David Coates

It was a dead rubber as the National League South’s bottom side, Dover Athletic, hosted the champions, that’s Yeovil Town, if you didn’t know! And the Glovers signed off the season in style with a 3-1 win at Crabble.

Dave was there to bring the curtain down on the campaign.

Farewell National League South: That’s all, folks! The National League South season is done and we wrapped it up nicely with a bow on it. For a game that meant nothing in terms of league positions to either side it was competitive in flashes with long periods of passing practice in between those flashes for the visiting champions. All respect to Dover, they have a lovely set-up at Crabble (no ‘the’ remember?) and I have no doubt they will be back up the pyramid again soon.

Picture courtesy of Gary Brown

Dylan Morgan could be a gem: If there’s one thing you can draw from yesterday it was that there could be a very handy player growing in Dylan Morgan. Yes, he was playing against a team which had been relegated three weeks previous, but the precision with which he finished his chances yesterday show he could be quite a goal-scoring midfield player. In the same way Jake Wannell has gone from a shaky start to life at Yeovil to a defensive colossus (he’s the Somerset Cannavaro), with the right coaching and no doubt a bit of luck, Morgan could do the same.

Was that goodbye from a few?: It was good to see some players we have not seen much of lately getting a good run out. Josh Owers got the full match, Jake Hyde got half-an-hour and both looked like they were enjoying being out there again. As we discussed on the last podcast, there was a definite feeling that this could have been farewell from a few. Alex Fisher’s wave to the travelling fans looked like goodbye. If I’m not just reading too much in to that, the man will bow out as a true hero – got us over the line and a thoroughly good chap.

This is how I always want to remember Alex Fisher.

An important summer: As Mark Cooper says, now it’s time to see what we are really made of. On the face of it the National League Premier is wide open, as he describes it, but every club in it will be thinking the same thing. What we decide to do this summer will be important, we’ve had a undoubtedly impressive budget on the playing side this season, and that will probably equate to something more middling at a higher level. You get the sense Cooper knows what he wants to do and it’s really down to the economic realities, but I am hopeful we can be competitive next season.

The Crabble burger was everything I remember: Now we are on to the real important stuff, but the Crabble burger was everything I remember it being. And at £4.80, it was a bargain as well. Maybe it could have done with the cheese slices melting for a little longer – but I’ll take it. If you got one, I trust you enjoyed it too.

The Crabble Burger

A first half double from Dylan Morgan sealed a comfortable win for Yeovil Town in the top-versus-bottom clash at Dover Athletic on the final game of the National League South season.

The midfielder netted two almost identical goals in the 16th and 29th minute before a calamitous own goal from Dover keeper Matt Rowley made it 3-0 early in the second half.

There were minutes for both striker Jake Hyde and midfielder Will Dawes, who appeared off the bench after long injury lay-offs, before Luke Baptiste pulled a late consolation goal back for the already relegated home side.

First half

The opening 15 minutes was something of an non-event with the possible exception of an effort from Luke Baptiste in to the the gloves of Joe Day and a Sam Pearson header wide.

But, with 16 minutes gone it was Pearson’s cut back which found Dylan MORGAN who smashed the home side in front.

The 13 minutes which followed could probably be best described as passing practice up until the 29th minute when Alex Fisher cut in from the right, fed the ball through to Dylan MORGAN who doubled his tally with a carbon copy of the first goal.

After that, Pearson warmed the palms of Matt Rowley in the Dover goal after 37 minutes, before George Nikaj hammered a half-decent opportunity over the bar three minutes later for the home side.

But, aside from that, if you had told me this was a pre-season friendly, I would not have argued. 2-0 up in a non-event.

The Crabble Burger

Half time: Dover Athletic 0 Yeovil Town 2


Second half

With five minutes of the second half gone, Jordan Young did what Jordan Young does. Weaved in to the box with great trickery, but then took one touch too many and played the ball back to Rowley.

Rowley repaid his gratitude on 54 minutes when Jay Foulston’s corner saw the keeper pat the ball in to his own net. As own goals go that was as clear an OWN GOAL as you can get – sorry Jay.

Dover keeper Matt Rowley has had a nightmare there.

