A late goal from substitute Jimmy Keohane earned City a draw with Torquay United this evening at St James Park.
The 1551 present were treated to six goals, two of which were top draw, as both sides showed what attacking ability they have ahead of the August 18th kick off.
First half line-up: Krysiak, Tully, Baldwin, Coles, Woodman, Sercombe, Oakley, Bennett, Davies, Bauza, Cureton.
The first of the special strikes came from the right boot of Arron Davies after 15 minutes. The summer signing from Northampton hit a splendid lob over the helpless Martin Rice and into the top corner from 20 yards after being set up by Scot Bennett.
Jamie Cureton officially became a City player for the third time this morning, along with Matt Oakley, and the two had already combined for the first chance of the match on 11 minutes. Cureton may have smashed that chance from the former Leicester man’s lovely through ball into the away end but he made no mistake on 22 minutes to double the home side’s lead.
A deep corner from Liam Sercombe caused a penalty area scramble and the ball found its way to Cureton via Bennett and the 36-year-old knocked the ball to the right before lashing it high into the back of the net from inside the box.
And Sercombe had the next chance of the night, picking up a ball from Bauza, who was bright throughout the first half, and trying his luck with a long range effort that flew over the bar.
Torquay then got back into the game with their first real chance of the match thanks to a gorgeous goal from Lloyd Macklin. Nathan Craig’s long pass was right into the path of the winger, who flicked the ball up on the run and scooped it over the head of Artur Krysiak - to applause from all four sides of the ground.
Rice, returning to his former club, then kept out a fierce drive from Cureton before the Gulls drew level on 45 minutes when Aaron Downes met a corner with a near post header that he flicked past Krysiak.
There was still time for Krysiak to catch Danny Stevens’ free-kick just before the half-time whistle went.
The second half didn’t live up to the high standards set up the opening 45 as both manager’s made plenty of changes. By the final whistle Tisdale had changed all of his starting line-up with the exception of Krysiak.
The first trio to be introduced came on at half-time with Tommy Doherty, Kevin Amankwaah and trialist Elliott Chamberlain replacing Pat Baldwin, Danny Coles and Oakley.
That mean Bennett and Steve Tully played as centre backs, with Sercombe moving to a central midfield position with Chamberlain to his right.
Chamberlain’s Wales Under 21 team-mate Billy Bodin, a summer recruit from Swindon, then gave Torquay the lead when he shifted the ball past Tully and hit a low shot that found the back of the net despite Krysiak’s fingertips diverting it via the inside of the post.
John O’Flynn was then introduced for Cureton before his fellow sub Amankwaah headed into the side netting after a lovely cross from Sercombe on the right hand flank. A trio of City youth products, Elliott Frear, Jordan Moore-Taylor and Tom Nichols, were then introduced for Davies, Woodman and Bauza.
Both sides had chances to score the sixth goal of the game, with Doherty teeing himself up before shooting into the Big Bank and Gulls sub Niall Thompson bending a right-footed curler off the foot of Krysiak’s left-hand post.
Jordan Tillson, Aaron Dawson and Keohane were then sent on with time running out and the latter would play a part in the final three moves of the match.
First he won a free-kick on the edge of the box and stepped up himself to force Rice into a smart low stop. And then grabbed the equaliser with a minute to go.
After a great piece of play bombing forward Moore-Taylor fed Frear on the left-hand flank and he got to the touchline before pulling the ball back for Keohane to side-foot home at the near-post to make it 3-3.
And he turned provider for the final chance of an entertaining clash, passing to Frear but the winger’s shot whistled across goal and wide.
City finished the match: Krysiak, Dawson, Amankwaah, Tillson, Moore-Taylor, Chamberlain, Doherty, Keohane, Frear, Nichols & O’Flynn.