(Jacob Smelt 56’ Bailey Gamble 63’) (Ryan Hanson 43’ Luke Pearce 90’)
Ivybridge win 4-3 on penalties
Ivybridge sent a rotated Torquay United out of the county cup on Tuesday night. The Ivies were taken the full length thanks to a last-minute equaliser.
Both teams started the game quickly, moving the ball accurately through the lines and testing both back lines early on. Throughout the first quarter neither team created any clear chances as both defences held firm and Ivy’s goalkeeper Kane Gregory claimed all of Torquay’s testing high balls early on.
Ivybridge continued to move the ball well, finding the space out wide with their crosses causing problems for Torquay’s defence. The best chance of the match so far came from a Dane Hewings bullet header which would’ve broken the deadlock if not for the goal line clearance from a Torquay centre back.
However, as half-time approached Ivybridge gave away a free kick on the edge of their box allowing Torquay’s captain Ryan Hanson to open the scoring for the night with a low drive around the wall into the bottom right corner.
Ivybridge came out for the second half much quicker, and their possession kept Torquay pinned back in their own half for the opening minutes. Ivy’s possession eventually won them a corner which Jacob Smelt curled directly into the back of the net to bring Ivy level on the night. Ivy could smell blood and a few minutes later raced into the lead through Bailey Gamble’s spectacular 25-yard curling strike over the helpless Rhys Lovett.
Ivybridge defended resolutely for the rest of the match, frustrating Torquay with Luke Pearce eventually earning himself a yellow for a late challenge. As Ivy began to sit back and protect their lead Torquay created more chances and wasted numerous opportunities. But as the Ivy crowd were checking their watches for full time, Pearce volleyed in the equaliser beating Gregory at his near post. It came against the run of play, but Torquay held in there and took Ivy to penalties.
As the crowd made their way in front of the clubhouse for the shoot-out, Torquay drew first blood with Hanson dispatching the first spot kick. Followed by Jake Lane landing Ivy’s first punch in the shoot-out. Dan Martin took United’s second penalty, but Gregory was equal to it making a strong save to give Ivy the upper-hand early in the shootout. Ivy continued to slot their spot kicks past the over-eager Lovett. Riley Crawford stepped up to take the crucial kick, with Torquay needing to score to stay in. But Gregory stepped up again and punched Crawford’s spot kick away and sent Ivy into the next round of the county cup, sparking delirious celebrations from the Ivies players and fans.
An ecstatic Ivybridge co-manager Wayne Gamble said of his side’s performance: “I’m made up for the boys, we had five first teamers out tonight and changed shape to accommodate Torquay…
“I said don’t be happy with losing 1-0 to Torquay at half-time, we’ve got chances in us, and we’ve gone out and without being bias I think we were the better side second half…
“The togetherness in this squad is absolutely exceptional as you’ve just seen tonight. I don’t know if they underestimated us a little bit, but I think after 30-40 minutes they knew they were in for a game.”