Speaking on the back of the opening day 0-0 draw, Torquay United player-manager Kevin Nicholson told the local press that he was pleased with the attitude shown by his players against Tranmere Rovers.
United kicked off the new campaign with a goalless draw at Plainmoor, in what was a feisty affair that saw the visitors end the game with nine men.
“I think what we didn’t do well today was all from a good place,” Nicholson explained. “The lads were so up for it and so desperate to do well, that it was hard to balance them. It was hard to get them to properly think clearly.”
The Gulls put in a disciplined performance and were forced to absorb a lot of pressure from Tranmere throughout.
“There was a lot of good stuff out there in terms of passion, desire, commitment, the physicality. Our goalkeeper pulled off a couple of good saves when it was needed, but overall they’ve not really opened us up.
“They’re a good side, there’s no two ways about it. They look like a well-oiled machine already, but a lot of those guys have been together for quite a long time, so you’d expect that, especially with a manager like Micky Mellon. For the most part, we matched them, we got in their faces as best we could. I don’t think we were quite tight enough across the midfield and it allowed them to play their football rather than us playing ours.”
Both Steve McNulty and James Norwood were sent off for Tranmere and despite a frantic ending to the game, it remained goalless.
“I thought when they went down to 10 and nine men, if we weren’t so desperate to do well we would have moved the ball quicker on the floor and kept it away from them. If you look at the last 10 minutes, the lads are so desperate to win it that everyone is just sprinting with the ball in a straight line and trying to get it closer to their goal. I can accept where that is coming from, it’s from all the right places.
“They were nervous today, it was a big first game, a big crowd, a great atmosphere, a great occasion. I think the nerves clouded the judgement a little bit. I’d much rather that than a team going out there and rolling over and getting beaten by a team like Tranmere.
“Now that first game is out the way, with those nerves and everything that goes with it, I think the experience will show.”