Torquay United head coach Gary Owers cut a frustrated figure after he saw his side fall to a 4-0 home defeat to Maidstone in the first round of the FA Trophy.

United made it all too easy for their opponents on the day, conceding three goals from set pieces. Speaking after the defeat, Owers shouldered the blame for the defeat. “Pretty pathetic show from my team,” said the Gulls boss.

“I’m the one who’s responsible so blame me. We’ve had a settled team and we’ve been competitive but some of those lads are going to be going back and I wanted to give other players an opportunity to show me why they’re here and clearly some of them didn’t and the outcome was horrific for us.

“I’ve told them how I feel and they know how much I care about the situation we’re in here. We’ve been here 14 weeks and we’ve had the favour of the fans support and I appreciate that but we’ve lost some of that today. They’ve gone away unhappy, critical of me and the team and that’s fair enough.

After a brief upturn in form in the league that saw United keep three consecutive clean sheets, Owers could not hide his frustration when quizzed about the Maidstone goals.

“It’s hard work for us to score a goal and the goals that go in at the other end are just simple. It’s pretty simple stuff and we didn’t get the basics right today at any stage of the game.”

United were forced to play for more than 30 minutes with just 10 men after Jazzie Barnum-Bobb received a straight red card for a high tackle on Reece Prestedge.

“From where I was, he [Barnum-Bobb] took off and if you take off now and have both feet off the floor you run that risk and he’s paid the penalty.

“We tried to keep two up front with three in midfield but the game was lost and it could have been any score at the end unfortunately for us.”

Due to the midweek game against Gateshead being brought forward United are now not in action until Boxing Day, but Owers says he will be demanding a lot from his squad over the next couple of weeks.

“It’s going to be work. The timing is not good for the players because they’re going to have to make sacrifices now, I need all their efforts concentrated on trying to get a result or a couple of results over the Christmas period against Eastleigh.

Story by Ryan Darby