Martin Ling thrilled with progress of Nathan Craig as Welshman shows range for Torquay United
Torquay United manager Martin Ling believes that midfielder Nathan Craig is starting to take on the mantle left behind by Eunan O'Kane when the Ulsterman left for AFC Bournemouth for £175,000 in the summer.
Craig – like O'Kane, he was schooled at Everton's Academy before being released at Goodison Park – had a hand in two of Torquay United's goals in their 3-1 defeat of Accrington Stanley.
Ling eventually took him off with 15 minutes to go, but he said: "On the ball, we haven't got a better passer at the club.
"His left foot is magical at times. Although he's happy out wide, he's playing in the middle now, a bit like Eunan O'Kane used to do, and you've got to say that Nathan is starting to do a similar job for us there.
Holiday Home FOR SALE in Brixham, South Devon £2500 OFF any Regal...View details
Holiday Home FOR SALE IN BRIXHAM WITH SEA VIEWS over looking St. Mary's Bay beach. Come and take a look today. ONE WEEK ONLY. Facilities on site. Pools, Ents, Club, Shop. Quiet park with stunning area
Terms: Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or with a P/X on park. Come and take a look today and own your own part of South Devon. For allot less than you can imagine!! Letting permitted
Contact: 01803 220485
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"But if you're going to go right to the top – and I think Nathan might do it – you've got to add the defensive side to your game as well.
"Nathan takes it all on board, I've no worries about that."
Ling went on: "It was a thoroughly deserved three points. I really didn't get a good view of the penalty, but Rene [Howe] is coolness personified – I thought he was awesome, along with Lee Mansell.
"We should have won by a lot more – I think I counted six one-on-ones and we missed the lot.
"We practice those situations every Monday morning, but it's like practising penalties – you can never really recreate the pressure of doing it in games. If you miss those sort of chances and you haven't won as many games as you want, it does prey on your mind, and you could smell their equaliser coming.
"I could hear one or two of our supporters saying that, and I agreed with them. But we instantly replied – Nathan put a great ball in and Billy Bodin scored with a header which is a rarity in itself – and then Manse [Lee Mansell] finally got his goal from his old friend Nico [Kevin Nicholson]."
Accrington boss Paul Cook was not a happy man. "We never turned up. We let ourselves and our supporters down. We were awful," he said.
"We never got going. We never showed any desire or hunger to win the football game, and we are continuing to make the same mistakes.
"Ian Dunbavin has had to make two or three tremendous saves to keep us in the game. Torquay were far superior to us. They looked a constant threat."