From zero to a hero as Downes de­liv­ers

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Steve Har­ris

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.footy­

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