Over the summer of 2044, Spanish manager Federico Hurtado received news that the board of Torquay United had, in response to their brilliant Conference-winning season, decided to reinstate the club’s youth setup.
Torquay United will have a youth academy for the first time since its removal in 2015 and news has delighted youngsters in the Torquay region. Although the club will have to compete with the likes of Plymouth and Exeter for Cornwall’s best young prospects, the news is a massive step for the club.
In the previous post, we saw how Federico Hurtado managed his side to a 1st place finish in the Conference, with striker Mark Cresswell scoring 47 goals in the season. In this post, we will take a look at how Torquay United have performed upon their return to the Football League.
1 win in 14 league matches | A difficult start to life in the Football League
To say it has been a frustrating opening stage to the season would be fair. Yet despite only winning 1 match this season, Hurtado had faith in his methods. Many questioned whether his 4-4-2, which was ever so effective in the lower leagues, would work as the quality of the opposition increased.
Critics suggested that a more flamboyant approach was needed to win games in the Football League. Indeed, the thought had already crossed Hurtado’s mind as we saw when he plucked a 3-4-1-2 formation out of thin air. This, however, proved a poor experiment and has strengthened Hurtado’s resolve to tweak his current tactic and make it work.
Although only a small change, moving Carl Brown, our right midfielder, to play slightly higher up the pitch allowed for more chances to be created with little to no consequence defensively.
After 14 matches of the season, Torquay sat just outside of the relegation places and must have feared immediate relegation back to the Conference.
7 wins from their final 9 matches lifted Torquay from a mid-table finish to 7th position.
And in League Two, 7th place is the final playoff spot…
League Two Playoffs
Torquay, having finished in 7th place, were to play Barnet in the two-legged Semi-Final. A win would see them face either Wigan or Wrexham in the Playoff final.
Both legs ended without a winner. The 1st leg was drawn 0-0 with the second being 1-1 at ninety minutes. Extra time still could not separate Torquay and Barnet, meaning a penalty shootout would decide the victor.
After a nerve-wracking five minutes, which saw three consecutive penalties missed, Garner, Torquay’s right back, stepped up and fired home to book his teams place at Wembley for the Playoff final.
A fiery encounter between Wigan and Torquay would decide who would be promoted to League One | Could Federico Hurtado lead his side to back-to-back promotions?
Four men were sent off in the Playoff final between Torquay United and Wigan Athletic. Fortunately for Hurtado, both sides lost two as Nigerian Joseph Okoye and Englishman Lloyd Randall saw red for Torquay.
It was Torquay who took the lead through Mark Cresswell before Wigan pulled a goal back within minutes. The remainder of the match saw little action, with the main highlights coming through senseless tackles resulting in the aforementioned three red cards.
In extra time, Torquay’s left sided winger, Colin Peacock, sprinted down the wing and delivered a superb ball to the formidable Cresswell, who slotted home. With just ten minutes left Randall was sent off which even up the numbers and meant for a trying last ten minutes for Torquay to survive.
Although most of the play fell to Wigan, Torquay were able to break effectively and did so through Mark Cresswell who scored his third of the match to win the match for his side.
Torquay United are promoted to League One…
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Thanks for reading the eight post in our series ‘Viva Torquay’. It has been an incredible couple of seasons for the club which has seen them rise to League One. But has it come to early? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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