Altrincham 0 Torquay United 0
- Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle
Runners-up Torquay United will face Notts County or Chesterfield at Plainmoor in the National League Play-Off Semi-Final (June 12) after a much more eventful final day elsewhere than the Gulls enjoyed against Altrincham at Moss Lane.
Hartlepool will take on Bromley in the other 'semi' at the Victoria Ground.
Teams bobbed in and out of the top-seven with each goal that kept their fans on edge, but there was only frustration for United, that they did not turn second-half domination into a goal which would have given them a record-beating 13th away win of the season.
A classic it wasn't on a bobbly Moss Lane pitch, but manager Gary Johnson will have the consolation of an energetic, upbeat display after the interval - and a good stint at centre-forward from defender Kyle Cameron.
Johnson made one change, but it was an interesting one - he recalled centre-back Cameron, but as leader of the attack, with Scott Boden and Josh Umerah on the bench.
Benji Kimpioka was unavailable, because of an Under-21training camp with Sweden ahead of forthcoming international commitments.
The on-loan Sunderland striker should still be available for United's Play-Off matches.
- 1 Hartlepool United 1 Torquay United 1 (Hartlepool win 5-4 on penalties after extra-time)
- 2 Gulls inconsolable after defeat
- 3 Striker Scott not playing in play-off final - for a very good reason
- 4 Torbay's 'hidden gem' going from strength to strength - perhaps new restaurant will 'hammer' home that message?
- 5 Torquay United penalty order...just in case
- 6 Concentration the key for Torquay United
- 7 Tributes paid to village character Leebo who will be missed by many - but not perhaps some marauding football fans!
- 8 Tributes to our Mike - a true Torquinian and family man
- 9 Congratulations from Clarke
- 10 So much at stake for Torquay United
United edged the first half in possession and territory, but it was Lucas Covolan who had to make the two best saves.
The Gulls' Brazilian goalie did well to tip away a Shaun Densmore shot in the sixth minute and later dived to his left to catch a Jonathan Smith drive from 22 yards in the 35th minute.
Asa Hall also blocked a Smith snapshot as United created most of their problems themselves, through not being sharp enough with their passing or getting caught on the ball.
However, they did force Altrincham back for long periods.
Cameron was just wide with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area in the 17th minute, and nine minutes later Adam Randell outflanked three home defenders in a diagonal run, pulled the ball back low from the right and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans' cheeky backheel shot was blocked at point-blank range by Tony Thompson.
Thompson couldn't have known much about it.
Randell took a bang in the face not long before half-time, but he resumed with some tissue pushed up his nose - and promptly won two headers in quick succession.
Johnson had seen enough to make a double-change at half-time, probably accompanied by one of his 'gee-up' talks.
On went Matt Buse and Billy Waters, for Hall and Andrews, Waters on the left of midfield.
United visibly moved up a gear, playing at a much higher tempo and dominating most of the second half.
Cameron and Randell went close with headers, Cameron scooped a Ben Wynter cross over the bar, stretching to hit the ball first-time.
Referee Martin Woods waved away penalty appeals when Colclough collided with Moxey in a rare home attack, before Lemonheigh-Evans volleyed into the side-netting at the other end.
Altrincham never showed enough quality to make the most of rare breakaway opportunities, and it was just a question of whether United could finish off one of their many attacks.
They could not, despite the introduction of Josh Umerah for Cameron, and after a late booking for Lewis, the final whistle ended an afternoon that will hardly live long in the memory.
Altrincham (4-4-2): Thompson; Densmore, Mullarkey, Hannigan, Senior; Mooney (Hardy 61), Smith, Moult, Colclough; Hancock (Kirby 75), Kosylo (Peers 57); subs not used - Dele, Adaraboye.
Booked: Hannigan 12.
Torquay United (4-4-1-1): Covolan; Wynter, Sherring, Lewis, Moxey; Randell, Little, Hall (Buse 46), Andrews (Waters 46); Lemonheigh-Evans; Cameron (Umerah 73); subs not used - MacDonald, Boden.
Booked: Andrews 20, Lewis 90..
Referee: Martin Woods (Lancs).