By Aaron Jaffe
Dean Brennan's Barnet moved up to sixth in the table, with the Bees targeting promotion back to the Football League for the first time since 2018.
Marvin Armstrong's goal was the only one in a game which could've seen at least three or four; his neat finish off Ryan De Havilland's cross sent the Gulls home with no points in London.
It could've been a very different start when Torquay's top scorer Aaron Jarvis looked like he'd been brought down by a Barnet defender in the area, only for the protests to be waved away by referee Lloyd Wood.
The Bees piled on the pressure though and were rewarded early. Strong aerial work from Nicke Kabamba put them in a great goalscoring position. De Havilland took the ball on the right-hand side, decoyed the defender with his first cross, and then found Armstrong on the second in what was to be the winner for Barnet.
The former Worthing midfielder was very impressive in the first half, setting up counterattacks and drawing markers in, being fouled consistently by the Torquay midfield who were unable to dispossess him.
It was another decision in the penalty area that infuriated Torquay boss Gary Johnson, this time Will Goodwin being tripped over after some good skill to get past the sea of orange in front of him.
The 20-year-old was then handed the best chance of the game on his plate after Jerome Okimo took the ball out of goalkeeper Laurie Walker's hands, and lost possession to the Stoke loanee, who was presented with an open goal but blazed his effort over.
The Gulls suddenly were on top of the game but weren't able to convert before the interval. There were some excellent individual pieces of defensive excellence by the Barnet back four to see out the constant threat.
Torquay started the second half exactly as they ended the first. The long ball strategy was effective but wasn't catching out Okimo or Danny Collinge. The first chance of the half came from a corner which rebounded out and forced Walker into a superb one-handed save.
Mark Ellis thought he was the one when Lucas Ness found him from his own half, but his effort was parried more confidently with both hands from Walker. The 32-year-old has been nothing short of excellent for the Bees since joining last summer.
Former Peterborough United winger Idris Kanu should've sealed the game after bringing a lofted ball down to his feet, one-on-one with Mark Halstead but dragging the shot wide of the target with only 15 minutes left on the clock.
But that didn't mean there wasn't enough time for a late scare. There were two other stoppage-time goals in the weekend's National League fixtures, but Torquay were unable to make it three. Another rebound from a corner was met sweetly by Shaun Donnellan's right boot, ricocheting onto the post and into a melee into the box. A sigh of relief could be heard as Moussa Diarra cleared the ball out, and a win for Barnet slides them up into the playoff spots.
The Bees are in the 2nd round of the FA Cup, where they will make the long journey to League One outfit Accrington Stanley, with hopes to cause an upset and enter the 3rd round with the Premier League opposition at stake.
After a busy week of travelling, Gary Johnson's side will be back at Plainmoor where they are host to Gateshead, who sit two points ahead of them in 22nd after securing a shock win against a high-flying Southend United. 24th place is where the Gulls lie, and there is already some unrest from the fans, so it's a must-win on Saturday.
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