The troubling turbulence at Torquay United has taken another horrible twist over the past weeks, with a deduction of ten points and two dismal defeats in the National League South.

The Gulls have spluttered all campaign but their very existence is now in jeopardy.

Former owner Clarke Osborne announced his intention to place the club in administration last month and the National League Board has now imposed a deduction that has plunged Torquay into a relegation fight.

While the search for new owners remains ongoing, Torquay have suffered successive heavy losses under the stewardship of interim boss Aaron Downes, which comes after a positive start to his temporary reign following the departure of long-serving manager Gary Johnson.

Downes earned a win and two draws from his first three games at the helm but a shocking 3-0 loss at home to Taunton Town last Tuesday exposed the same fragile underbelly that has haunted the club on the pitch.

It got even worse on Saturday, as they were pumped 4-1 at Tonbridge Angels, and now sit just three points above the relegation spots with eight games remaining.

If the unthinkable does happen, Torquay United, who once plied their trade in League One and were an established Football League club for almost a century, would find themselves in the Southern League alongside the likes of Tiverton Town and Plymouth Parkway.

It would be a major shock for a club that still operates a full-time playing staff but, while the points deduction provides a skewed picture of their position in the table, the sad reality for the Gulls is they are in a fight for survival, on and off the pitch.

The scenario down the road at Plymouth Argyle is obviously very different to what is happening at Plainmoor but the Pilgrims are also facing up to the prospect of a relegation scrap over the final weeks of the campaign.

Saturday’s 1-0 reverse at home to Preston North End was particularly painful, as it came against former boss Ryan Lowe, and Argyle will return from the international break with just a two-point buffer above the drop zone.

The Greens restart with a tough trip to play-off chasing Norwich on Good Friday and then welcome Bristol City on Easter Monday.