reaching our goals.