Torquay United player-manager, Kevin Nicholson described Saturday’s second-half as “10 minutes of madness” as the Gulls beat National League high-flyers, Forest Green Rovers on Boxing Day.
Second-half goals from Nathan Blissett, David Fitzpatrick, Sean McGinty and Ben Gerring sealed the victory for Nicholson’s side in what was a dramatic ending at Plainmoor.
“It was madness. To go 3-0 up against such a good side was fantastic. Brendan has pulled off a couple of saves before that and kept us in it. We punished them and then 10 minutes of absolute madness and all of a sudden it’s 3-3.
“When I settle down and my heart stops racing, and the adrenaline goes, what I will look back on is physically and mentally, how fit those boys were to dust themselves down with 15 minutes to go. Forest Green smelt blood, they were on the front foot and ready to go. For my boys to pick themselves up and go again, and go and get the winner is incredible for me.”
Nicholson is backing his side to build upon the result and continue it into the new year.
“It fills me with huge amount of pride, fills me with a huge amount of optimism. We came strong this time last year and I expect us to do it again. I expect us to get fitter and stronger and better.
“I was stood in front of them in there and there is no point in talking tactics or technical stuff like that because they’re all up through the roof. Everyone is all over the place because of the emotional rollercoaster we’ve just been through.
“It was an amazing Boxing Day game after Christmas. I’m glad that there was 2500 people here to come and see it. I will try and dissect it over the next day or two once I’ve calmed down. I have to take away the fact that the lads were so strong.”
Nicholson highlighted the performance of Man of the Match, Blissett, who opened the scoring for the Gulls after poking the ball home from close range on the end of a cross from Dan Sparkes.
“It was a performance from Bliss that we expect, big, strong, never stopped running. He’d gone at the end because he’d done so much. So pleased that he got his goal, another assist, but again, if I went through that team…Sparkes, who got another two assists, was excellent.
Fitzpatrick probably had his best game for us, I thought in the first half he was doing a job and a half with their system. He got his goal, which he deserved. He’s had three or four chances where its not gone in the last few games.
“I think it was an overall team effort and I’m disappointed to concede three goals, any manager would be. I’m proud that the team just kept on going. Verma had his best game all season, I thought he was excellent in there and he played really well off Courtney, they complimented each other very well. I couldn’t point the finger at anyone out there that didn’t do their job and do it well today.”
Giancarlo Gallifuoco was forced off in the second half with a suspected knee injury and Nicholson says the club will have to wait and find out how long they will be without the Australian defender.
“I saw it happen. He obviously slipped, the ball was put in and he stretched, his leg buckled under it. I think it’s on the medial side of his knee so you never know. He’s not the kind of kid that would come off unless it was something that really hurt. However, those things could be a week, it could be more, you just don’t know until it settles down and we’ve had him assessed.
Nicholson wants to find the positives in the situation, with on-loan Millwall defender, Paul Rooney replacing Gallifuoco, in what was his third appearance since joining the club on a temporary basis.
“It gives young Rooney a chance to come on and do what he can do. I’ve just said to him there, the time he spends here, however long it is, will be the best thing that ever happens to him.”