Gary Johnson reacts to Maidenhead win

Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United celebrates in the direction of the travelling Torquay United

Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United celebrates in the direction of the travelling Torquay United supporters following the Vanarama National League match between Maidenhead United and Torquay United at York Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire on Saturday 4th September 2021 | Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK - Credit: James Fearn/PPAUK

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson said he had to take his captain Asa Hall off midway through Maidenhead United's second-half fightback at York Road, to avoid going down to ten men for a third time in the first four matches of the season. 

Hall had been booked in the third minute, before Armani Little (2), Hall himself and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans put United 4-0 up by half-time and appeared to have set up an even bigger win. 

They eventually won 4-3 for their first win of the National League season, holding on after Maidenhead cut the deficit to one goal with 24 minutes and eight more of stoppage-time to go. 

"I didn't want to bring Asa off, but the referee had told him 'One more late tackle and you're off'," said Johnson. 

"I didn't want to go down to ten men again. It enabled us to see it through with eleven men - with ten, it might have been a different story." 

Johnson added: "I didn't think we started very well. Their direct play got them quite a lot of corners and throw-ins, which were as good as a corner.  We weren't in their half as much as they were in ours. 

"When we started passing it and getting combinations going, then we looked a threat." 

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Of the second half, he went on: "We didn't keep the ball well enough in their half. 

"They do play a very direct game, they keep getting the ball in your box, they play the percentages and they have some big, athletic lads - that's why they've made a decent start to the season. 

"This is a difficult place to come - we got our four goals down the slope, and they got their three goals down the slope. 

"We all would have been disappointed if it had ended up with an equaliser. 

"But our Yellow Arm did stick with us, and we knew if we could keep the ball in the corner where our fans were, we could see the game out."