The Opposition View - Torquay United
Following last night`s morale-boosting 2-1 victory over Torquay United at Plainmoor, here are some views on the game from Gulls interim boss Alan Knill and a few of their fans.
Knill said: "I felt we needed some experience but we couldn't get anyone in before today, but we'll continue to look."
"I'm delighted that we scored after such a long time, but disappointed that we can't keep hold of that 1-0 lead."
"We've got some young players - they've probably not been in this situation before and it took at least 25 minutes to get going. But all of a sudden we got going and there was a game on."
"It's been quite a tough two games, and a tough four days, but we're more than capable. We just need to organise ourselves a little quicker and be more determined about things and it'll change."
"There's not one or two games left, there's 12 games left, and within that group that are in the bottom seven or eight a lot of things can change."
"We've got to be positive and I'm quite sure we'll get out of it."
Torquay United fans were rather morose after falling to a seventh straight defeat in the league. They did however single out Blues player-boss Gareth Ainsworth for praise. Here are some of their post-match thoughts...
The following extracts are taken from Torquay Fans.com, Torquay Fans Forum and Football Forums.net
"Seven defeats on the bounce, no confidence or belief in the team, no win on the horizon and one point from safety. I am officially looking forward to my trips to some of non-league's finest next season."
"Anyone who was at tonight's game would confirm that there is absolutely no belief in the team. Even when they are winning as tonight they seem resigned to the fact that they won't hold the lead - I guess because they have lost so many winning positions this season. There is usually one side which tumbles down the league into relegation each year and I fear that we are that team this year.
We can't even change our manager to try and avert disaster like all the other contenders. His interim replacement seems just as incapable of changing things as Martin Ling. Contrast his performance with that of Gareth Ainsworth who had the courage to bring himself on and then went about changing the whole complexion of the game by directing all their best attacks down their right wing against our weakest links - Kevin Nicholson and Angus McDonald.
I confess that tonight's display has knocked all the optimism out of me - it was so spineless it was breathtaking."
"Don't be fooled by the score. We were individually and collectively clueless. Took ten minutes to get in their half and only improved marginally later on.
"What can I say? The confidence has drained out of the side and they`re not really playing as a team anymore. Wycombe started the game much better and we really struggled to even get out of our half. They had a succession of corners with their best chance a header that hit the outside of the post.
We actually had our best period of the match leading up to their goal in the second half and not scoring again is what did us. The best chance was when Rene Howe was put through on the left of the area and his cross came out to Billy Bodin near the spot whose goal bound shot was just deflected over by Dave Winfield just when it seemed certain that we would score. I think we would have won if it had gone in!
Then of course, they went and scored. A break on their right saw Poke save the shot but a goalmouth scramble saw the ball slotted home. Shortly after Ainsworth crossed a ball which seem to bisect two or three defenders (maybe one should have cut it out?) and it came nicely through to Matt McClure to smash in the net.
"Wasn't expecting to win, to be truthful, but have a horrible panic bubble building now and it needs some points to pop it."
"On the field we are a shambles. The first half hour tonight I think we touched the ball about four times. Uninspiring, boring and awful."
"It was horrific watching that. Unfortunately, from tonight I have made the following conclusions:
Elliot Benyon is a very poor footballer technically, and all he is good for is chasing long balls and pressuring the defenders very well. The ball bounces off him though with his terrible touch, and he won't score more than a couple this season. He also can't run with the ball quickly, so will never really threaten a defence or the goal unless he's poaching in the six-yard box.
The central pairing is woeful. Our pairing tonight were atrocious. No control, no composure, terrible passing, and absolutely no vision.
The defence I can't be bothered to moan about. They were utterly sh*t, and were simply pathetic. Nicholson long ball, Angus skinned for the first goal and I just saw a replay of the mess for their second goal. "
"Quarter of the season to go. 12 massive games to come. It isn't over until the 90th minute of the 27th of April. It reminds me of our first season back in the football league, back then everyone was convinced we were dead certainties to go down. All we needed was a result, we duly got that and our form turned.
To the fans' credit they stuck with the team throughout what has to be the worst opening half of football all season and got rewarded with a goal. As soon as we conceded however there was no support behind the team, the incessant vitriolic abuse was predictable. Not one positive chant in the final 10 minutes to try and raise the team, just a competition of who could call Alan Knill clueless the loudest.
Tonight was grim, seven consecutive defeats are grim, the season as a whole has been grim. It is not over though, far from it. If you truly think it is over, and you have lost all faith, then fair enough, please stay away. That may seem counter productive but I would rather stand amongst 1,000 fans trying to raise the team instead of 2,000 fans bashing it."
"Be sure of one thing and that is we are going down. That performance was inexcusable against a pretty lame Wycombe side who lost their best player, Joel Grant, half way through the game. Still not enough for us - having committed daylight robbery by leading 1-0 at half time we managed somehow to contrive to toss another three points away.
When we avoided relegation under Colin Lee we had a crap side but a real collective purpose, fans and team united with a common cause - to keep us up. This is lacking this time around I'm afraid. Rene Howe spent ten minutes during the pre match warm up chatting to a Wycombe player - that wouldn't have happened under Lee. The blame for this predicament lies firmly with Martin Ling and the Board.
Onto last nights abject surrender. My heart sank on the way to the ground when I heard that Mansell was out. The issue with this team all season is that we have no quality once our best players are missing. We offered absolutely nothing in midfield. A forward line of Howe, Benyon and Bodin ought to be more than enough at this level but they never got a pass all night and again we created precious little.
Nicholson was roasted by Ainsworth (how old is he 40?) continually when he came on. He needs a rest. Trouble is Cruise is his replacement and he looks a liability."
"Goodbye League Two. It was good while it lasted. Wycombe probably just about deserved the win."
"Gareth Ainsworth was the Man of the Match. He saw there was a problem, came on, motivated, lead by example, changed the game, and secured the points. Top player top manager. Priceless!"
Next: Wycombe Wanderers v Fleetwood Town
League Two - Saturday 2nd March 2103 - Kick off 3pm
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