Chris Todd's Eastleigh must be licking their lips - an extra day's rest, half of our defence injured and a team that has just been walloped 5-0!
I am not sure if Nico will start with the same defence that finished Saturday's match or will look at alternatives? I would quite like to see Wright start if just to freshen things up front. I would expect Young to feature at some stage particularly with injuries meaning that we ate not so flush in this area and will be good to see him make his home debut this season!
I thought you could sum up today in one word - inevitable. Yes we may have had the majority of the game but we rarely looked like scoring and Eastleigh contained us quite comfortably. We conceded a soft early goal from a free-kick and Eastleigh showed little adventure for the rest of the match and you could argue that they need not need to. I cannot comment too much on Torquay's makeshift defence as they did not have much to deal with although I suspect they could have done better defending Eastleigh's free kick that led to the goal. Gerring did a good header off the line in the second half but at times was clumsy on the ball. Verma at right back - well at least he is athletic but we will see how he copes defensively with attacking teams . Crowd 2,081 with about 100 from Eastleigh, sponsors MOTM Chaney who was our bright spark in the first half.
Torquay started brightly but were a goal down in 5 minutes from Eastleigh's first attack. A long range free-kick was put in low, alluded many players and turned in at the far post. It was a calamitous start for Torquay and after our 5-0 drubbing 2 days ago it was the last thing Torquay needed. In fairness, Torquay responded well and had the bulk of the first half. There was some good approach play but the fact was that we rarely worked their keeper. There were times when inviting low crosses went across the 6 yard area but there was no one in a white shirt (yes we played in our away strip again) to finish off. At the end of the 1st. half we finally had some proper goalmouth excitement when following a corner the ball was saved on the line twice. Chaney, who I believe was playing at the head of our diamond formation, showed some lovely neat ball control and was our biggest threat in the first half. There was decent effort from the team but the end product was missing.
The 2nd. half was a similar story with goalscoring chances few and far between. Butler put over a beautiful cross for Blissett for a clear header but mistimed it. Often after good approach play the final pass was poor. We used all our subs and Allen at least upped the tempo when he had the ball. Luke Young made a welcome return but played too deep for my liking. Surely he is the only player of ours who you would trust troubling their keeper in a scoring position. We tried some long range shots and one from MacDonald brought a good diving save from their keeper. The time ticked down and Eastleigh helped to run the clock down showing typical gamesmanship like taking an age to take a goal kick. Eastleigh should have sealed it a couple of times at the death but missed a couple of sitters. As for Torquay, I think we could still be playing now and we will still be waiting for a goal.
My thoughts after today - we are not good enough no matter how hard we try. We can't score and rarely look like scoring and at the other end I expect our makeshift defence without Berry will be found out against sterner opposition starting with Tranmere away on Saturday. It was good to have Racchi back today and I hope Smith will be back soon. I thought MacDonald was excellent today but again showed a lack of self disipline near the end of the match with Tubbs and was lucky to escape a yellow card. Chaney showed really good inventiveness today but was rightly subbed in the 2nd. half as he faded badly.
So it's been a disastrous Easter - 2 defeats, no goals scored, goal difference inferior to the other teams again, Berry out for the season, no decent options in defence. We are back to square one again in this horrific season and quite frankly we fully deserve to go down. The recent revival was a false dawn to delay the evitable. Well that's the way I see it. I've had enough of this misery week after week and the sooner this season finishes the better.
Cut it a bit fine coming back in the bank holiday traffic and arrived at the ground to hear the Eastleigh goal as I walked through the turnstiles. A poor goal by all accounts but thereafter we played quite well for the remainder of the half. We delivered quite a few balls in the box but did not have the quality to finish or get on the end of them. Blissett did a nice little back heel on the edge of the area for Rees to run onto but their keeper got there first. Best chance came at the end of the half when a nice passing move was rewarded with a corner. Wright got on the end of it but his shot was palmed away by their keeper but straight to MacDonald mid way in the area and his firmly hit shot was well saved by the feet of their keeper but placement could have been better perhaps?
Second Half was more of the same with Blissett failing to get his head onto a cross early on at the far post with the net gaping! There were other half chances but as we pushed forward in the latter stages of the match, Eastleigh missed at least two excellent chances that should have been put away but would not have been a fair reflection of the play. Good to see Young make his home debut this season and we really need him to get up to speed quick.
So unable to keep both our run going and ascension up the table this Easter but dead and buried we are not, however, taking our chances needs to happen to give us a chance...