Clean-sheet delight for Torquay United debutant Martin Rice
Goalkeeper Martin Rice insisted that he was not in the least fazed by making his long-overdue Football League debut after he kept an important clean sheet in Torquay United's 0-0 draw at Oxford United.
"I've played in plenty of important games before," said the 26-year-old former Exeter City and Truro City man.
He had, after all, made his Conference debut for Exeter when he was only 17 and also played for the Gulls in the 2008 FA Trophy Final at Wembley.
"This was just another game of football as far as I was concerned. If you have an early touch of the ball, it always helps. And I did that. I felt confident right through the game.
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"Some people forget that I was only a kid when I first played for Exeter, but I'm 26 now.
"I was behind Bobby Olejnik last year, but I learned a lot from him and I've carried on working hard with [coach] Kenny Veysey. I didn't feel under any extra pressure today."
United manager Martin Ling said: "Martin has come through with flying colours.
"He was well protected by Brian Saah and Aaron Downes, but he made some great saves and he can be very proud of himself."
Ling added: "It was a hard-earned point.
"Without our main striker and goalkeeper today, I thought the other lads dug in.
"Oxford had the better chances, and they missed some gilt-edged ones.
"We didn't keep the ball at all well. We were nowhere near the passing standard we are capable of.
"Rene Howe was a big miss – it took a lot of edge off our attacking play. But an away point is always important and if someone had offered me that before the game, we would have taken it.
"With five players out, it's always going to test you.
"The average age of our bench was about 20, with five boys who have come through the youth system.
"That probably proves that we went into the lower end of our squad today, but in terms of character we came through it."