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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

04 February 2023 Venue Plainmoor Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Reports

Torquay 1-2 Notts

Sensational win with 10 men

4 February 2023

Ruben Rodrigues scored his third penalty in two games before being sent off as we produced a superb, battling victory at Torquay United.

Macaulay Langstaff had given us the lead with a tremendous finish only for Tom Lapslie to restore parity moments before the interval.

But Rodrigues coolly converted a penalty within minutes of the second half kicking off and, despite the Portuguese being given a controversial red card on 65 minutes, we held out to claim a third successive victory.

Luke Williams made two changes to the side that beat Solihull in midweek as John Bostock and Sam Austin came into the starting XI at the expense of Geraldo Bajrami and Cedwyn Scott, who were both named among the substitutes.

The tone for the first half was set within a second of kick-off as Macaulay Langstaff was wrestled to the floor off the ball as he tried to chase down the ball, with the referee failing to give a free-kick despite being right next to the incident.

Both sides had their first glimpse at goal in the sixth minute, Ruben Rodrigues sending a wide free-kick a yard wide of the far post before Aden Baldwin made an excellent last-ditch challenge to halt Tope Fadahunsi as he raced through on goal.

The hosts were putting in a number of physical challenges in the opening exchanges and Ryan Hanson was booked for a particularly bad one on Rawlinson, catching the defender on the high part of his ankle with a lunging tackle.

Shortly afterwards, former Gull Aaron Nemane did brilliantly to get into the area but his cross had too much pace on it and ended up out for a throw on the far side.

Torquay then nearly had the opening goal in bizarre circumstances as Connell Rawlinson attempted to head the ball back towards Slocombe – but got too much on it and watched on as the keeper did brilliantly to claw the ball out of his own net.

Rawlinson was involved again four minutes later, committing a foul and being pushed by Ben Wyatt in the aftermath. The defender retaliated in the same way and was booked by the referee.

But the defender made a much more positive contribution on 34 minutes when, moments after Slocombe had done brilliantly to sweep up a dangerous moment, Rawlinson strode forward and supplied Langstaff in the area. The forward shifted the ball on to his left foot and produced an emphatic finish in front of the away end.

Rodrigues was then shown his first yellow card for a foul on Kieron Evans – but it was a yellow card which never came that emerged as the first half’s big talking point.

It should have gone to Hanson, who brought Rodrigues down from behind – his second foul of that nature since seeing yellow earlier in the half. Somehow, the referee decided to only talk to him.

And, a minute later, the hosts were level when they pounced on Bostock’s misplaced pass and rounded off the counter attack with a Lapslie finish inside the area.

It came as no surprise that Hanson was substituted shortly before half-time, joining Fadahunsi on the bench after he had been involved in a tactical swap earlier in the half.

And a frustrating opening 45 minutes was compounded when Rodrigues laid the ball off for Austin in the area, only for the midfielder to curl his effort off-target.

Within two minutes of the second period kicking off, however, we had a golden opportunity to retake the lead when Rodrigues and Nemane combined brilliantly, with the latter being brought down in the area. Rodrigues had scored twice from the spot at Solihull in midweek and made no mistake this time, sending the keeper the wrong way and finding the bottom corner.

Rodrigues had a taste for goals and nearly added our third when he brilliantly won the ball back in midfield before curling a 20-yard effort narrowly wide.

Austin, for a foul, and Slocombe, for alleged time-wasting, were the next Notts men to see yellow – before another hugely controversial moment saw us reduced to 10 men.

Bostock delivered a free-kick into the area and, with the ball flying out of play for a goal kick, Rodrigues casually handled it. After consulting his assistant, the referee decided to issue the number 10 with a second yellow card.

We responded brilliantly, however, and carved out a good chance to make it three on 76 minutes when Jones, on for Austin, linked up superbly with Chicksen before blazing a right-footed effort wide.

As the clock ticked down we continued to stand up superbly to the hosts’ aerial bombardment – and even though seven minutes of added time were shown, our goal never felt under serious threat.

And we managed to see out the remaining minutes to record a sensational win.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Baldwin, Rawlinson (Bajrami 87'); Chicksen, Nemane; Bostock, Palmer, Rodrigues, Austin (Jones 56'); Langstaff (Scott 79')

UNUSED SUBS: O'Brien, Vincent

BOOKINGS: Rawlinson 30', Rodrigues 38', Austin 56', Slocombe 62', Langstaff 77'

RED CARDS: Rodrigues 65' (two yellows)

ATTENDANCE: 2,621 (489)

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