Friday, April 14, 2017

14 April 2007 - It Was A Good Run While It Lasted

On 14 April 2007, a 1-1 draw with Peterborough secured Torquay's relegation, ending a 79-year stay in the Football League.

Formed in 1899, Torquay United joined the league for the 1927-28 season, playing in the Third Division. They moved between the third and fourth tiers for the remainder of their stay in the league, with their best season ending with a second-place Third Division finish in 1957. They also narrowly missed tournament silverware, finishing as Football League Trophy runners-up in 1989.

By the 2006-07 season, Torquay were back in the fourth tier League Two and undergoing upheaval in the backroom as the club went through a succession of chairmen and managers. Their performance on the pitch suffered; at one point in the middle of the season, they went 19 matches without a win (and 14 of those were losses).

By the time they hosted Peterborough in April, Torquay had been at the bottom of the table for three and a half months. Their relegation looked unavoidable, but they still had a slight mathematical hope. That hope, however, required a win.

Torquay's Kevin Hill fanned the flames of that hope when his diving header put them up 1-0 in the 45th minute, but the referee awarded a 71st-minute penalty to Peterborough, which Craig Mackail-Smith buried to end the day as a 1-1 draw.

The Gulls spent two seasons in the Football Conference before returning to the league in 2009, but dropped back down to the Conference (now named the National League) in 2014. They are currently battling relegation, sitting 22nd out of 24 teams. 

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