Lee Hodges proud of Truro City's showing but rues a lapse in concentration
Truro City player-manager Lee Hodges could not believe his side lost 1-0 at Eastbourne Borough in Blue Square Bet South on Saturday.
Fit-again Hodges, 39, started alongside his captain Jake Ash in central defence against Boro instead of youngster Calrone Hall.
City's boss knew the Tigers' defence would be in for a busy afternoon against Eastbourne's experienced on-loan Sutton United striker Kezie Ibe, the former Yeovil Town and Exeter City striker.
However, in the end it was a 56th-minute set-piece goal from home central defender Ollie Rowe that undid all of Truro's good work at Langney Sports Club.
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Former Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United man Hodges – making his first start since being ruled out by a hamstring injury last month – said: "I saw that Ibe was playing and they had another useful lad up front and, admittedly, for the first ten or 15 minutes they gave Ashy and myself plenty to think about.
"But after a while we started to get into the game as a team and the match evened out. We had as much of the rest of the first half play as they did."
Striker Andy Watkins, who has been on a rich scoring streak for the Cornishmen, looked to have put City ahead when he lobbed home goalkeeper Craig Ross, but the ball flew just over the crossbar.
Hodges said: "Watto was having a great game and beat the 'keeper, who then ran into him.
"I thought we should have had a penalty for the 'keeper bringing him down, even though the ball had gone.
"In fairness to Eastbourne, they have hit the crossbar but at half-time it was 0-0 which was about right, but the second half was a completely different story.
"We forced 17 corners and totally dominated. It was wave after wave of attacks from us.
"Kieffer Moore had his best game for us up front. He was strong, held the ball up well and worked well with Watto, who was superb. It was the best they have played together, as a strike partnership."
Hodges also reserved special praise for teenage central midfielder Cody Cooke, 19.
The City boss said: "As with Kieffer, I thought it was the best Cody has played for us since he has been at the club. He worked tirelessly and didn't deserve to be on the losing side.
"At the end of the day, switching off for a second and not picking up a man at a set-piece has cost us.
"I told the boys after the game we have to get stronger in defence because too many times we are playing well and getting nothing for it. We deserved better."
Former Plymouth goalkeeper Luke McCormick made his second appearance for Truro, who have another away game to contend with at Eastleigh tomorrow.
McCormick made his debut for the Cornish club in the previous weekend's 3-2 FA Carlsberg Trophy defeat at Farnborough as a replacement for the injured Tim Sandercombe, who failed to complete City's 3-2 BSBS home win over Hornchurch at the start of the month, after hurting a knee.
Sandercombe, a former Argyle and Queen's Park Rangers youngster, said last Thursday that he expected to be fit to play next week after making good progress in his recovery from the injury, but his hopes of making a rapid return to Truro's first-team squad were dashed the following day.
Sandercombe, 23, who has had spells with Notts County, Stafford Rangers, Mansfield Town, Weymouth and Worcester City since leaving Home Park, took to Twitter to reveal: "I am no longer a Truro City player. Now officially redundant." Truro have not yet made any comment about Sandercombe's departure from Treyew Road.
Elsewhere in Blue Square Bet South on Saturday, Dorchester Town fought back after falling behind at Maidenhead United to win 2-1 with strikes from Ben Watson and an own goal. Weston-super-Mare drew 2-2 at home to Havant and Waterlooville. Ashley Kington and Chas Hemmings were on target for the Somerset side.