GULLS PROMISE SWIFT RETURN
TORQUAY boss Chris Hargreaves urged his side to bounce straight back despite their relegation from the Football League.
The Gulls’ inevitable relegation was confirmed despite their impressive win at Mansfield after other results went against them.
But Hargreaves says he saw enough in the performance to believe his side can return to League football at the first time of asking.
“I am proud of my players, they showed excellent spirit and I have told them to keep that fight in them,” he said.
“Perhaps things have started to click with my players, it is just a little late. Results were always going to be a problem because they were out of our hands.
“I knew things were going to be tough when I came here but I did not see this happening. It is a devastating blow.
“I know that we have got good players at this club and I am confident we can challenge in the Conference.
“I can assure the fans that we will be working very hard to get ourselves back up.
“There will be some player changes next season, above all I want players who care about Torquay.”
Torquay, who were promoted to League Two in May 2009, took the lead when Mansfield defender John Dempster sliced Baily Cargill’s low cross into his own net on 13 minutes.
Ashley Yeoman doubled the Gulls’ lead on 32 minutes with a tap-in after Lewis Price had parried the striker’s close-range header back into his path.
Matt Rhead wasted Mansfield’s best chance on 42 minutes when he headed James Jennings’ corner over the bar.
It got much worse for Rhead, who was named Mansfield’s player of the season ahead of the game, when he was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Dale Tonge a minute later.
But Mansfield gave themselves a lifeline within 40 seconds of the restart when Jennings headed home despite the best efforts of Damon Lathrope to keep the ball out at the back post.
Price tipped a Courtney Cameron effort over the bar on the hour mark before he used his feet well to turn away a fierce effort from Shaquile Coulthirst minutes later.
But it was game over when Coulthirst headed past Price from four yards on 78 minutes.
The defeat left Mansfield boss Paul Cox fuming at the lack of hunger shown by his players.
He said: “I thought we were sloppy from start to finish and to say I am disappointed with the attitude is an understatement.
“Overall we have had a good season, but this defeat shows what we need to do to improve.
“I have got some big decisions to make in the summer about players, some of them will hurt me but that is my job.
“I do not want us to stand still and to improve we have to cut out days like this.
“The desire shown by Torquay was excellent, they showed the desire I expect from my players.”