'Ecstatic' Johnson heaps praise on players and fans as Gulls win place in play-off finals

Torbay Weekly

'Ecstatic!' - that's how manager Gary Johnson described his mood after Torquay United's thrill-packed 4-2 extra-time win over Notts County that sends the Gulls into the National League play-off final at Ashton Gate, Bristol, next Sunday.

It was a dramatic afternoon that stretched to 120 breathless minutes in the Plainmoor sunshine - United led twice through recalled centre-forward Danny Wright, were twice pegged back by a determined Notts team and then finally clinched victory with two extra-time goals by skipper Asa Hall and a Dean Moxey penalty.

"How do I feel? Ecstatic," said Johnson. "I'm so proud of the whole squad - every one of them stepped up and performed.

"In fact, I think the whole club showed itself in a great light today.

"The fans were brilliant. We had a plan, on the pitch and off it, and we delivered on both."

Wright, whose recall was a closely-guarded secret before kick-off, made an outstanding return after two months out with a hamstring injury.

His two goals took his tally for the season to 12 - Hall's gutsy header was his 14th of the campaign - before the 36-year-old centre-forward was substituted at the start of extra-time.

He quipped: "I think watching the last half-hour was worse than playing in the first 90!

"I was like a kid on Christmas Eve last night, and I'm just happy that it went well and we won.

"It was some game, but we haven't done what we want yet - we'll enjoy today, rest up, see who wins tomorrow's semi and then get stuck into our preparation next week.

"I always thought I could last for 90 minutes, my hamstring was fine, I feel good and I'm just looking forward to next week now."

Hall played on with a large bandage around his head, after taking a painful blow as he headed United's third goal, but he is expected to make a quick recovery.