Torquay 1 Rushden & D 1

Former Torquay striker Duane Darby returned the stick he received from his old fans with interest after a brilliant equaliser at Plainmoor.

Darby, always a love-hate figure during his early years at Torquay, struck in the 57th minute.

Spotting Torquay keeper Kevin Dearden off his line, he hit an ambitious lob from nearly 30 yards and the ball dipped under the bar to earn promotion-chasing Rushden a point.

It could easily have been all three, for Rushden dominated the second half after an interval roasting by manager Brian Talbot.

"We had a few words at half time, let's put it like that and we made a few changes," he said.

"We hardly won a single second ball in the first half, but we hardly lost one in the second half.

"We absolutely murdered them in the first 20 minutes after half time." Apart from Darby's goal, his tenth of the season, Onandi Lowe was twice saved by smart saves by Dearden and four minutes before the equaliser, Lowe had a goal disallowed for a push on Torquay defender Steve Woods.

It was a different story in the first half. With Kevin Wills making a tigerish full debut in midfield, Torquay nearly over-ran their high-riding opponents.

They made and missed enough chances to have wrapped the game up, the best falling to Kevin Hill, who headed over Tony Bedeau's cross when he should have hit the target in the 26th minute.

Wills' dynamic display in heavy conditions was finally rewarded when Stuart Gray brought him down in the 39th minute.

Gray was booked for dissent and Jason Fowler drove the penalty past keeper Billy Turley.

But with Andy Sambrook replacing Andy Burgess in midfield at half time, Rushden were galvanised in the second half.

Torquay had to wait until the 81st minute before anyone in their side mustered a second-half shot at goal, yet they nearly snatched it in the last minute, as Woods' header was brilliantly tipped over by Turley.

"I'm satisfied with a point," said Torquay boss Leroy Rosenior. "I don't expect to dominate a game for 90 minutes against a team like Rushden."