Bodin’s on form de­spite drama

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Ash­ley Birch To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

EVEN a flooded ho­tel and a dis­turbed night’s sleep could not up­set Torquay, and boss Chris Hargreaves be­lieves his side are now in great shape to push away from the rel­e­ga­tion places.

The Gulls had Billy Bodin to thank as his first-half strike proved the dif­fer­ence at Frat­ton Park.

Bodin pow­ered in his first of the sea­son with 27 min­utes on the clock and de­spite a late bar­rage by Portsmouth the hosts could not break through.

Leav­ing Hargreaves to heap praise on his side’s char­ac­ter af­ter a less than ideal build up.

“Th­ese play­ers were up from 2am to 5am this morn­ing, had to change ho­tels and not many groups of play­ers would then pro­duce a per­for­mance like that,” he said.

“Some play­ers would use ev­ery ex­cuse un­der the sun af­ter be­ing dragged out their beds with no pos­ses­sions and hardly any clothes – it’s just fan­tas­tic for me as a man­ager.

“The fire alarm went off at quar­ter to two and we spent three hours wait­ing in re­cep­tion be­cause the rooms were flooded as a wa­ter stor­age unit had col­lapsed and we had to com­pletely evac­u­ate.

“It was a good vic­tory at a tough place to come and I think first half we played re­ally well, scor­ing a good goal but as we ex­pected in the sec­ond, we came un­der a lot of pres­sure.

“Al­though you have to per­form like that when you’re down the bot­tom in the league, you have to throw bod­ies on the line and de­liver heroic per­for­mances.

“It’s not go­ing to be easy be­cause we’re fight­ing for the same things but we’re look­ing for­ward to it.

“You don’t seem to climb very quickly when you’re down the bot­tom so you have to win games and we know what we’re up against.”

The first chance fell to on-loan Bournemouth striker, Jayden Stock­ley, who brought a good save from Trevor Car­son.

The home side was al­most able to test Michael Poke mo­ments later but both Ryan Tay­lor and Jake Jervis had their ef­forts blocked by des­per­ate Torquay de­fend­ing.

Gulls cap­tain Joss Labadie then weaved his way to the by­line in the 27th minute and pulled the ball back to an un­marked Bodin to power past Car­son for his first of the sea­son.

The ball fell kindly for Ricky Holmes just be­fore half time but yet again his pow­er­ful drive was blocked be­fore reach­ing Poke – who hadn’t made a save all half.

Portsmouth showed more in­tent in the sec­ond half, though en­cour­ag­ing runs and crosses from first Daniel Alfei and then Holmes, both re­sulted in noth­ing.

But it took 85 min­utes for Pom­pey to muster a shot on tar­get though Wes Fog­den’s ef­fort was tame.

A late penalty ap­peal was waved away af­ter Pa­trick Agye­mang’s cross hit Kevin Nicholson’s arm to add fur­ther frus­tra­tion among the Frat­ton Park faith­ful.

“It was a game of two halves, in the sec­ond half I was pleased with what we did but the first half was a waste of 45 min­utes,” said Barker.

“We weren’t at the races so it’s a dis­ap­point­ing end to a good week and we’ve made what could have been an ex­cel­lent one, a very av­er­age one.

“We said we wanted to make Frat­ton Park a dif­fi­cult place to come but un­for­tu­nately we haven’t done that.

“For the last half an hour though, I bet if you ask them they'd say it was a dif­fi­cult place to be – but we just didn’t do enough.

“We’ve un­rav­eled a lot of hard work that we’ve done.”


WHAT A GULL: Billy Bodin, far right, cel­e­brates his win­ner STAR MAN BILLY BODIN Torqua


CLOSE: Joss Labadie shoots

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