A DEVON derby under the floodlights proved to be the ideal occasion for United to rediscover the tempo and quality that will make us competitive in this division.
After a difficult run of three defeats, the Gulls welcomed Plymouth Argyle to Plainmoor on Tuesday night and immediately set about attacking our Green friends from up the road.
Elliot Benyon scored early but a dubious penalty decision minutes later would eventually earn the Pilgrims a draw, although both sides had chances to win an enthralling encounter.
‘’It was a really good game, a real good derby and both sets of supporters got behind their team,’’ said United manager Alan Knill.
‘’I enjoyed the game and a proper derby. We feel we could have won it and Plymouth will feel the same, but I was just pleased with the way my players set about it.
‘’We have come off the back of three bad results and we needed a good performance. If we play with commitment and passion and tempo, we can compete in the league, and that’s what we need consistently.
‘’We were 1-0 up and then give away a dubious penalty, but we still took the game forward. In the first-half, we were very good and could have come in a couple of goals ahead.
‘’It was a big test for us because the other games when we’ve conceded, we’ve find it tough. Last night, we responded really well and it helps when the crowd get right behind the team.’’
Despite his enthusiasm for the performance of his team, Alan accepted the penalty decision was a pivotal moment, as referee Roger East judged a Nathan Craig handball when charging down a free-kick.
It was a major setback so soon after taking the lead but the way we responded, and the positive intent maintained throughout was a huge boost.
‘’The penalty decision was a difficult one to make,’’ said Alan. ‘’I thought Nathan had charged the ball and it’s hit him on the back more than anything. You see them given and see them not given.
‘’We later had a shot blocked in similar circumstances but nothing given. The referee made the penalty decision but I was so pleased with the way we reacted. We didn’t sulk or moan, and played really well.
‘’We played on the front-foot. We were first to the ball and set about the opposition, played in their half and made them defend. In between that, there was some good football.
‘’It was a good game that could have gone either way and we need points. We played well at Accrington on Saturday and didn’t have the rub of the green, and again yesterday.’’