BY STEVE HIBBERD ………..Fresh from that amazing last gasp Lewis stoppage time winning goal last week, Torry knew that more of the same was imperative against local rival Elche Ilicitano, if only to save their fans from end of season panic attacks!!
Played inside the magnificent Manuel Martinez Valero Stadium, we all wondered if big stadium syndrome, which suited the lads up at Castellon earlier in the season, would come up trumps again.
Starting the match just outside the relegation zone, Pedreno´s salt lake boys have performed minor miracles to lift themselves from a seemingly hopeless position at the turn of the year, whilst hosts Elche harbour play off aspirations, as they too have been on a good run of late.
Back in November a Pastor goal ensured that the spoils were evenly distributed at the Nelson Mandela Stadium, the ex Elche man still very much on course to pick up the coveted end of season top goalscorer award.
Despite the proximity of the two cities this game never really had a derby feel to it and following a slow start it was not until the 15 min mark that we saw any real action as Caballero free kick sailed narrowly over the bar following a foul on the edge of the Torry box.
Lewis responded by bringing off a fine save from David in the Elche goal before Javi Llor tested Jose Carlos, the Torry keeper turning his shot around the sticks for a corner.
There was little to choose between the two sides at this stage but as the game progressed the home side were beginning to move the ball around with far more assurance, the Torry response being to get rather more physical.
Pastor and Meca went into Snr Rodenas book as Javi Llor and ex Torry defender Brani created chances for the home side but the move of the half was of Molina’s making when he ran virtually the length of the field before being denied by another fine save from David.
The 2nd period saw altogether more action as Molina found himself unmarked and in space on 50 mins to open the scoring for the visitors only for Javi Llor to pull Elche level moments later.
Now, with the bit between their teeth, the home side were beginning to show their playoff potential as their belief began to grow, and it came as no surprise when Leomar put the home side in front with a strike from close range with 20 mins remaining.
A double substitution saw the arrival of Luis Carlos and Joel as the game entered the final quarter, for goalscorer Molina and Salazar.
As the seconds ticked away Pedreño replaced Pastor with Damian, but it was too little, too late and with Vicente sent off, despite Jose Carlos saving the subsequent penalty, the home side closed out the game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Further frustration for Torry as they were reduced to nive when Meca received a 2nd yellow in added time.
However there was some consolation as Crevillente beat Buñol 3-1 to keep Torry just above the drop zone with 5 games of the season remaining, 3 at home and 2 away, and all against mid table opposition with little or nothing to play for.
Torry now need to pick up all 3 points next Thursday evening in a 5.30 pm ko against CD Almazora at the Nelson Mandela.