On 57 minutes, a nice moment as Jake Hyde, not seen since the end of 2023, replaced Alex Fisher, who received a warm round of applause himself.

Just after the hour mark Pearson forced a smart stop out of Rowley before Charlie Cooper and Will Dawes replaced Pearson and Sonny Blu Lo-Everton.

In the away end, it was nothing but a celebration of the end of the most successful season in more than a decade for the club. Even a late consolation goal for BAPTISTE in the final minute of the game could not dampen that spirit.

Champions again, champions again, champions again ole oleeeeeee!

Full time: Dover Athletic 1 Yeovil Town 3

Match Details

Venue: Crabble
Date: Saturday 20th April, 3pm

Competition: National League South

Pitch: Sloped in every which way imaginable, but not in bad nick for the final game of the season.
Conditions: A lovely Spring day


Scorers: Dylan Morgan 16 (1-0), Dylan Morgan 29 (2-0), Matt Rowley o.g. 54 (3-0), Luke Baptiste 90 (3-1).

Yeovil Town: None
Dover Athletic: None

Referee: Charles Martland 


Yeovil Town (4-2-3-1)

Substitutes: Jake Hyde (for Alex Fisher, 57), Will Dawes (for Sonny Blu Lo-Everton, 68), Charlie Cooper (for Sam Pearson, 68), Matt Worthington (not used), Frank Nouble (not used)

So once again we put our trust in a group of people who don’t even appear to know what days of the week the weekend falls on to maintain the soul of the world’s greatest cup competition.

The Football Association and the Premier League have cooked up a deal which stops the likes of Jurgen Klopp whinging that he’s down to his last 75 highly-talented players, and denied generations of football fans yet to come the true magic of the FA Cup.

If you are wondering what I am going on (whinging?) about, it is the decision to cut replays from the FA Cup First Round onwards seemingly without consulting anyone but themselves.

Oh no wait, apparently they did. But presumably the thousands of clubs who reacted in disgust in the 24 hours which followed the latest calamitous decision to come out of the cigar smoke-filled boardrooms these people reside in just did not realise it.

Yeovil Town – like almost everyone else – said they heard about it on Thursday, the same as the rest of us. I know who I believe on that one, and they’re not based at St George’s Park or Wembley.

It’s not about the money, apparently, which is easy to say when you have loads of it, but let’s look beyond even the money. As we spoke about on our latest podcast, what about the memories?

Just think if we hadn’t had the night at Hereford in which literally saved Yeovil Town from financial extinction in 1992? What if we never saw Matty Hayfield’s goal take Cardiff City to the death at Huish Park in 1999? What if Tom Knowles never got a chance to smash that W*ymouth steward in the head with his penalty kick or Grant Smith’s shagger hips in 2021?

Yes, there’s money involved in it the outrage which has followed the decision, but surely the dream of a replay at a Premier League club or taking a higher division club back to your place is what the FA Cup is all about. No doubt the FA will refer to “the magic of the Cup” in the years to come, but this decision proves they would not know that magic is if it punched them in the face.

As Ben said on the pod, who turns on Wolves-Brighton (unless you support either of those clubs, of course) and immediately feels they are in the presence of magic? Give me pampered prima donnas mixing it on a ploughed field of a pitch where they can feel the breath of a supporter when they take a throw-in over that sterile dross any day.

Thankfully it looks like clubs – including Yeovil Town – are ready to take a stand to get a better deal. Can they get replays reinstated? Unlikely, but money may be the only language which the people who have made this decision understand. So take them for every penny you can!

Agree? Then put your name to a petition calling for change: https://t.co/Vwyzjs5vQe


Yeovil Town have confirmed they are ready to act against a decision to axe replays from the FA Cup from the competition’s decision.

The Football Association and the collection of world football’s richest clubs, also known as the Premier League, announced on Thursday they were making sweeping changes to the sport’s most famous cup competition.

In the 24 hours which have followed, clubs up and down the country have hit out at the lack of consultation about the moves – except for with the rich ones, of course. On Friday, the FA issued a statement insisting they did consult and thousands of other clubs and associations just missed it. 

The Glovers confirmed they only learned of the decision on Thursday.

