Gulls players told to rest up and refocus after home defeat

Goal celebrations for Kyle Cameron of Torquay United during the National League match between Torqua

Goal celebrations for Kyle Cameron during the match between Torquay United and Altrincham at Plainmoor on Tuesday - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson slammed his National League leaders for their 2-1 home defeat to Altrincham – and then gave them an extra day off!

The Gulls missed a big chance to move 12 points clear if they had won.

Johnson said: “We looked leggy, and mentally and physically a long way below par.

“We’re still top of the league, and we mustn’t forget that. But we mustn’t forget this game, because it could be a kick up the backside for us.”

Then Johnson, whose squad has played 25 games in just over 17 weeks, added: “I’ve had it before, where a good team is flying and, all of a sudden, you get a game where you think ‘This could demoralise our season’.

“I won’t let that happen. I’ve told the lads to stay away from me and the club for a couple of days - they need to rest up and refocus before we travel on Friday.”

Altrincham (4th) had already hit the bar before United, who started Tuesday’s match without a recognised striker, took the lead with a scrambled goal by centre-back Kyle Cameron (22mins).

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Cameron both ‘assisted’ and scored it – his set-piece header hit a defender, his next effort was blocked, but he hooked the loose ball over the line lying on his back.

But by half-time the visitors hit back through Josh Hancock’s 33rd minute penalty, after he had been barged over by Sam Sherring, and a 20-yard curler by sub Ryan Colclough (45).

Johnson made all his three substitutions in the space of four minutes (60-64) as 4-5-1 became 4-4-2 with strikers Rob Street and Billy Waters on up front and Jake Andrews into midfield.

But instead of bombarding the Alty goal, before or after the 85th minute dismissal of their captain Jake Moult, United needed the save of the game by Shaun MacDonald to stop Matty Kosylo making it 3-1.

Saturday’s FA Trophy fifth round tie at Southport might be a useful break from the growing pressures at the top of the league.

For full match report and stats, go to www.torbayweekly.co.uk