Torquay United boss Alan Knill praised on-loan Derby County striker Callum Ball following the Gulls’ first home League Two win of the season, 4-2 over Cheltenham Town.
Knill said on Saturday: “All week we have been working on getting Callum in the box, and if he gets in the box we know he can finish. He did that today and it will be a massive boost to his confidence.”
Knill – who reintroduced Thomas Cruise at left-back for stalwart Kevin Nicholson – decided to keep faith with a front two of Ball and summer signing Karl Hawley, flanked by another summer import, Jordan Chapell, and Wales Under-21 winger Billy Bodin.
The scoresheet said it all at the close, with Ball claiming two goals, Hawley his second of the season, and former Sheffield United winger Chapell his fourth to maintain his place as Torquay’s top scorer.
Knill admitted: “I said to their coaching staff at half-time that it could be four-all. In the first half it looked like they could score but we could score, because it was so open. At the same time, if you want to play expansive football and want to score goals, sometimes you have to risk that.
“I have got to say I’m absolutely delighted with the players because they worked so hard for these three points and we just said in the changing room: ‘That’s how hard you have to work every week if you want to be successful’.
“I’ve got to say as a manager I enjoyed it and we will take it, a great performance by everybody. We will enjoy it tonight but then we move on, put this behind us and prepare for Newport [next Saturday].”
As for his free-scoring three forwards, Knill expressed further delight.
The Gulls boss said: “Strikers are judged outside of the football club by how many goals they score. Sometimes inside they do a lot more than they are given credit for, but everybody looks at: ‘Does he score a goal?’
“All week we have been working with all the players on shooting, crossing, getting into the box and being brave. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have scored goals today.”
Frustrated Cheltenham boss Mark Yates was critical of his side. He said: “We started the game poorly and to concede after two minutes was disappointing, and then again in first-half stoppage time. Then we conceded a couple of minutes after half-time and it’s effectively game over.
“We were poor today. There were too many mistakes, too many non-performances from players who performed last week against Oxford.
“If you come away from home and don’t get performances from eight or nine players, you lose, and that happened to us today.
“We are not in a great run of form, granted, and the performance wasn’t good enough. I have to correct it and stop the stupid mistakes. We’ll work again.
“There is a reason for it, so we have to work at it and we will. We have to keep believing, change one or two personnel and find a winning blend. We came up short after two better performances at home.
“We want consistency, but we gifted them a goal and it’s mistake after mistake at the moment.
“To concede in the 47th minute of the first half was not a good thing to happen at all.
“We have to work together, we have players coming back from injuries and we have to keep doing better than we have been.”