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Under-21s

First start sees promotion for Vincent

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

It's usually a dream come true to make the first professional start of your career.

But for Frank Vincent, his full professional debut was more than a game.

Having been relegated from the National League last season, Torquay United have scratched and clawed all season in a bid to bounce back at the first time of asking.

In order to get over the line, manager Gary Johnson moved to sign Vincent at Plainmoor on loan from Shaun Cooper's under-21s set up.

With the Devon club doing well, the young midfielder had to bide his time.

But last week, he made an unforgettable impact - Johnson trusted him to start their match against Eastbourne, win and they would be promoted.

"So I joined Torquay in January and it's been a real challenge for me," said Vincent.

"I've had to be really patient though, the team have been playing really well and there's a reason for that, there's lots of quality in the side.

"I feel I've made a positive impact though, players see me sign and don't want to get dropped so they up their quality levels, so I think I've been a positive influence despite not starting week in, week out.

"So last Friday, the manager called me in to his office, I felt it was my time because I'd done well in my substitute appearances and I back my ability when called upon.

"He told me I was starting and I was just buzzing, but I had to be calm! I really wanted to get on the pitch and make an impact.

"So when the game came I felt calm, I knew we had to win and it was a brand new experience for me, I could actually achieve something huge if we won.

"I kept the ball well in the game and we won 2-0 - it was an unbelievable feeling at the end.

"The timing was mad, my first start and we win the league! Torquay has a proper fanbase and to make an impression on them has been an honour really, playing in front of fans is crazy.

"To give people a great feeling about this year is a really nice feeling."

On top of an accomplished display, Vincent was awarded man of the match in his first start for the club, a huge reward for his patience at breaking into the team.

While it was a superb personal accolade, the midfielder also shared an emotional moment after winning the award.

"The timing was mad, my first start and we win the league. What was also nice was I won man of the match too, and that on top of having my mum and sister in the crowd was such a proud moment.

"It was the first time my sister had ever seen me play professionally so what a moment it was, my mum cried when they said I was man of the match!

"We celebrated in the dressing room and then came back on to the pitch to show our appreciation to the fans and it's mad - that was my first professional start!

"So, hopefully there's more to come - I've loved my time with the club. Maybe I should get my sister to come to more games as it was so special, hopefully there's many more special moments and memories to come in my career."

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