From zero to a hero as Downes delivers
AUSSIE defender Aaron Downes went from being a zero to a hero for Torquay United as he rescued a point for the Gulls against AFC Wimbledon in Alan Knill’s first game as permanent manager.
Downes had inadvertently turned a shot from the Dons’ Harry Pell into the back of the net on 88 minutes, which looked to have condemned the Gulls to defeat.
However, he redeemed himself in injury time to head home a cross from substitute Niall Thompson to secure a point, much to Knill’s relief.
“We thought ‘what are we going to dowe have hardly any minutes left’,” said Knill.
“So we throw Niall (Thompson) on at right back and told him to get forward.
“He put in the box and Downesy does what Downesy does really well and sticks his head where others don’t want to put their head and gets to it and scores a great goal.
“We will take a point, it was so important not to lose today and we got a result when it looked as though we wouldn’t.
“We ended last season on a high so we wanted to start the next season with some sort of momentum.”
The Dons threatened on four minutes when winger George Francombe fired a low shot across the face of goal.
Five minutes later, the Gulls looked to have taken the lead through debutant loan signing Callum Ball, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
In the second half, Ball hit the woodwork in the 56th minute with an effort from 18-yards.
The Dons then looked to have snatched a late winner in the most fortuitous of circumstances when a long range shot from Harry Pell deflected into the back of the net off the head of Downes.
However, Downes recovered from his setback to head home the Gulls’ equaliser in injury time when he powered home substitute Thompson’s cross to clinch a point.
Dons boss Neal Ardley said: “The only thing we were guilty of was, and it comes from wanting to win so much, is you drop back to protect what you’ve got and ultimately you don’t then stop it at source, which is so frustrating. “The more they get the ball into the right areas where the goals come from you do end up conceding.
“For our goal, I think the league will have to decide on giving it to him (Harry Pell), we have challenged him to score a few more.
“I thought we created some really good chances, but I don’t think we passed the ball as well as we have done in preseason.
“Thera are certainly areas for us to work on in the weeks ahead.” To comment on this match go to http://boards.footymad.net/