Torquay United player-manager, Kevin Nicholson says he puts Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Lincoln City down to the fine margins between the two teams.
Nicholson, who was speaking after the defeat admitted that he was pleased with his team’s performance, but identified two key areas that saw his team see a draw slip away from them in the final seconds at Plainmoor.
“The lads did virtually everything I asked of them. The two reasons why we lost that game today were, way to wasteful in front of goal, too erratic, not just hitting the target with a bit of quality.
On a day that just screamed “hit it hard and low” and cause problems, we may hit way too many off target and over, but we created a hell of a lot of chances. I think in the first-half, if we had really been at it in front of goal we could’ve had three or four.
“In the second half for that last 10 minutes, you’ve got to have the courage to keep stepping forward, so I’m not just putting on the back four, I’m talking as a team.
They’re putting balls in the box, you’ve got to use that wind to your advantage and it’s an advantage if you get out of the box, because it’s hard to put it in an area where they’re going to cause you a major problem, but if you stand five yards out of your goal and let them cross it all they’ve got to do is get a touch and it’s going in.
Unless it hits Brendan, there’s no way he’s saving anything from that distance and we were too weak to let that happen really, we’re better than that. We’ve worked very, very hard on getting up every time we can and for some reason, they just didn’t do it today and that’s what has cost us.”
The game that saw Nicholson go toe-to-toe against good friend, Danny Cowley got off to frantic start at Plainmoor, with Australian defender, Giancarlo Gallifuoco handing the visitors a chance to open the scoring from the spot, when he brought down Sam Habergham inside the opening two minutes.
Whilst Nicholson was disappointed to see his side give away a spot kick, he revealed that overall, he was pleased with what he saw.
“It was a terrible start. Barring the goal, it was actually a really good start for 20 minutes, but I don’t know how GG has managed to do it, he’s there, he’s got the ball, he’s covered it and then he seems to have kind of slid past it and taken the man out. Definite penalty from what I could see, but I was very pleased with the reaction, I think we played some great football, I think we moved the ball really well.
“Like I say, we created the chances, we’ve worked on it so hard for the last two weeks, just see the picture, hit it low, hit hard into the corner. I’ve said to them there, we don’t do those practices because it’s quite fun doing shooting practice, we do it because you’re going to get your chances because we’re playing well enough to create them, go and take them. Today we had too many that were blazed.”
The Gulls once again found success from set plays to get themselves level and Nicholson praised the impact of defender, Gallifuoco, who found himself on the end of a Luke Young corner, which, eventually found its way into the net via Lincoln defender, Luke Waterfall.
“He’s got a lot to learn and a lot to get better at, but he’s a very good player, it was a great ball in and a great header. Again, it’s something you work on all the time and he’s taken that chance. Our ratio of chances taken so far hasn’t been to the level it needs to be if we’re really going to be up there, doing what we expect to do this season. We certainly can’t have any moans about the performances over the last couple of weeks.”
Nicholson refused to be too down following the result, he admitted that both he and the squad can take plenty of positives from the result.
“I’ve learnt that, if we really really go for it, if we take one game at a time, if we really concentrate in front of goal and hit the target, make the goalkeeper work then if we really keep up our tempo, keep up our front foot type of style, then we’ve got every chance of doing something this season and this game in it’s self is a perfect example, there’s fine margins.
We’ve missed a few chances, they’ve not had much in the way of clear cut. The one they had, Rhead takes, that’s the difference between them being sat in the top three or us being up there, fighting for the play-offs, it’s a learning curve, you’re always going to learn. I’m generally very pleased with what my lads have done, but today, fine margins have gone against us.”