Former Torquay United goalkeeper Lucas Covolan reflects on scoring against Hartlepool United in the National League promotion final
It was a moment of joy for Torquay United and despair for Hartlepool United.
An extraordinary National League promotion final would take a late but spectacular twist as Torquay’s Brazilian goalkeeper Lucas Covolan headed in a 95th minute equaliser to take the game to extra-time at Ashton Gate.
Pools – who had been holding on to Luke Armstrong’s first half strike for the majority of the game – looked defeated as the promotion that was right in their grasp appeared to be slipping away.
“I think that was one of the happiest moments in my career, if not one of the happiest moments in my life,” Covolan told the Official EFL Podcast. “Talking about it gives me the chills.
“There was a corner a few minutes earlier. I was going up and when I reached the halfway line, one of my teammates said: ‘no don’t go now, it’s too early’.
“A few minutes after, we had another corner and I went up into the 18-yard box.
“When the ball was getting closer to me, I just made a run in front of everyone and I got to the highest point I could get.
"The image of the ball going inside the goal was something that I couldn’t believe. The ball was just crossing the line in slow-motion.
“In that moment, I didn’t know what to do. Hearing all the loud screams from the Torquay fans in the stadium, it was just mental and something I think I’m never going to forget because it was such a beautiful moment, and it gave us a chance to win the play-offs.”
Covolan went on to save the first two penalties he faced in the shoot out but Hartlepool had the last laugh by winning 5-4 on penalties and securing promotion to League Two.
The goalkeeper still made it to the Football League himself just days after the promotion final as he left Torquay to sign for Port Vale, managed by former Pools midfielder Darrell Clarke.
Hartlepool promotion winners Lewis Cass and Ryan Johnson also made the switch to join The Valiants in the summer.
Port Vale will host Pools at Vale Park on Saturday November 27 (3pm kick-off).