In a statement issued on Friday, the club said: “On 18th April 2024, the Club first learned of the decision to remove the provision of replayed fixtures in the FA Cup.

Yeovil Town Football Club is renowned for its giant-killings in the FA Cup and has a rich history in the competition. Part of the magic of the competition comes from these replays.

FA Cup replays are also of vital financial importance to non-league clubs. The decision appears to have been taken without any consideration for non-league clubs and without consultation, based on the further statement made on April 19.

We are considering what steps to take and will liaise with other clubs as to the appropriate way forward.”

Captain Matt Worthington has said his Yeovil Town team-mates will be looking to maintain their winning mentality when they finish their National League South campaign this weekend.

The champions travel to already relegated Dover Athletic on Saturday knowing that victory will see them reach 95 points and 29 wins for the campaign and, despite the game not having any influence on either side’s season, the skipper is still looking for the win.

Speaking on Thursday, he said: “We have built a winning mentality all season and that is not just something you turn on and off and that has helped us win the league.

So we will be looking to win another game of football. As players you always want to win, it does not matter if you safe, not playing for anything or you are promoted, you still want to win a game of football. That leads on to next season, if you finish on a high, we can all go and enjoy our summer.

He added: “It starts from the training ground and then leads to on a Saturday. A winning mentality has been built up all season and we will be looking to take that in to next season.

Worthy began last weekend’s win over Dartford on the bench.
📸 Gary Brown

Worthington, who started last weekend’s 3-1 home win over Dartford which ended with him lifting the championship trophy on the substitutes’ bench, completed a full training session on Thursday and said he will be available for selection.

Asked about next season back in the National League Premier, the 26-year-old said he believes that the team is capable of pushing towards the top of the league.

He said: “With the team we have got we are capable and if anyone comes in, it strengthens it more. We have got a really good core signed on for next season and there is no reason we cannot be pushing for play-offs and to go again, that is the target for everyone. We have winners in the changing rooms and that will carry on next season.

Looking at the league, it is anyone’s league, there will be lots of teams pushing for those top places and it will hopefully be an exciting season.

He admitted he was looking forward to taking a well-earned break over the summer and said he would begin his personal preparations for the next campaign from the middle of May.

Worthington was speaking on Thursday, a year to the day since Yeovil were relegated out of the National League Premier with a 3-0 defeat at Wrexham, and reflected on the changes at Huish Park since the past year.

He said: “It is crazy how much this club has come on over that year. It has been a fun day back in training today and preparing for Saturday and everyone has been in high spirits. The club has come so far in that year, it is complete change and something everyone is really enjoying.

Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper has said his National League South title-winning squad must evolve if it is going to be competitive next season.

The Glovers finish their campaign with a long trip to already relegated Dover Athletic this weekend with the boss saying it will be “a big jump” back in to the National League Premier next season.

Ebbsfleet United, the team who Cooper’s men replaced as champions, are still not quite safe and could do with something from their final game at fellow strugglers Boreham Wood this weekend, whilst last season’s play-off winners Oxford City finished bottom with 33 points from their 45 matches to date.

Speaking to Three Valleys’ Radio’s Si Thyer on Thursday ahead of the trip to Kent, Cooper said: “This is the first step. All we have done this year is do what we should have done. We celebrated over the weekend and it’s now about next season for me and wanting to go again.

When you taste success you want every season to be like that, so as a group we want to put things in place which means we have a chance to do that next year.

“But, we need to give the owner (Martin Hellier) a chance to get the finances in line as to what money we have to use to try and help this really good squad we have got.

I do not think we would have got relegated, but looking at the teams who came up from the South last year, Ebbsfleet are just about safe, and Oxford City are relegated.

You have to strengthen because there is a big jump. We have to be ruthless and make sure we improve and, even more importantly, bring in the right characters.

Super Cooper’s Greens are gunna blind you…
📸 Gary Brown

He suggested that there will be exits as well as (hopefully) arrivals at Huish Park in the summer, but praised the spirit which has been forged between his players this season.

The boss added: “You can’t win a league without the squad without the team spirit being really tight. Even when we have had a couple of little blips along the way, they have remained tight and navigated it without too much trouble.

