LEAVES GULLS ON CAN­VAS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bam­sey To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

THE FAT Lady was clear­ing her throat when Dale Tonge’s missed penalty con­demned Torquay to yet an­other de­feat – but boss Chris Har­g­reaves is adamant she has not sung yet.

Scun­thorpe clinched vic­tory in a tale of two penal­ties – Sam Win­nall con­sum­mately notch­ing his for a 22nd goal of a might­ily im­pres­sive sea­son – while Tonge watched on in hor­ror as Sam Slo­combe kept his out.

The Iron are coast­ing to­wards pro­mo­tion af­ter they stretched their record-break­ing un­beaten run to 25 games to main­tain their seven-point cush­ion on fourth-placed Fleet­wood.

Whereas the Gulls are ten points from safety – not to men­tion a woe­ful goal dif­fer­ence – with five games to play.

But a de­fi­ant Har­g­reaves is eye­ing five wins and what would be one of the most un­likely es­cape acts in Foot­ball League his­tory.

He said: “We will bat­tle all the way. We need five wins from the last five games and we still be­lieve we can do it.

“I thought we were ex­cel­lent in the first half and were far the bet­ter team. We need to re-pro­duce that type of per­for­mance.

“But you have to score when you are on top and some­times you don’t get the breaks when you are at the bot­tom. We missed a penalty and in the sec­ond half they changed their shape be­cause they couldn’t han­dle what we were do­ing.

“So I am very pleased with a lot of the game but very dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult.”

Torquay asked all the ques­tions in the open­ing half an hour but were un­able to find a crack in Scun­thorpe’s well-drilled rear­guard.

Karl Haw­ley was first to Court­ney Cameron’s cross but his stoop­ing header was pushed away by Slo­combe.

The Iron had not even tested Gulls keeper Martin Rice when they were awarded a penalty on the half-hour mark. Krys­tian Pearce lunged in on Matthew Spar­row and ref­eree Michael Bull had lit­tle choice but to point to the spot. Rice guessed the right way but wasn’t able to get any­thing on Win­nall’s well-dis­patched penalty.

Torquay were pre­sented with a glo­ri­ous chance to level on half-time when Win­nall went from hero to vil­lain af­ter wrestling Pearce to the floor but Tonge’s spot-kick was saved by Slo­combe and Shaquile Coulthirst, other­wise im­pres­sive couldn’t con­vert the re­bound.

Af­ter the break Torquay sub­sti­tute Jayden Stock­ley brought a smart one­handed save out of Slo­combe with a 25-yard free-kick.

But the Gulls’ mis­ery was com­plete in stop­page time af­ter Stock­ley re­ceived a straight red card for floor­ing David Mirfin with a flail­ing el­bow.

Scun­thorpe boss Russ Wil­cox con­ceded that the Iron weren’t at their best, but he could af­ford him­self a smile with League One edg­ing ever closer.

“It wasn’t the best but at this stage of the sea­son it is about get­ting re­sults,” he said.

“It came down to a cou­ple of key mo­ments – we scored our penalty and Sam makes an­other amaz­ing save from theirs.

“This is a mas­sive three points be­cause teams around us picked up points as well. Torquay had to gam­ble and we had to dig in re­ally deep and show dif­fer­ent qual­i­ties to our game.

“The de­ter­mi­na­tion, to­geth­er­ness and putting our bod­ies on the line meant it was a gritty, de­ter­mined away per­for­mance. I am so proud.”

HIGH FIVE: Scun­thorpe play­ers cel­e­brate Sam Win­nall’s win­ner

STAR MAN SHAQU

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