TT MATCH PREVIEW
Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United V Crawley Town – FA Cup 1st Round
Date: Sunday 8th November 2020
Current Form (all competitions):
Torquay: L – W – W – W – W – W
Crawley: W – W – D – W – W – L
Leading scorers (all competitions):
Torquay: Danny Wright – 6
Crawley: Max Watters – 5
Head to Head:
Torquay: 3 Draw: 0 Crawley: 5
Last time the two teams met in the FA Cup: Torquay United 0 Crawley Town 1 – 29th January 29th 2011 FA Cup 4th Round
Crawley missed two penalties but still edged out United to become the first non-league side to reach the FA Cup fifth round for 17 years.
Matt Tubbs put the Blue Square Bet Premier side ahead with a neat finish. Gulls keeper Scott Bevan had earlier kept his side in the game by saving a Tubbs penalty after Chris Zebroski was sent off.
Bevan then repeated his heroics from Craig McAllister’s spot-kick before Crawley had Dean Howell dismissed, but Torquay could not force an equaliser.
Kevin Nicholson crashed a long-range volley against the top of the visitors’ bar in the closing minutes but Crawley, who had previously eliminated Swindon Town and Derby County from the competition, held on to continue their run in the cup.
After kick-off was delayed because of crowd congestion, Torquay came closest to scoring in a cagey opening 30 minutes, when Danny Stevens saw a fierce shot from the edge of the area swerve a fraction wide. But Crawley had been enjoying plenty of possession too and Tubbs fired over from close range before making up for missing that chance by finding the net in the 39th minute.
Bulman chipped a ball into the area and Tubbs was first to it, turning to send the ball dipping over the advancing Bevan and into the corner of the net.
The Gulls started the second half well and came within inches of an equaliser when Stevens was unable to turn home Zebroski’s low cross.
But the visitors should have been home and dry soon after when Zebroski was shown his second yellow card in the space of 60 seconds for a handball in the area and referee Darren Deadman pointed to the spot.
Bevan kept Torquay’s hopes alive in spectacular style, however, when he plunged to his left to keep out Tubbs’ penalty and amazingly the goalkeeper was to deny Crawley again seven minutes later. This time it was McAllister who stepped up after Lee Mansell fouled Jamie Cook but Bevan dived to his right and somehow tipped his effort over the bar.
Torquay’s 10 men poured forward and Stevens went close with a cross-shot before the game took another twist when Howell also saw red following a melee.
That left the Gulls with ten minutes to find a leveller but Crawley held out, leaving their 1,200 travelling fans to begin their celebrations at the final whistle and also start thinking about who they want to face in round five…
Manager: John Yems
The name of Crawley boss John Yems may not have the greatest significance to the majority of Torquay United fans, but he did play a key role in helping secure one of the most talented players to appear for the Gulls in recent years. It was during the 2009-10 season, when working as a scout for Paul Buckle, that Yems recommended a young Irish midfielder to United by the name of Eunan O’Kane.
Yems’ scouting role with the Gulls is one of many roles that he has undertaken throughout his many years in the game. Other positions he has held include being manager of non-league side Horsham, he also had a spell as assistant manager to Paul Tisdale at Exeter City briefly between 2008 and 2009 and was also football operations between 2012 and 2018. Yems is currently in his second spell as Crawley manager, having previously been part of a caretaker trio in the 2006-07 season.
One to watch: Tom Nichols
He may not have the same pedigree as fellow Exeter City youth products Ethan Ampadu, Ollie Watkins or Matt Grimes, but Tom Nichols has still enjoyed a fine career after emerging from the Grecians’ academy. Nichols was Exeter’s joint-leading scorer with Scot Bennett in the 2013-14 season and was their top scorer outright in the 2014-15 campaign. These feats helped him to earn a move to Peterborough United for an undisclosed fee midway through the 2015-16 season. After failing to establish himself as a first team regular with the Posh, Nichols joined Bristol Rovers in 2017 and remained at the Memorial Stadium for three years until his release in 2020, when he signed for Crawley.
Ben Wynter – Kyle Cameron – Sam Sherring – Dean Moxey
Aaron Nemane – Asa Hall – Adam Randell – Ben Whitfield
Archie Davies – Tony Craig – Jordan Tunnicliffe – Josh Doherty
Jack Powell – Jake Hessenthaler – Tyler Frost – Sam Ashford
Max Watters – Tom Nichols
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