Two big mistakes cost United

Torbay Weekly

Acknowledging that his side's second-half performance wasn't good enough, manager Gary Johnson still said that Torquay United's 2-1 defeat at Eastleigh was down to a wrong decision by referee Rob Massey-Ellis and a 'horrendous' mistake by goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald.

The Gulls, cheered on by more than 400 travelling fans after Boxing Day's 3-0 home win over Yeovil Town, led at half-time through Armani Little's tenth goal of the season in the 32nd minute at the Silverlake Stadium.

But the Spitfires equalised through a controversial Tom Whelan penalty, after he had gone to ground in a crowded goalmouth, and MacDonald then allowed Tyrone Barnett's header through his hands in the 67th minute.

"We lost the game through two mistakes, one by the referee and one by our goalkeeper," said Johnson.

"I thought it was a good first half. We looked sharp and bright, and scored a fantastic goal.

"We came out in the second half and didn't get going for the first 20 minutes.

"They got a head of steam, we didn't win the firsts (balls) and we didn't win the seconds.

"It was 100% not a penalty - the boys thought that the lad who went down was going to get a yellow card.

"And then you get beat with a horrendous mistake - Shaun is gutted in there. I don't think he saw it until late, but it hit him in the face or the back of the hand and it went in.

"At 2-1 with 20 minutes or so left, it would have taken a lot of energy and a lot of good play to get back into the game, and we didn't have it for whatever reason.

"Our body language helped their body language.

"Unfortunately, maybe some of our lads haven't learned about that yet - you have to make sure that the opposition don't feel that you've lost your energy,"

United were playing 48 hours after the Yeovil derby, while Eastleigh had enjoyed a ten-day break since their last league match.

"We didn't want to give them that excuse," said Johnson.

"That was always a possibility of being a problem, and we tried very hard to get that out of their minds, but obviously your legs sometimes don't listen to your mind.

"People struggle with Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday sometimes, but Sunday-Tuesday is always a difficult one, especially when it's a game like we had against Yeovil.

"But we've now got to do a lot of thinking and a lot of talking, and get our mentality and our physical prowess right for the Huish Park derby."

United play the return league game at Yeovil on Sunday afternoon.