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Match Previews

Match preview: The big one

18 June 2021

Match Previews

Match preview: The big one

18 June 2021

Following Sunday's nerve-shredding win over Stockport

County, Hartlepool United travel to Ashton Gate, Bristol for a one-off game

against Torquay United. The winner gets what every National League club dreams

of – a place in the Football League next season.

Both teams traditionally play at a higher level, but

Hartlepool are coming to the end of their fourth season in the National League

and Torquay have been absent from league football since the 2013-14 season.

Sunday's match is a chance of both sides to get back to where the sides and

their supporters know they belong.

The Opposition

Torquay were top of the best-of-the-rest in the National

League, finishing four points behind champions Sutton United in second place.

At one point, they were runaway leaders, but a slip in form and injuries in key

areas saw Sutton take advantage.

Their recent form only includes one win in five, but it came at a vital time. Following draws with Bromley, Stockport, Barnet, and Altrincham, the Gulls hosted Notts County in the play-off semi-finals. Danny Wright's brace saw them lead twice, but they were pegged back by goals from Ruben Rodrigues and Adam Chicksen. In extra-time, quickfire goals from Asa Hall and Dean Moxey saw them progress 4-2 to meet Pools.

Experienced campaigner Gary Johnson is at the helm for Torquay United and we know plenty about their dangermen. Danny Wright got a brace in his comeback against Notts County at the weekend, and defender Sam Sherring was recently named in the Vanarama National League Team of the Season along with Rhys Oates.

The History

Torquay are familiar opponents to Hartlepool, with 83

matches taking place between the sides. The stats couldn't be closer –

Hartlepool have won 29 matches, Torquay have won 30, and 24 have ended in a


This season, it's honours-even in terms of points won.

Hartlepool endured a horror-show in front of the BT Sport cameras on Halloween

2020, losing 5-0 to the visitors. However, Challinor's men got their revenge in

March as a moment of magic from Luke Molyneux saw Pools defeat the Gulls on

their own patch.

Team News

Ben Killip returned to the bench in the weekend's

semi-final, so Challinor will have a choice to make between him, Brad James,

and Henrich Ravas for the trip to Bristol. Lewis Cass is continuing his

comeback from his hamstring injury and will hope to be in contention for the

trip. Luke Molyneux also returned to the team on Sunday, coming on as a

second-half substitute, and the former Sunderland winger will hope to be

involved again this week.

Watch, Listen, and Follow

Due to BT Sport's exclusivity agreement with the National

League, the game cannot be streamed by either club. Instead, it will be

broadcast on BT Sport 1 HD with coverage starting at 1pm prior to the 2pm


Mixlr commentary is available after our media team was

granted access, and this week Alex Chandy will be joined by club legend Adam

Boyd, a man with plenty of play-off experience. The striker was a double

goalscorer in the semi-final against Tranmere and he also played the full 90

minutes against Sheffield Wednesday at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Updates will also be posted on our social media accounts,with coverage being provided throughout the day.

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