HOTEL FLOOD BUT GULLS CHECK-OUT A VITAL WIN
Bodin’s on form despite drama
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