Referee Scott Mathieson decided City were not deserving of all three points, handing bottom club Torquay a share of the spoils with a harsh last minute penalty. After a goalless first half, Andy Holt put the Tigers ahead in the 79th minute, heading home from a Brabin through ball. It all went sour for the on-loan Oldham defender, he was adjudged to have handballed in the area in injury time and Richard Kell scored from the spot to equalise. Seconds before Holt’s touch, Gull’s midfilder Rees deliberately handled before providing a cross that struck Holt, however the Stockport official spotted only the second offence and pointed to the spot.
Brian Little was none too chuffed, noting: “Rees deliberately handled and the referee was in the best position to see it. Yet five seconds later he has given them a penalty and its taken him three seconds to make his mind up and blow the whistle. It was a bad decision.” Even Torquay’s caretaker boss Colin Lee implied the Tigers appeals against the penalty had foundation: “The dispute was whether Jason Rees handled it just before then. Maybe the referee was unsighted – who knows? But that might have been the bit of luck we needed.” City started with David Brown and Kevin Francis up front in the absence of Rodney Rowe, though Francis made way in the second half when Little paired Gary Fletcher and John Eyre together.
The draw didn’t damage our play-off charge too much, of the teams scrapping for a top seven finish only Scunthorpe, visitors to the Ark next week, won, seeing off Barnet 2-1 at home. Southend drew 1-1 away to Chesterfield, Leyton Orient did the same at Darlington, while Blackpool surprisingly went down 2-0 at Exeter. The Tigers remain in seventh place, level on 59 points with Blackpool in sixth, two points behind Leyton Orient in fifth.
Musselwhite, Whittle, Holt, Atkins, Brabin, Matthews, Edwards, Philpott, Mann
(Eyre 46), Brown, Francis (Fletcher 46)