There has to be evolution and as will happen at every club, some will move on, some will stay, but the ones that move on leave with a promotion on their CV. That gives them a better opportunity to get a better club next year.

One of Cooper’s former clubs, Forest Green Rovers, who he led to promotion to the Football League via the play-offs in 2017, were relegated back to non-League this week, and the Glovers’ boss expects the Gloucestershire side to be among those challenging at the top next season.

He said: “It is sad that Forest Green fought so hard to get out of non-League. I think they were the longest-serving members of the National League when they got promoted. It looks like they have spent a massive amount in the last two years and got relegated twice.

There will be a lot of frustration and anger and they will be looking to bounce back, so I expect them to have a top budget for the level. Straight away they will be favourites and it looks like Sutton and Colchester for the other team coming down.

What we have been looking at is the logistics because it is a heavily southern-based feel to the league next year which is good for us. Looks like there could be 16-17 southern-based teams which is great for us.

It was a brace from on loan Exeter City striker Sonny Cox which sealed a 2-0 win over Dover at Huish Park in November.

The trip to Dover appears the most dead rubber of any dead rubber match with the visitors already having their hands on the league title and the home side consigned to relegation three weeks ago.

But you’ll not be surprised to hear Cooper is looking for three points which would see Yeovil finish the season with 95 points and 29 wins – which would be one more than Gary Johnson’s Conference-winning side managed in the 2002-03 campaign.

The manager said: “I will be picking a team to win the game. I will not be handing out minutes for the sake of it, it will be players that I think can win us the game.

I want to go out with a win, the players want to go out with a win. In my first press conference this season I said ‘whether we are playing in the car park, on top of a mountain, on whatever surface, whether it’s three-a-side, five-a-side, Tiddlywinks – we want to win every competitive battle we go in to and Saturday will be no different.

Yeovil Town manager Mark Cooper has described the National League’s decision to award W*ymouth three points from the abandoned Easter Monday fixture was “a horrendous decision.”

He said the Football Association had cleared the club of any wrongdoing after the game was abandoned in the 75th minute after a medical emergency in the crowd with the Terras leading 1-0 and, having waited until Yeovil were crowned National League South champions, the league announced on Friday the game would not be replayed.

Following the 3-1 home win over Dartford on Saturday, Cooper was asked by BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins about the potential of his side reaching 95 points with victory on the final day at already relegated Dover Athletic.

He said: “It would be 98 points if I had my way! But the National League has made a horrendous decision. We want to go out with as many as we can get.

We 100% wanted to play the game again, we would have taken the staff to play it if we had too. We are cleared by the FA of any wrongdoing, but we are still deemed to be at fault that the game got called off. They are basically saying we got the lady ill, made the air ambulance land on the pitch, and it was our fault there was no time resolution as to when we were going to start again.

I don’t know where the fault is, but it just shows the National League for what they are this season. It has been a complete shambles.

Full back Alex Whittle has has spoken of his delight at his decision to move to Yeovil Town in the summer as he picked up his National League South championship medal.

The 31-year-old arrived following his release by York City in the summer and admitted he had other options of which club to join, but chose to join a defensive unit which has been at the heart of the club’s success on the pitch this season.

Joining BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins in the Press box after the 3-1 home win over Dartford on Saturday, he said: “This is a League club, definitely. This fan base is League Two or League One fan base with the club and the facilities. I am so happy I came here in the summer because I had a few options but I knew the Gaffer (Mark Cooper) and Charlie (Cooper). This club is on its way back up, everyone was wondering why I stepped down at this level, but it was the best decision I have made.

Picture courtesy of Gary Brown

The Glovers’ defensive unit has kept 17 clean sheets this season and contributed to winning 28 league matches – plus two in the FA Cup – this season, and Whittle was keen to pay tribute to his team-mates.

He said: “The defence never really gets the credit, it is the goalscorers that get the credit. But me, Jay (Foulston), Wanno (Jake Wannell), Smudge (Michael Smith), Morgs (Morgan Willams) and Brooklyn (Genesini) when he came in, we have been great. The back four has changed a few times, but I have especially enjoyed the partnership with Wanno. I said to him at the start of the season that he’s 30 and I am 31, but that is not that old these days with the way the game has changed. So I said to Jake, he’s come on so much this season. It’s been a great team effort.

