Points Shared at Plainmoor
MATCH REPORT 25.02.14
Torquay United 1 Burton Albion 1
A strong second-half performance from Torquay United saw them take a point from promotion chasing Burton Albion at Plainmoor on Tuesday night.
The game was evenly balanced throughout the 90 minutes with both sides having excellent opportunities to win the fixture in the final 10 minutes. United’s Billy Bodin saw his 93rd minute left-footed free kick from the edge of the area shave the foot of the far post with Burton’s keeper rooted to his line.
Former United striker Billy Kee also had a golden opportunity for Burton minutes before Bodin’s free kick but United keeper Michael Poke denied the former Plainmoor man with a fine reflex fingertip save over the bar.
United’s keeper was also on hand to make an excellent save from Burton’s Dominic Knowles who must have thought he had given the Brewers all three points late on in the game with a close range effort.
A scrappy first 15 minutes to the game gave the crowd little to cheer about, but good work on the right hand side by Elliot Benyon saw him play in an excellent cross that seemed to strike the Burton centre-back’s arm. But referee Brendan Malone waved away Torquay’s claims for a penalty.
With the game settling down it was Burton who struck first, on 33 minutes. A low cross from the right-hand side of the box fell nicely to the unmarked former Plymouth player, Damien McCrory, whose left-footed strike from the centre of the box gave Poke no chance.
United rallied well and could have been level on 37 minutes, but Goodwin’s right footed shot from the left edge of the six-yard box could only find the side netting when it looked easier to score if he had taken the chance on his left foot.
But seven minutes after conceding, Elliot Benyon popped up to head home from close range after good work from captain Ben Harding. Harding had collected the ball wide on the right and produced a fine cross to the centre of the box for Benyon to place his header into the bottom left-hand corner of the Burton net.
Just before the break, Burton’s Zeli Ismail saw his speculative right-footed shoot from outside the box sail high and wide, never troubling Poke’s goal.
In the second half, a flurry of substitutions by both managers just after 50 minutes really changed the game and made for a more open match.
The introduction for Torquay of Jayden Stockley seemed to give United more presence at the heart of their attack,. although the departing Conor Wilkinson, who had played well, didn’t seem happy to be coming off, as he took his place on the bench.
With the clock running down, both sides pushed for a vital winner but neither side could take the few chances that fell their way, with Poke saving from point blank range from Burton substitute Dominic Knowles.
With other results not going United’s way on Tuesday night, they now slip to the bottom of league two, seven points adrift of safety.
After the game, United’s manager Chris Hargreaves spoke to the media. “I’m pleased with the effort, work rate and commitment the players showed tonight. It’s not the result we wanted, but the players were brave on the ball against a very good Burton side who are fighting for promotion. I was proud of our performance tonight; the players showed great fight after falling a goal behind.”
United now travel to Hartlepool on Saturday (March 1st) before their next home fixture against Fleetwood Town on March 8th.
Attendance – 1’583 (31 Away Supporters)
TUFC – Poke, Downes , Pearce, O’Connor, Nicholson, Lathrope, Harding (capt), Stevens (Bodin 74), Goodwill (Chapell 88), Benyon, Wilkinson (Stockley 59)
(Subs not used) Rice, Tonge, Hawley, Cameron
Burton – Lainton, Grey, McCrory, Cansdell-Sherriff, Sharpes, Edwards, Weir, Palmer, Alexander (Kee 55), McGurk (Knowles 55), Ismail (MacDonald 90)
(Subs) Bell, Lyness, Phillips, Holmes
Bookings: Sharpes (Burton)
Match Report by Matt Green, Sport South Devon