Match – Crawley Town 0-1 Torquay United
Competition – League Two
Venue – Broadfield Stadium
Attendance – 3,361
United had been magnificent at the start of the year, but two losses on the spin had somewhat dented their promotion challenge. A trip to Crawley to face Steve Evan’s men was a chance to get back on track, and also avenge previous defeats to Town including a 3-1 reverse at Plainmoor back in August (not to mention that FA Cup loss!).
Boss Martin Ling called in young Angus MacDonald (on loan from Reading) for Brian Saah in defence, whilst new loan signing Ryan Jarvis was included amongst the substitutes. Apart from that it was the usual trio of Danny Stevens, Eunan O’Kane and Rene Howe in attack.
Crawley started aggressively and could have taken the lead after only 10 seconds! Thankfully Billy Clarke’s shot was saved by agile stopper Bobby Olejnik to spare United’s blushes, and keep it 0-0.
There was then an early injury blow for Torquay as Danny Steven’s had to be stretchered off, with Jarvis entering the fray earlier than expected. Big striker Akinde came closest to scoring in a first half where both teams struggled to create much, and it remained goalless going into the break.
The second half saw Crawley mainly on top again with Akinde and Clarke threatening to make the breakthrough, but Torquay’s defence stood firm with Olejnik making more vital saves – as he had done all season. In front of the keeper, Mark Ellis was in superb form alongside MacDonald.
Then with just over ten minutes to go a winner! Rene Howe found some space on the left and crossed low across the box. Eunan O’Kane timed his run perfectly to drill home from close range and delight the away supporters behind the goal.
United held firm under more pressure and got three valuable points to leapfrog Crawley in the table. More tough defence and another moment of magic from the Irishman, meant the promotion challenge was back on!
Torquay United XI:
Olejnik, Nicholson, Oastler, MacDonald, Ellis, Lathrope, Mansell, Morris, O’Kane, Stevens, Howe
GOALS: O’Kane (79)
SUBS: Jarvis (23), Rowe-Turner (88)
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