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FULL TIME: Torquay United 2 Bury 1
A STOPPAGE-time winner from Ashley Yeoman handed bottom club Torquay United a League Two lifeline and put a dent in Bury’s own survival hopes.
The local lad came off the bench to ruin the Shakers’ night after Clive Platt looked to have salvaged a point with a second-half equaliser.
Torquay remain five points adrift of safety, despite completing the double over Bury, who slipped to 18th place in the table following their first defeat in four matches.
But a crushing defeat for second-bottom Northampton Town ensured David Flitcroft’s side retain a four-point cushion over the drop zone.
If Reice Charles-Cook enjoyed a dream league debut in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Southend then his first league start quickly turned into a nightmare.
The 19-year-old keeper showed his nerves from the opening whistle after being picked ahead of experienced stopper Brian Jensen.
In the sixth minute, he was caught in possession trying to trick his way past Elliot Benyon in his own box and Pablo Mills had to head the Torquay striker’s resulting shot off the line.
But there was nothing he could do to stop the Gulls taking the lead two minutes later, rooted to his goal-line as captain Lee Mansell headed home Dale Tonge’s pinpoint cross from close range.
Charles-Cook’s night then almost went from bad to worse as he sliced a back-pass out for a throw-in to mocking jeers from the home support.
The youngster’s nerves seemed to spread to the rest of the Bury players as they struggled to get to grips with the ball on a dry, bobbly pitch.
Daniel Nardiello and Danny Mayor did manage to get snap shots off from distance, which were easy for Torquay keeper Martin Rice to deal with.
But fit-again Shakers captain Craig Jones went closer in the 25th minute, storming on to a Tom Soares through-ball and beating the last man before fizzing a low shot just wide of the far post.
That settled the visitors down and they regained control in the remainder of the half without threatening the Torquay goal.
Platt gave the 75 travelling Bury fans something to cheer about after the break with a header that went just wide.
Momentum remained with the home side, however, as Kevin Nicholson came close to doubling their advantage with a curling free-kick that rustled the side-netting from 20 yards.
But Bury showed the fighting spirit that has seen them lose just once in the previous 10 matches, as Platt reacted quickest when a Chris Sedgwick free-kick bounced clear in the box and he planted a cool finish into the bottom corner.
Platt’s second goal in Bury colours lifted the visitors, although Aaron Downes could easily have restored Torquay’s lead with a header that flew past Charles-Cook’s far post.
The Bury keeper got down well to his left to deny substitute Jayden Stockley as the game became more stretched.
And after Platt had a decent chance saved, Yeoman was on hand in the second minute of injury time to deny Bury a vital point, slamming home from close range.