Torquay settle for replay after Hawks threw everything at them in dying moments

Torbay Weekly


(FA Cup fourth qualifying round)

Despite leading twice, through Ben Wynter and sub Jake Andrews on his first appearance of the season, Torquay United had to settle for a replay against Havant & Waterlooville after a mistake-ridden FA Cup-tie at Plainmoor.

Nobody could say that the Hawks, from the National League South, did not deserve a second chance at Westleigh Park.

They gave Gary Johnson's Gulls all the trouble they could handle for most of the afternoon and were rewarded by equalisers from sub Alex Wall and a spectacular goal by their man-of-the-match James Roberts in the final of four minutes of stoppage-time.

United seldom looked comfortable, even after they took the lead through Wynter in the 66th minute.

But they will be kicking themselves for not seeing the game out after Andrews made it 2-1 with only five minutes of normal time to go.

Johnson, who had signed Accrington Stanley's 21-year-old defender Harry Perritt on loan on the day of the game, was without midfield captain Asa Hall.

So Armani Little took the skipper's armband, and he also recalled Ali Omar at centre-back, but without abandoning a 3-5-2 formation.

Chiori Johnson and Dean Moxey filled the wing-back roles.

Havant started with ex-Gulls defender Joe Oastler as their captain and centre-half, but left former Plainmoor loanees Scott Rendell and Paul Rooney on the bench.

United created the first clear chance in the 11th minute, Moxey's precision low cross finding Lemonheigh-Evans in the middle - he took a touch before shooting just wide from 18 yards.

The Welshman should have hit the target.

Havant goalie Ross Worner must have started on a wing-and-a-prayer, for after he went down to smother a Johnson cross in the 23rd minute, he was clearly in trouble, sub Charlie Searle was on his feet in moments and he was on for the veteran Worner.

When any team in United's position doesn't score in the first half-hour, there is always frustration, but the Plainmoor fans were able to direct most of that towards referee Dale Wootton after he made a decisions against the Gulls.

One of those denied a penalty after Charlie Magri appeared to clip Dan Holman over on another Moxey cross in the 37th minute.

Havant began to feed off Torquay mistakes but Joe Lewis kept bringing the ball aggressively out of defence and the longer the first half went on the more United started to stretch the visitors' defence.

In the 39th minute Keelan O'Connell hit the underside of the bar from 16 yards, Armani Little blazing the rebound well off target.

In the closing stages of the first half Holman twice had goal-bound efforts blocked, one by Oastler and another, more clearly, by Jamie Collins with Searle beaten.

Lapslie had picked up what looked like a hamstring injury just before half-time, and he was replaced by Lolos after the interval.

United started the second half well, but it didn't last long and Havant began to look like the side that might take the lead.

Shaun MacDonald pulled off a terrific save from Jake McCarthy after Omar had slipped and let Roberts away on Havant's right.

Johnson had a shot deflected wide after Searle spilled the ball under pressure, but Wright then hit the post for the Hawks from another break by Roberts and Passley, who combined well on the right.

Omar only just deflected the ball wide of the near post from another Roberts effort as United hung on for a while.

But in the 66th minute the Gulls took the lead when Little, who had mishit a series of set-pieces, had a free-kick parried by Searle and Wynter was following up to tap in…1-0.

Johnson sent Andrews on for O'Connell just before Havant threw the burly Wall into the fray.

In the 74th minute Roberts beat Wynter's despairing tackle on the left, hit shot beat MacDonald, hit the right-hand post and Wall, with his first touch, stooped to head the rebound home…1-1.

MacDonald kept United on terms with a brilliant save with his legs from Roberts as the game slipped out of all touchline control.

But when Lolos cleverly took a quick throw from Wynter, beat a man on a run to the bye-line, crossed low and Andrews tapped in at the far-post, United looked odds-on to win…2-1.

But credit Havant - they had worked hard enough and created more than enough chances to have earned at least a replay, and in the final minute of stoppage-time they got it.

The Hawks had nothing to lose, they threw everything at Torquay in the dying moments and, after United failed to clear a corner, the ball dropped for Roberts 20 yards out and he had the composure to drill an unerring shot into the top right-hand corner…2-2.

Torquay United (3-5-2): MacDonald; Wynter, Lewis, Omar; Johnson (Rogrs 76), Little, Lapslie (Lolos 46), O'Connell (Andrews 67), Moxey; Lemonheigh-Evans, Holman; subs not used - Halstead, Martin.

Booked: Jphnson 56, Rogers 88.

Havant & Waterlooville (3-5-2): Worner; Magri, Oastler, Collins (Wall 71); Passley, Gobern, McCarthy, Clifford (Rooney 82), Green; Roberts, Wright; subs not used - Baggie, Newton, Adebowale, Rendell.

Booked: Collins 65, Oastler 81.

Referee: Dale Wootton

Attendance: 1,593.