United still fighting for automatic promotion

Goal celebration by Torquay United player Scott Boden during the National League Match between Stock

Goal celebration by Torquay United player Scott Boden during the National League Match between Stockport County and Torquay United at Edgeley Park, Stockport on May 16th - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK - Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle

"We definitely haven't given up on automatic promotion," stressed manager Gary Johnson after Torquay United's pulsating 2-2 draw against Stockport County at Edgeley Park. 

The result - the Gulls equalised and led in the second half through two-goal Scott Boden - leaves United (78pts) three points behind leaders Sutton United (81) with two games to go. 

But, after Torquay meet lowly Barnet at home next Saturday, with fans back at Plainmoor, the Ambers have to play fourth-placed Hartlepool United on Sunday. 

Pools need a win to boost their own hopes of avoiding the first round of the Play-Offs. 

"We're not angry, but we are frustrated, because we had the chances to win it," said Johnson after a match which was a great advert for the National League. 

"We just needed to take one more of our opportunities," said the Gulls' boss who made three attacking substitutions in the last half-hour. 

"I had to go for it - we did that, and it made for an open game," he said. 

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"I thought both teams played well - someone said it was League Two standard, and maybe even League One. 

"In the hotel before the game, we gave the lads all the scenarios. 

"We knew a win would put us in a good position, but we would always have to win our last two games anyway. We still have to. 

"We are second favourites, that's for sure. 

"But Hartlepool need to win, so there's every chance of that being a difficult game for Sutton. 

"If we beat Barnet and Hartlepool win that game on Sunday, we'll be as we were going into the last game. 

"Six goals (difference) looks a lot to pull back, but it's not impossible at all. 

"We're not giving up - no way. The title isn't gone until it's gone." 

Stockport stretched their unbeaten run to 16 games to move above Hartlepool into third place, but it was Torquay who created more and better chances. 

There were strong performances throughout the side, but attacking midfielder Connor Lemonheigh-Evans gave another livewire display which earned him the Man of the Match award from BT Sport pundits.