Torquay United matchwinner Rene Howe says big win can inspire Gulls
MATCH-WINNER Rene Howe believes that this week's historic 4-3 victory over Aldershot Town can inspire Torquay United to mount another League Two promotion push this season, writes David Thomas.
Centre-forward Howe scored his seventh goal in ten games when he fired an unstoppable winner in the 89th minute at Plainmoor, after United had fought back from 3-0 down early in the second half.
It was the first time in nearly 42 years that the Gulls have won from such a deficit.
They have been locked in mid-table for the first few weeks of the season, hard to beat but anchored by six frustrating draws.
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But Howe said: "That could be the game that changes things for us.
"Football is like that – one game and one result can make a huge difference and hopefully we can push on from now."
Of his spectacular late winner, Howe said: "I think the goalkeeper thought I would go for the far post, but I just tried to hit it as hard I could for the near.
"And I did catch it well!"
United seemed to have no chance when Aldershot striker Craig Reid completed a hat-trick in the first minute of the second half.
But, after playing into the teeth of the wind and rain in the first half, the Gulls turned things around with goals by Billy Bodin and substitutes Ryan Jarvis and Ashley Yeoman before Howe's show-stopping winner.
United boss Martin Ling said: "That's the first time anything like that has happened in my managerial career.
"The players were asked a lot of questions, but they came up with so many answers and it just shows how much character we have in the Torquay dressing-room.
"We didn't perform in the first 45 minutes, but we did pull out all the stops in the second half.
"At half-time, I think were about 17th or 18th in the league, and at the final whistle we were ninth. That's some comeback."
Captain Lee Mansell added: "I've been leading 3-0 and lost – that happened when I was a young lad at Luton once – but never anything like this.
"It was a fantastic turnaround.
"It was a very strong wind, and the conditions were very difficult, especially for us in the first half.
"But I think the catalyst for us tonight was Nathan Craig and the way he got on the ball.
"Once we got one goal back, I thought 'This isn't over'.
"Rene scored a great goal to win it, but I'm really pleased for lads like Ryan Jarvis and Ashley Yeoman for their goals.
"Ryan has been working so hard in training and Ash has waited so long for his moment.
"And I don't know whether people noticed that it was Ashley who put his head in the way against Guy Branston in our goalmouth near the end – that was just as important as the goal he scored."
The Herald Express sponsored Tuesday's match, with a 2-for-1 ticket offer which United say brought in more than 250 supporters who might not have attended otherwise.
"We're trying hard to get people who don't come to games regularly to come along and see us, and the Herald Express' offer was a real success on a night when there was European football on TV and it was horrible weather," said chairman Simon Baker.
United must turn quickly to their next match, away to Wycombe Wanderers this Saturday.
They also meet League One Yeovil Town in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Plainmoor next Tuesday (7.45pm).