The home form has been exceptional, we had a slight dip in form when we lost to Welling and Chippenham, but that gave us a little kick to go ahead. But, 28 wins is amazing.

Hopefully we will get a few out tonight and enjoy ourselves these next few days but obviously we want to go to Dover (next weekend) and win again.

Yeovil Town manager Mark Cooper said he always had confidence he could build a squad capable of getting promoted back to the National League Premier at the first time of asking.

The Glovers’ boss saw his side win 3-1 against a Dartford side which headed out of National League South on Saturday and then lifted the division’s title on the pitch in front of a crowd of 5,701 at Huish Park.

He said he believed the squad needed to add “five or six really good players” if they wanted to compete in the top tier of the non-League game next season.

Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins and our own Ian Perkins after the game, he said: “Talk is cheap, but I knew if someone would give me the opportunity to put a squad together I knew I could do it. I have done it at every level in the National League. The owner (chairman Martin Hellier) came in and backed us to put a good squad together and we have done that and it just shows if people come to a club and you trust people who know what they are doing, not trust people that do not, you have a chance to succeed. If you get it wrong, you get relegated.”

Brooklyn Genesini 📸 Gary Brown

He added: “It means a lot because I felt a real sense of responsibility for the players that were here last season. I wanted a chance to build the club because I liked what I saw even in the dark times, I knew it could be a good club if we had the opportunity to build it. The owner put his money where his mouth is and has given us that chance. Those dark times have been lifted by the tremendous achievements of the players and fans, they have been amazing.

If you looked at our team at Braintree and Slough, the team on the pitch would be in a bottom tier budget. Without the likes of Alex Whittle, Jake Hyde, Rhys Murphy, Michael Smith, we had a lot of young players like Jahmari Clarke, Brooklyn Genesini, there were a lot of young players on the pitch. People will talk about our budget this season and it is alright having loads of money and being the favourites like Torquay were, but you have to make sure you use that money wisely. I think that is what we have done.”

Asked about how he felt about next season, he said: “It is a tough league. We have the nucleus of a good squad, I have had to be ruthless at times and do the best thing for the club. We need to sign five or six really good players that are going to complement the group we have because they deserve that.

On Saturday, Yeovil fell behind to an early goal from Dartford captain Luke Coulson, but were quickly back on level terms when Sam Pearson equalised before an own goal from the visitors’ Ronny Nelson and a second half tap in from Alex Fisher sealed the win.

Cooper said he was never worried despite going behind early, saying: “The goal was probably the best thing that could have happened, but I was never worried or panicky. I just trust the players implicitly to get it done.

It was an incredible football performance and we are going to play a lot more football if I have anything to do with it, I just think that is the way the game should be played. I do not want to make it a lottery, of course we are going to give balls away in rubbish areas at times but you see the amount of chances we created, we should have scored ten.

It was nice to go out with a nice, convincing win in our final home game and the scenes at the end I just said to the boys ‘it is a shame it is not like this every year, but let’s try and make this the thing.’

For Fisher, it was another chapter in his fairytale return following a horrific double leg break he suffered almost exactly a year earlier and the manager was full of praise for his striker. 

He said: “Fish has come back and scored some goals to get us over the line. He’s a great bloke, an experienced professional and he will enjoy that first promotion in England. These players have crossed over the line today, a lot of them have a (C) on their CVs which, as a manager, you look at these things when you ask ‘is he a winner?’ We know we have a few that can whether it is here or elsewhere that they do it, you can never take this promotion from them.”

The Glovers finish the season with a long journey to already relegated Dover Athletic on the final game of the season next weekend and Cooper is going to win.

He said: “I said on Thursday night (after the win over Truro which sealed the title), we were desperate to win this game and go out in style. We did that and we will be desperate to go to Dover and get three points. We might have an opportunity to play a few of the boys who are coming back from injury and freshen it up because you have some boys in there that ran 13km on Thursday and did it again today. We have some warriors in there, and we need to add to that in the summer, add wisely and get the right characters.