United skipper motivated by promotion injustice

Torbay Weekly

Captain Asa Hall says that putting right the sense of injustice at last season's promotion near-miss is still a major motivation for Torquay United as they try to maintain a push towards the National League Play-Offs.

Gary Johnson's Gulls (11th) go into home games against Barnet on Saturday and title-chasing Boreham Wood next Tuesday night on a run of seven wins and 22 points from ten matches, last weekend's 3-1 win at Dover Athletic leaving them six points off the POs.

The dramatic 2021 Play-Off Final at Bristol City, where Torquay lost on penalties to Hartlepool United after having two goals controversially disallowed and goalkeeper Lucas Covolan's stoppage-time equaliser, still rankles with Gulls fans.

Hall, who scored his fifth goal of an injury-interrupted season at Dover, revealed: "We still talk about last season all the time.

"Not just what happened at Ashton Gate, but the atmosphere there and at Plainmoor when we beat Notts County (semi-final) and how the whole club was together.

"To miss out like that was very cruel, and we still feel it.

"The Play-Offs this season looked out of sight a few months ago, but we have definitely talked about maybe whether it's meant to be this season - us going on an unbelievable run and putting last year right.

"We were up there all last season, but instead of being under that pressure, there's no spotlight on us now. It feels like a nice position to be in.

"We can't afford mistakes, and we must keep concentrating on every game, but the boys are excited about trying to keep this run going."

Now 35, ex-Luton, Oxford, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham and Barrow player Hall - he top-scored with 14 goals last season - is in his fourth year at Plainmoor and he adds: "It's far and away the most I've enjoyed playing for any club.

"I do believe I've got a few years left playing in me.

"I played at centre-back the other day, and I may make that transition one day, but I still see myself as a midfielder at the moment, and I do think I'm a threat at set-pieces, which we're good at now."