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DEVON DERBY COUNTDOWN: Time for Torquay United to banish a bad memory

By GuyHenderson  |  Posted: January 14, 2013

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THE last time Torquay United and Exeter City met at Plainmoor, things didn't go quite according to plan for Gulls fans.

The teams met in the second leg of a Blue Square Premier play-off semi-final on Monday May 5, 2008 as both clubs battled to win a place back in the league after a period of non-league exile.

Gulls fans thought they had one foot in the final after a 2-1 victory in the first leg at St James's Park the previous Thursday evening.

Tim Sills had put the Gulls ahead in the first half in front of a packed crowd.

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Wayne Carlisle levelled the scores for the Grecians with 15 minutes to go but a last-minute goal by Chris Zebroski sent Gulls fans back down the A380 full of optimism for finishing the job in the home leg.

It all started so well for Torquay, and when terrace hero Kevin Hill put the Gulls in front after 59 minutes, it seemed done and dusted at 3-1 on aggregate.

Exeter, however, were made of stern stuff and, roared on by ranks of their fans in Plainmoor's away end, set about staging a remarkable comeback.

Ryan Harley pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to go, and a Ben Watson penalty nine minutes from time meant the Grecians were level on aggregate.

Richard Logan scored Exeter's third on the night to put his side in front overall in the 89th minute, and it was Carlisle who applied the coup de grace in the last minute of the match to give Exeter a remarkable 5-3 aggregate win.

Torquay's squad for Tuesday night's game will include four survivors from that play-off meeting in Kevin Nicholson, Lee Mansell, Martin Rice and Danny Stevens.

Exeter's only survivor is Steve Tully, himself a former Gulls player.

The two sides have met 113 times over the years in all competition, and history favours the Grecians, who have won 42 times to Torquay's 36.

Exeter currently lie third in nPower League Two, with Torquay 16th.

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