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Glovers prove all right on the night following farcical penalty practice

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

Yeovil Town goalkeeper Marek Stech dives low to his left to save the match-deciding penalty of Torquay United’s Tom Cruise on Tuesday. Picture: Gary Day/Pinnacle

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Glovers boss Gary Johnson revealed that practice was far from perfect before his Yeovil Town players drilled home five penalties to beat Torquay United in a shoot-out at the end of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie at Plainmoor.

Johnson reported: "We practised our penalties in training, but they were absolutely useless."

Johnson and assistant Terry Skiverton decided to delay naming their penalty roster until the night.

"We asked them to step up, be confident and hit them hard," he said. "We got all five, and that was a better percentage than we got in training."

It was 20-year-old winger Keanu Marsh-Brown who had the responsibility of taking the final spot-kick, after United substitute Rene Howe had scored to make it 4-4.

But Marsh-Brown coolly drilled his shot past Michael Poke, prompting Johnson to say: "We thought Keanu was our man of the match, and he tucked it away nicely.

"He's still learning the game, and while they're learning they're going to be a bit up and down.

"Sometimes he has good performances and sometimes he has bad ones, but he's certainly a match-winner when he wants to be.

"He's going to be a great player, and hopefully it's going to be for us."

League Two Torquay, who led twice with goals either side of half-time from Ryan Jarvis, must have thought they had clinched a Southern quarter-final tie at home to Wycombe Wanderers.

But in the first minute of stoppage time James Hayter pounced to convert Marsh-Brown's low cross from the right, his second goal of the night, to force the tie to penalties.

Gulls manager Martin Ling said: "We opened them up on many occasions, and maybe we should have put the game to bed before that last-minute equaliser.

"You can't do anything about losing on penalties.

"We had it all planned and detailed, even down to who was taking them if it was level after the first five, but they took five good penalties, we took four and lost the game."

It was Marek Stech's save from Tom Cruise which ultimately decided the tie, but Ling said: "It was unfortunate for Tom, because I thought he was excellent on the night."

Ling also drew comfort from the performances of all four 'fringe' players he brought into the side – Jarvis, midfielder Craig Easton and full-backs Cruise and Danny Leadbitter.

"I know Ryan has some doubters in the crowd, but he got a standing ovation when I took him off, so that will help his confidence," said Ling.

"What more can he do, when he does replace Rene Howe, than go out and score two goals? The second was a good finish.

"Easton and Jarvis have done it for me before [at Leyton Orient], and I know what they can do.

"I didn't know Leadbitter and Cruise so well, but once Danny got going after a nervous start he won some great headers and tackles, and I think Tom will enhance the squad as the season goes on.

"I thought we were the better side on the night and we feel we should be in the last-16. But we're not, so we brush ourselves down and look forward to Bristol Rovers away on Saturday."

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