Young star Lewis represents the future at Plainmoor

Torbay Weekly

From the devastation of defeat, Torquay United fans hailed a new young star at their National League play-off final against Hartlepool United.

No, not goalkeeper Lucas Covolan, even though his goal scoring and penalty-saving heroics grabbed the headlines, but a Welshman from Swansea, Joe Lewis.

Brazilian keeper Covolan is 30 now, and making up for lost time in a globe-trotting career that may take him to pastures-new in the near future. Gulls fans are delighted to have him.

But the name on many of their lips, as they tried to come to terms with the agony of that Play-Off disappointment, was Lewis.

The Wales under-21 international had impressed on loan last season, and his permanent signing in January was a predictably popular move.

Lewis has always shaped as a wholehearted, athletic, determined and versatile player and, playing in every defensive position over the past six months, he has confirmed all those qualities.

But with the stakes and the pressure at their greatest at Ashton Gate, Lewis rose to the challenge majestically.

It's almost unfair on Sam Sherring, also 21, for the AFC Bournemouth loanee lost nothing by comparison with his centre-back partner.

The way they both stood up to Pools' feared and muscular strikers Rhys Oates and Luke Armstrong was everything that manager Gary Johnson could have hoped for, even though Armstrong scored his 16th goal of the season.

But Sherring may be heading back to Dean Court after a fine season, while Lewis represents the future at Plainmoor.

Not only did he hardly put a head or foot wrong in 120 exhausting minutes, but when he wasn't doing his job, he was driving his teammates forward, taking decisions, seizing every moment.

Oh, and to top it all off, he drilled a shoot-out penalty into the bottom right-hand corner like a veteran!

Lewis may have dropped down from the Championship, but he could easily head back there one day.

Hopefully after many more games for Torquay, and maybe as a future captain..?