Keeper Scores Incredible Last-Second Equalizer In National League Promotion Final
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Torquay United goalkeeper Lucas Covolan scored a late equalizer to keep them in the National League playoff final on Sunday but his efforts proved fruitless as Hartlepool United won a penalty shootout to secure a return to the English Football League.
Midfielder Matt Buse missed the decisive kick for Torquay as Hartlepool edged the shootout 5-4 to return to League Two after a four-year absence.
Luke Armstrong's first-half opener for Hartlepool was cancelled out by a spectacular stoppage-time header from Torquay keeper Covolan to force extra time at Ashton Gate. Covlan advanced upfield when his side won a throw 30 yards from goal and beat his opposite number to the ball to score, sending Torquay fans wild.
Incredible 95th-minute header from Torquay United goalkeeper Lucas Covolan.pic.twitter.com/LjhuGJR13o— The18 (@the18com) June 20, 2021
The opening four penalties in the shootout were missed and Buse was denied by a fingertip save from Pool goalkeeper Brad James as Dave Challinor's side secured a place in League Two alongside National League champions Sutton United.
Hartlepool United are back in the Football League!Congratulations to Dave Challinor, his players and the @Official_HUFC fans!
This is the moment they did it! pic.twitter.com/5p6nGWceF5
— The National League (@TheVanaramaNL) June 20, 2021
"A rollercoaster of emotions. We thought it was gone (at full-time)," James told BT Sport. "But the lads worked hard. It's gone to penalties and I just went the right way. I knew if I saved it we win it. I just committed that way, I don't know what happened after that."
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)