However, Knill's men went on to suffer their third consecutive loss, as Paris Cowan-Hall netted a brace to turn the game in the hosts' favour after the break.
"All we said was: 'In the second half, play forward.' And we didn't do that," Knill told reporters. "We didn't do what we did in the first half.
"If you give them space to play in, they will. If you compact that space, they can't. We did that first half and played down the sides of them and for the start of the second half we just played backwards.
"All we wanted to do was make them defend, not us. So it's really tough to take."
Torquay now sit 22nd in the League Two table, just one point above the relegation zone.