Gary Johnson reveals Torquay United dressing room 'inconsolable' after play-off loss to Hartlepool United
Gary Johnson has revealed the Torquay United dressing room was ‘inconsolable’ after the dramatic play-off final defeat to Hartlepool United.
Dave Challinor’s side won the tie 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, in what was a memorable game for a variety of reasons.
Luke Armstrong looked set to become the hero on the day as he fired home in the first-half to put Pools ahead, only for Torquay United goalkeeper Lucas Covolan to equalise deep into injury time to send the game into extra time.
The two sides couldn’t be separated in the additional 30 minutes so the tie went to penalties.
Pools triumphed 5-4 after a dramatic shoot-out, Brad James – who was at fault for Torquay’s late equaliser – proved the hero with a stunning fingertip save to push Matt Buse’s effort onto the crossbar.
Reflecting on the penalty shoot-out defeat, Torquay United boss Johnson said: “Obviously Lucas was our hero saving two penalties and scoring his goal. Unfortunately, his teammates missed three penalties and you're not going to win a final if you miss three penalties.
"We're disappointed because we thought we might have had two more goals during the game.
"I've asked the referee to watch them back but I won't hear anything back from him, you never do in this league.
"We've got to grieve for a couple of weeks now and once we've done that you gradually get over it and start building for next season.
"We're inconsolable in the dressing room at the moment, what can you say?
"It was a fantastic game where both sets of players gave everything.
"I always think two teams should be promoted automatically from the National League.”
Pools will now look forward to the new League Two season with the EFL fixtures released on Thursday this week.
Pools have five players currently under contract and the hard work starts straight away in terms of rebuilding the Pools squad ahead of the new season.
The Pools players, who returned to training last June so have been working solidly for over a year, will have a couple of weeks off before they are back in training.