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How Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm used Torquay boss Gary Johnson's comments in his FA Trophy team-talk

Steve McKimm “sowed the seed” after rival boss Gary Johnson’s comments about Tonbridge - and his players responded to beat Torquay in the FA Trophy.

Johnson’s “if we can find out where it is” line came back to bite him as goals from Joe Turner and Ibrahim Olutade earned Angels a 2-1 win over their National League opponents.

Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm Picture: Dave Couldridge
Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm Picture: Dave Couldridge

McKimm brought up Johnson’s interview in his team-talk and the players did the rest, to secure a place in Monday lunchtime’s fourth-round draw.

“I said it, yes, but I said it once and that was it,” said McKimm.

“There was no need for me to go overboard because the players heard it as well. They did what they had to do.

“So whatever you say to them, whatever stuff has gone on against them, all you’ve got to do is just get out on the field and play.

“Words mean nothing, words are cheap, so the boys had to go on the field and put in a performance against a very good side.

“You sow a seed and it’s up to the players how they take it, whether they’re on the front foot, whether they want to get the win to rub people’s faces in it, but I’m not like that.

“At the end of the day it’s a game of football so whatever people say during the game, in the dugout, or before or after the game, it means nothing because it’s what happens on the pitch and the boys were superb today.

“We were good but they’re a good side so we can’t take teams like that lightly.

“Little, the No.10, he ran the game in the first half-hour but he’s expected to, because he’s a quality player.

“Then all of a sudden we got a grip of it, they changed their system, we got a grip of it and he made a couple of things in the second half, but he didn’t hurt us as much with his passing, with his runs, so the boys stuck to their task and I’m really proud of them.

“You’ve got to adapt and the players did adapt.

"We told them before the game because we’re low on numbers we may have to change a few things about and you may have to play somewhere you don’t want but do it for the team and they did it and I’m really pleased for them.”

Tonbridge Angels striker Ibrahim Olutade Picture: Dave Couldridge
Tonbridge Angels striker Ibrahim Olutade Picture: Dave Couldridge

Johnson was gracious in defeat, saying Tonbridge deserved their victory which came courtesy of substitute Olutade’s 86th-minute strike.

Olutade had only been on the pitch three minutes when he pounced on a mistake by Gulls keeper Mark Halstead.

McKimm had gone with Tommy Wood and Turner up top, naming Olutade and Jake Embery on the bench.

Both calls paid off with Turner, a winger by trade, effective as a central striker, and Olutade delivering the winner.

“Listen, we’ve had a few issues with strikers not scoring,” said McKimm.

“Joe Turner’s gone down the middle and started scoring, Joe likes to go down the middle, Joe can play anywhere, but it’s a great ball from Tom Beere from the free-kick.

“If that ball isn’t spot on from Beero we don’t score that goal, if Joe doesn’t make the run that we work on in training, he doesn’t score that goal.

“We decided with Torquay’s height we’d go with Woody and Joe and it worked.

“It doesn’t always work, but it did today, and then when Ibz was coming on I said go and be a matchwinner.

“We felt we could get down the side of them with Ibz’s pace, he went on and worked his absolute socks off and got the winner I asked him to get.

“It doesn’t always work like that but he’s done it and I’m so pleased for him.”

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