Nick Powell's late leveller kept Crewe Alexandra's League Two play-off hopes bubbling as Torquay United's automatic promotion hopes were damaged.

Alex top scorer Powell struck in injury time at Plainmoor for his 15th goal of the season, blasting a right-foot shot.

Torquay took the lead on 54 minutes when left winger Danny Stevens latched on to left-back Kevin Nicholson's cross before curling into the far corner.

But, after Harry Davis had a penalty saved, Powell produced an equaliser.

With 14 minutes left, Powell was fouled by Mark Ellis, only for home keeper Bobby Olejnik to guess the right way and brilliantly palm away Davis's spot-kick.

But Powell, who had been a major doubt for the game, having not trained all week with tonsilitis, came up with his stoppage-time strike.

Earlier, Stevens' sixth goal of the season had sparked wave after wave of Torquay, but Crewe still looked dangerous on the counter.

With Crawley losing 3-0 at home to Hereford, victory for Torquay would have lifted them to third.

They are now level on points with the Sussex side, in fourth, but they have an appreciably worse goal difference.

And they will have to better Crawley's result next Saturday if they are to sneak the final promotion spot.

Torquay must now themselves take on relegation-battling Hereford at Edgar Street, while Crawley go to Accrington.

As for Steve Davis's Crewe, they need only a point at home to Aldershot at Gresty Road next Saturday to book their place in the play-offs.

They would only be denied if they lose and eighth-placed Oxford win at Crewe's neighbours Port Vale.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Torquay United manager Martin Ling told BBC Radio Devon:

"The lads are a bit down, I'm going to pick them up and move them on to next week.

"If the opposition goalkeeper doesn't have the ball in his hands then the ball is alive.

"I'd say to every Torquay supporter comes along to give us that one last push next week.

"We're wounded today but we're certainly not dead, we'll patch them up and if they give me a performance like they did today we will win at Hereford."

Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis told BBC Radio Stoke:

"Everyone stood up to be counted. We were 1-0 down and had to force the play a bit but we got we deserved.

"The attitude and approach was exceptional.

"We knew it would be a tough game but the lads performed very well.

"The football from both teams was excellent. There was something riding on it for both teams but it was a great spectacle and a great a game to watch."

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