Truro City suffer late heartbreak but Lee Hodges maintains his survival belief
Truro City player manager Lee Hodges is more confident than ever about his side's bid to avoid relegation from Blue Square Bet South despite Saturday's 4-3 defeat at second-placed Welling United.
Basement side City led 3-1 until the 62nd minute, when 39-year-old Hodges was controversially dismissed for the first time in his playing career. Welling scored from the subsequent spot kick, which kick-started United's revival.
Hodges said: "Obviously it's such a shame about the result, but the boys were brilliant.
"It has given me renewed hope that we may be able to avoid the drop. If we can perform to those levels, then I think we can get out of it.
"All I would say – before people get too carried away – is that every game is different and, even if you play well, like we have done so many times this season, like we did at Welling, the result does not always go your way.
"There is no doubt in my mind, however, that the referee's decision to send me off was the turning point of the game.
"We were cruising up until then. Forget where we are in the table and where they are, and how everyone thought we would get run over up there. We were on our way to winning the game, and deservedly so."
Hodges will wait to see a DVD of the game before deciding whether to appeal against his 62nd-minute red card, awarded for a foul on Ross Lafayette amid a goalmouth scramble.
The City chief stuck with his pre-match plan to "match up with Welling" but explained: "We went positive, 4-3-3, but they didn't and they scored so I went back to 4-4-2 and after that we just took control.
"Kieffer Moore and Andy Watkins tore them to shreds. The pair of them were outstanding, I can't praise them highly enough."
Moore cancelled out Loui Fazakerley's opener with a superb strike on 26 minutes and within six more minutes City were cruising at 3-1.
Watkins made it 2-1 in the 27th minute after combining with Moore, who doubled his tally in the 32nd minute as City rocked their promotion-chasing hosts on their heels.
Hodges said: "We were flying, I was so proud of the lads. No-one could have predicted we would walk into that changing room 3-1 up and in total control at half-time.
"And we were on top in the first 15 minutes of the second half as well, but the referee's decision has cost us."
Welling midfielder Joe Healy made it 3-2 from the penalty, Lafayette levelled on 83 minutes before Anthony Acheampong's late stoppage-time winner .
With time to reflect, post-match, Hodges added: "We have got Billericay at home on Saturday – and if we play like that again there can only be one winner."