Trips like this make you wonder if it's all worthwhile
THESE are the nights when it's hard to be a Gulls fan. The nights when you seriously question your own sanity. The nights when you wonder whether it's worth all the time and effort.
Tuesday was our sixth trip to Burton's Pirelli Stadium, and in the past we've had a pretty good record there, having seen three wins, one draw and a defeat.
But this felt altogether different, and was hard to see anything other than a home win considering the respective form of the two sides.
To that extent, it seemed a somewhat lost cause, but it was oddly enjoyable travelling to a game with – for once – no worries, nerves or anticipation, and the miles seem to fly by as we headed through the rush hour, up the motorway, and into Staffordshire.
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There's something very atmospheric about night games, and as we parked up and make our way towards the glowing floodlights in the distance, the pre-match excitement started to build.
It seems to be cold in Burton all-year-round, and a cup of tea was the first priority, before heading out on to the terraced away end to get our first glimpse of the men in yellow.
It's a depleted away following, and those there are similarly fearing the worst.
With ex-Gulls Billy Kee and Rene Howe in the home side's numbers (although the latter didn't even make the Brewers' squad), players who the Yellow Army have seen score 40 Gulls goals between them, it seems inevitable one or both will score.
In Paul McCallum and Damien Mozika, there are two new signings in the Torquay ranks, and it was exciting to watch them warm up.
The more entertaining warm-up, however, comes from the linesman, who sprints up and down the touchline in front of the main stand, and then stops to wave an imaginary flag for an offside or foul with deadly seriousness.
A lively and competitive first half was just about shaded by the home team who hit the post on the stroke of half time.
But there can be no complaints about losing to two goals in a second half where the Gulls manage to properly test the opposition keeper only once.
It's a really poor performance, and that's being kind, although there is some great gallows humour from the Torquay faithful who, up until the second goal goes in, are making great noise for numbers so few, and really getting behind the team.
As Jordan Chapell comes on, a Gull with a foghorn voice yells out across the pitch: "Alan, this sub feels like a win!".
Full time comes, and we shuffle off in to the night with so very few applauding at the end – which perhaps tells its own story – and, as is customary, I get back to the car giving serious thought to never attending another Torquay match ever again.
But as I step in to the house several hours later after thinking about the game non-stop through the endless diversions and roadworks, I'm already planning the next trip.
They can lose as many games as they want, but they won't lose us.
By JOHN CADIGAN @johncadigan