Mansell miss proves costly as Gulls bow out of JPT on penalties
Torquay United 0 Portsmouth 0 (Portsmouth won 5-3 on penalties)
Captain Lee Mansell's first touch of the ball after being been sent on in the last minute of stoppage-time was a missed penalty in a shoot-out which saw Torquay United bow out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in the first round at home to their League Two rivals Portsmouth.
Pompey, who deserved to go through after looking the better side for most of the night, converted all five of their penalties – by Sonny Bradley, Jed Wallace, Ricky Holmes, Tom Craddock and, finally, Yassin Moutaouakil.
Karl Hawley, Callum Ball and Dale Tonge were all successful for Alan Knill's Gulls, but Mansell's miss proved the tie-breaker.
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United could hardly complain about the defeat, for they did well to soak up so much pressure and not concede in the 90 minutes.
For that they had to thank, mainly, outstanding centre-backs Krystian Pearce and Aaron Downes, with Martin Rice also making at least one brilliant save from Bradley late in the second half.
Andy Barcham was an obvious threat down Pompey's left wing, from the moment that he beat two men in the sixth minute, cut in and forced Rice to a smart save above his head.
It was a good job that Downes and Pearce were in top form in the heart of the Gulls' defence, for they were kept busy throughout a first half which saw United chasing the game for long periods.
Johnny Ertl and Bradley both went close from set-pieces before only Damon Lathrope's block, from close to his own goal line, denied Wallace's 17th-minute shot through a crowded goalmouth.
United did not help themselves with some erratic passing, which gave them few chances to exert any sustained pressure.
They were relieved to see Barcham's 16-yard shot deflect off Ben Harding for Pompey's fifth flag-kick of a half which they clearly won "on points" if not in goals.
Pompey set about the second half as they had finished the first, on the front foot.
The latest in a series of important tackles by Downes came to United's rescue, as Barcham was about to finish off a Holmes cross.
Jordan Chapell and Courtney Cameron switched wings for Torquay, to try and spark the home attack, but United were still penned in their own half by opponents eager to turn their superiority into goals.
The only thing that Pompey lacked was a finish. Knill let it go until the 59th minute, when he sent on young forward Danny Sullivan for Chapell.
More great work by Pearce, with help from Tonge, stopped Wallace from breaking through in the 63rd minute, and the longer it went on at 0-0 the more United started to believe that they might be able to turn the tide.
Pompey manager Guy Whittingham tried to give his attack a cutting edge when he introduced former Luton Town and Oxford United striker Tom Craddock for Ryan Bird in the 67th minute.
Downes threw himself full-length to deflect a Holmes shot behind in the 77th minute, Thomas Cruise doing something similar to deny Barcham moments later.
But the save of the night came from Rice in the 80th minute when he somehow tipped Bradley's close-range header over his bar from a Wallace cross.
Four minutes later, Portsmouth goalkeeper John Sullivan finally had to produce his first save of the match, but it had to be a good one – Danny Sullivan's angled shot from Cameron's right-wing pass was heading for the top corner.
Torquay United (4-4-2): Rice; Tonge, Pearce, Downes, Cruise; Chapell (Sullivan 59), Lathrope, (Mansell 90+2), Harding, Cameron (Hawley 90+2); Benyon, Ball. Substitutes (not used): C Thompson (gk), Nicholson.
Portsmouth (4-4-2): Sullivan; Moutaouakil, Devera, Bradley, East; Wallace, Ertl (Padovani 71), Ferry, Barcham; Holmes, Bird (Craddock 67). Substitutes (not used): Smith (gk), N'Gala, Butler.
Referee: K Hill (Hertfordshire).