Torquay United boss Alan Knill has decisions to make in defence
Torquay United manager Alan Knill will have to come up with yet another defensive reshuffle at Burton Albion on Tuesday night, after the second-half dismissal of centre-back Krystian Pearce in Saturday’s 0-0 League Two draw with Mansfield Town.
However, the Gulls’ boss did not allow that worry to spoil the bonus of the hard-earned point which ended a run of three defeats.
“Definitely a point gained, and it would probably have been three if we keep eleven men on the pitch,” said Knill.
“We needed to put on a performance after the last home game [when United lost 3-0 to York City], and there were lots of plusses.
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“We’d conceded eight goals in three games, so it was a fantastic clean-sheet.
“We know it’s only a point, although it feels a bit like a win, and if we work as hard as that again, and keep doing it, the results will come.
“I thought the [Plainmoor] crowd were good. They got behind us, and if you give big effort like we did, they will do that.”
Knill added: “I thought everyone put in a real shift. I don’t really like picking individuals out, but I thought young Jak McCourt was really good – he’s only 18, but he was trying to drive us on at the end of the game.
“Anthony O’Connor and Ade Azeez have added something to the squad, and I thought both our full-backs, Dale Tonge and Kevin Nicholson, were good too.”
Knill had “no arguments” about Pearce’s 69th-minute sending-off – “It’s a moment’s lapse in concentration, and he and we have paid for it,” he said, adding that centre-back Aaron Downes and midfielder Ben Harding will be back from injuries much quicker than first expected, but probably not in time for Tuesday’s trip to the Pirelli Stadium.
Mansfield manager Paul Cox said: “The lads are a bit down, because we ground out the first 60 minutes, and then they had a man sent off.
“We did all we could – we put two wingers on and two centre-forwards and we tried to be positive.
“There were a few that flashed across the area that we missed by the far post, and we couldn’t get that final tap-in.
“We couldn’t have done any more, apart from being a bit more patient against ten men and taking your chances when they arrive.
“We have not got any divine right to come to anywhere and expect to win.
“It’s a decent point away from home, and a clean-sheet, but we could have done a little bit better.
“We have come away to a hard place to get a result, and we have kept a clean-sheet. In the end we were a bit unlucky not to win it, but you have to put those chances away.”