Torquay United suffered relegation from the National League after drawing 1-1 with Hartlepool United.
United needed three points to stay in the race for survival but couldn’t find a way to win despite mounting significant pressure on Hartlepool’s goal in the second half. Barrow drew 1-1 against Aldershot Town to offer some hope that United could stay in contact, but a draw against the Monkey Hangers wasn’t enough.
TUFC head coach Gary Owers kept the same starting XI that has beaten FC Halifax Town seven days ago. Ryan Clarke came in for Neal Osborn and Michee Efete replaced Tommy O’Sullivan on the bench.
Despite a second half dominance, United’s first half performance left them with work to do.
United’s first action of the second half saw them claim for a penalty when a shot by Jamie Reid hit a Hartlepool hand inside their penalty area. The referee didn’t see enough to give a penalty.
A few minutes later Lemonheigh-Evans skipped past his man only for his low cross to be cleared.
The game had been pretty uneventful until Hartlepool took the lead. Ryan Donaldson’s shot took an innocuous touch off someone in a group of yellow shirts. The ball spun just past the dive of Vincent Dorel who was wrong-footed by the deflection.
United were offered a lifeline in the 26th minute when Ryan Healey was knocked over by Lewis Laing inside Hartlepool’s box. The referee pointed to the spot and Brett Williams stepped up to take the penalty. Brett Williams blasted the balltowards goal but Loach got there. Barnes put the ball back across goal but without someone to convert.
United failed to spark in attack for the rest of the half. Hartlepool, with relegation troubles behind them, looked the brighter of the two teams. Jake Cassidy caused United problems in the 41st minute when he took on Gowling, Sean McGinty had to come across to narrow the angle and put the ball out for a corner.
United created more after the break and Hartlepool were eventually stifled as the half went on.
In the 54th minute Vincent Dorel pulled off a fine reaction save from Rhys Oates. United hit back with Rhys Healey setting up Jamie Reid inside the 6-yard box but his shot went wide of the far post.
United had two fantastic opportunities to equalize within a minute of one another. First a corner from Jamie Reid looked destined to be headed in by Rhys Healey, only for him to miss connecting with the ball. Then, Reid turned provider again, as his cross was headed on to the bar and post by Brett Williams.
It was one-way traffic as United dominated the last twenty minutes of the game. Some agonizingly close calls.
Reid then went close himself as United piled on the pressure. He turned his man inside the box and tried to find the far corner. Loach saved Hartlepool once again.
United were given further encouragement when Hartlepool’s Aaron Cunningham was sent off with ten minutes remaining. He received a straight red card for a challenge on Michee Efete.
United did equalize in the 82nd minute when Rhys Healey find the far corner and it did spark further close calls for United. He almost made it two in the 85th minute but was crowded out inside the 6-yard box.
We would like to thank the 152 members of the Yellow Army for supporting the team at Victoria Park.
Hartlepool United: 1 Scott Loach (GK), 3 Blair Adams, 4 Nicky Featherstone, 5 Scott Harrison, 7 Ryan Donaldson, 9 Jake Cassidy, 11 Rhys Oates [20 Aaron Cunningham 65′] , 15 Josh Hawkes, 18 Lewis Hawkins, 23 Louis Laing, 24 Conor Newton [8 Jack Munns 23′]. Substitutes (not used): 13 Catterick, 16 Orrell, 31 Owen
Booked: Newton 5′, Cassidy 83′
Red Card: Cunningham 80′
United (3-4-3): 30 Vincent Dorel, 26 Conrad Balatoni [24 George Dowling 63′], 6 Josh Gowling, 5 Sean McGinty (capt); 21 Aaron Barnes [2 Michee Efete 79′], 8 Luke Young, 29 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 3 Liam Davis, 19 Jamie Reid, 39 Brett Williams [10 Ruairi Keating 84′], 28 Rhys Healey. Substitutes (not used): 1. Ryan Clarke, 18 Yan Klukowski,
Booked: Young 9′
Referee: S Lucas
Attendance: 3,244 (152 Away)