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Flare thrown on pitch stops thrilling National League playoff semi final

A flare thrown on to the Plainmoor pitch stops what was a thrilling National League playoff semi final clash on Saturday afternoon.

The winner of this tie knew that they would face either Stockport County or Hartlepool United – who play on Sunday – in the playoff final, which will take place at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate on the 20th of June.

Going into the game, Torquay finished second in regular season whilst Notts County finished fifth and beat Chesterfield in last Saturday’s quarter-final.

It was Danny Wright who put Torquay in front with 30 seconds on the clock! A cross from the left and he met it with a header beyond the reach of keeper Sam Slocombe. The header took a deflection off Adam Chicksen on the way, but a goal’s a goal.

A cracking start for the hosts with a bumper atmosphere coming from the Torquay fans with their drums and clappers.

The game went on to settle down for must of the first half, though it’s not to say that put a stop to the goals coming in.

On the 39th minute, Ruben Rodrigues equalised for the visitors after a flowing move from midfield. A cross from the right found him at the near post and his header was powerful and precise.

After that, Danny Wright went down in the County area, up went the hands and the appeals were loud, but the ref kept his hands by his sides and shook his head.

Torquay pushed forward again, looking for a second. The goal lifted County, but it hadn’t took the wind out of Torquay’s sails. Asa Hall headed goalwards and Slocombe caught it easily.

The half ended following a cracking 45 minutes of football, Torquay couldn’t have wished for a better start, but knew they had to do it again.

Torquay started the half similarly to the first, going back in front when Danny Wright put the ball in at the far post after a cross from the right by Randell. He made it all look so simple.

Adam Chicksen then levelled the scores again immediately after. County had forced a corner and the ball fell to Chicksen, who turned and fired the ball into the net from eight yards.

The Magpies showed that it was their turn to have their best spell of the game and Torquay looked a little ragged at the back.

A yellow smoke flare was chucked on the pitch by Torquay fans down in front of the Babbacombe End.

This caused the game to be halted for a few minutes, stopping what was some decent play from the Gulls as they looked to get a third.

Flare thrown on pitch stops thrilling National League playoff semi final

A steward could be see plucking it off the ground with his tongs and took the offending item away, whilst the BT Sport commentators criticised the act and felt sorry for the groundsman.

The whistle blew to pause the game, which was then met with boos, before a member of staff was able to pick it up and take it away.

On social media, some supporters weren’t happy with whoever threw it, while others laughed at the commentators calling the fans “Torquay ultras”.

Flare thrown on pitch stops thrilling National League playoff semi final

After a quiet spell, the tempo of the game then picking up again. County used great pace with Calvin Miller down the left. Hefty tackles flew in from both sides.

Going into the final 10 minutes of the game, with chances becoming minimal, there was a melee in the goalmouth and the ball broke to Andrews but his shot was blocked.

Notts County continued to put pressure on Torquay, pressing with the clock ticking down.

However a winner couldn’t be found in normal time and the game had to go into extra time.

There was a scramble in the Torquay box and the ball broke to Kyle Wootton who thumped his shot just over the bar.

On the 101st minute, Asa Hall once again put Torquay in front for the third time, stooping to head home Jake Andrews’ corner. Scenes in the stands but they would be feeling tense, hoping to actually hold on to the lead this time.

On the 110th minute, Lemonheigh-Evans was brought down and the referee handed Torquay a penalty. Doyle was booked for the foul, but at first the BT Sport commentator thought it was harshly given.

Dean Moxey stoked the ball home making it 4-2, confidently.

County were coinvinced that Doyle had won the ball in that challenge with Lemonheigh-Evans and protested long and hard, but Mr Kitchen was unmoved.

Shortly that, County then went and hit the bar, should have really got one back, yet somehow failed to get it over the line.

Ian Burchnall’s side tried to give it all they got, there was however no way of getting through the Torquay defence, and the visitor’s boss was becoming resigned that a comeback wasn’t on the cards. The final whistle eventually blew and the celebrations started.


@KJM19720: Well done to the 2nd biggest club in Devon

@Outlaw2T: Better than 3rd like you 😂

@sumsECFC: Well done lads, now get the job done next week – need you back in the league

@gwr_67: We’re all going to Wemb…..er Ashton Gate!!! Well done, fought hard and pushed on after being pegged back twice. It’s never simple but it is exciting!!!

@iCheezy1989: Congratulations Torquay, took your chances well where we failed and penalty decision aside deserved to go through. Goodluck in the final.

@Banno1289: Well played, took your chances, good luck in the final 👍🏼

@DarrenBartrop: Congratulations on your win, best of luck in the playoff final, at Ashton Gate next Sunday. 👍👏👏💚

@GazDix1989: YELLOWS

@JamesLake_95: Wouldn’t mind going Torquay (a)

@Mpr2009: So many great memories of the Plainmoor terraces in my younger days, one game from the football league again. Great game, what a credit to the National League.

@Kyle_Motson: Fair play to you, thought it was a close game but you were more clinical and you deserved the win. Not being a dickhead but I think you’ll get battered by either side next week, that being said good luck to you, wouldn’t mind you going up

@jahreenio_: Imagine getting carried by the ref, small club

@wolborough: Stunning, awesome and brilliant. Just 90 minutes or so away from the promised land! Well done all at TUFC!

@adam1862_: “Earn” Don’t make me laugh

@craigybratt: Selfishly, after travelling to Barrow two and a half times last season, I can’t tell you how much I want Torquay in the league next season 🤞🏻 #TUFC #ECFC

@woodcuttersson: Up the shithousing, penalty-winning, history-defying, YELLOWS! 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦

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