Harrogate Town 2 Torquay United 1: We made hard work of it, admits Lloyd Kerry
Lloyd Kerry said he was happy to make a winning return to action, but conceded that Harrogate Town made hard work of seeing off Torquay United.
The 31-year-old ex-Sheffield United midfielder made his first National League appearance in almost four months as Simon Weaver's team eased into a 2-0 lead at the CNG Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
However, despite appearing to be in complete control of proceedings, Town had to endure an uncomfortable last 20 minutes after giving away a penalty and letting their visitors back into the game.
"That last 20 minutes was harder than it should have been," reflected Kerry, who left the field on a stretcher the last time he featured in a league game, at Woking on August 10.
"When we were 2-0 up we had corner after corner and I thought we were gonna get another one.
"Whenever it's 2-0 you're still quite vulnerable and obviously we gave the penalty away and made it a little bit difficult for ourselves.
"I think we were panicking a little bit instead of taking a touch and moving the ball, but we put bodies on the line, defended in numbers and limited them to not many chances.
"I was on at the back-four to keep a high line, and saying don't keep dropping and invite pressure.
"When they [Torquay] are chasing the game they're gonna thrown men forward, but I can't remember Belly [James Belshaw] having to make too many saves and luckily enough we held out for three points."
Having missed a good chunk of the first half of the 2019/20 season due to an ankle injury sustained during Town's 1-0 defeat to Woking, Kerry admitted he was delighted to return to action.
Finishing up with all three points was the icing on the cake.
"It was great to be back, it's four months on from my last 90 minutes. It felt nice to be back involved and I was delighted to get the three points," he added.
"I landed on a lot of second balls and kept it simple, I thought I did my job well, but there's still a lot more to come. I'll get fitter with each game, but I was delighted to get through 90 minutes.
"I'm naturally fit anyway, but I've been working hard in training, doing extra running.
"I had to add a bit more bite with Warren [Burrell] missing. You need to challenge the first ball, then if you don't win that you've got to drop onto the second ball.
"That's my role, doing it simple and getting the ball out to the players who can hurt teams."