Danny Coles: Derby game offered plenty of positives despite a poor result
AS I write this, 24 hours after the final whistle, I still can't quite believe we didn't get anything from the Torquay game.
If we were a bit unlucky not to win at Plainmoor a fortnight ago, we were even more hard done by not to get a point on Monday.
Don't get me wrong, the Gulls came with a game plan and executed it to perfection but, that aside, we dominated the game from start to finish – a point was, I thought, the very least we deserved.
While we've no real complaints with the 17th-minute penalty, which was tucked away by Rene Howe, it was just about the only clear goalscoring opportunity the visitors had all evening.
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On the other hand, we had umpteen good chances but, due in no small part to an inspired performance by Michael Poke in the Torquay goal, just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net.
While I am sure there will be those who disagree, in spite of the result, I thought we played pretty well and there are plenty of positives we can take into our next game. We looked solid at the back, we dominated possession, Mark Molesley made a pretty assured debut, and we created plenty of chances – especially in the second half, when Jamie Cureton made a welcome return from his three-match suspension and Guillem Bauza showed glimpses of something like his best form.
At the same time, there are things we know we can improve on.
Tis has spoken on several occasions now about our tendency to be a little too impatient when things aren't going quite to plan and that's something we're working hard to overcome.
What's more, while a fierce wind didn't help, I'd have liked to have seen us work their keeper rather more than we did from the 15 or 16 corners we won.
As you're probably aware, Curo's appearance against Torquay was the 700th of a long and distinguished career. It's a remarkable achievement and it's only a shame he wasn't able to mark the occasion with a goal in front of the Sky cameras.
That said, he came close on a couple of occasions, most notably at the death when it took a fantastic stop from the Gulls keeper to prevent him getting his name on the scoresheet.
Jamie's a great pro who knows how to looks after himself, and I can't see him retiring any time soon. He's got 220-odd career League goals and I've little doubt he'll be well past the 250 mark before he hangs up his boots.
I'm honoured to have played alongside him and to be able to count him as a friend.
While I was gutted not to win on Monday, I couldn't help but smile when I arrived home for my wife Jordaine to tell me how our young daughter had shown absolutely no interest in watching yours truly in action.
As the game was about to begin, she'd asked Phoenix, who is two and a half, if she'd like to see her daddy on the telly. Rather disappointingly she let it be known that she'd far rather watch Coronation Street. With the benefit of hindsight, I guess you could argue she was demonstrating wisdom beyond her years.
The deadline for last week's column meant I missed the opportunity to talk about Bradford's heroics in reaching the Capital One Cup Final, but I make no excuse for mentioning them now.
It's an astonishing achievement for a League Two team to reach the final of a major cup competition.
All the more so when you consider that Phil Parkinson's side haven't been blessed with an especially favourable draw and have had to overcome three Premier League teams (Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa) en route to Wembley.
I've watched all of those games and, I think it's fair to say, there's been no fluke about Bradford's victories and they thoroughly deserve to be where they are.
I played with their goalkeeper Matt Duke and midfielder Nathan Doyle when I was at Hull and, while their opponents in the final Swansea are a great team to watch, I'd love to see Bradford go on and lift the trophy.
Having slipped up against Torquay, it's imperative we get back to winning ways when Aldershot visit on Saturday and, with that in mind, I'd implore you to get along to the Park and give us your support if you possibly can.
Dean Holdsworth's side are struggling near the foot of League Two, but they pushed Middlesbrough all the way in the FA Cup fourth round at the weekend so you can rest assured we won't be taking anything for granted. All the more so as it's honours even between us and the Shots so far this season; we beat them at their place back in August but they dumped us out the JP Trophy the following month. Let's hope that come 5pm on Saturday it's Exeter who are back in the ascendancy!