Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper said his side’s fifth National League South defeat of the season had only strengthened their resolve.

The Glovers went down 1-0 at second-placed Chelmsford City at the weekend but still go in to this weekend’s trip to Farnborough with an 11 point lead on their nearest rivals, who dropped points in midweek.

Speaking on Thursday ahead of the trip to Hampshire, the manager said: “When it is such a long season and you see what is at stake and what is at the end of it, it is only natural you can become a bit tense and uptight. It takes a lot to become a champion and to do that you have to have ups and downs to recognise what is at the end of it and what that means and we are in good shape.

It was Farnborough who held Chelmsford to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night and Cooper was in the stands at the Saunders Transport Community Stadium (can we just call it Cherrywood Road?).

He watched as the pitch there got heavier and heavier as the game unfolded and, with heavy rain forecast throughout Friday, the words “weather permitting” featured in some of his pre-match analysis.

He said: “I went to watch them the other night and I thought they put in a really spirited performance against Chelmsford and got themselves in front.

They could have lost it, but easily won it as well. They have some injury worries, but they played really well here against us. It is a really good set-up and, weather permitting, it should be a cracking games.

Jordan Young will serve the second match of his two-game ban against Farnborough (weather permitting).
Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

Cooper expects to have the same squad of players available for the weekend with injured trio Rhys MurphyJake Hyde and Olly Thomas all expected to be missing, and Jordan Young serving the second match of his two-game ban (weather permitting).

Midfielder Charlie Cooper made a second half appearance off the substitutes’ bench at Chelmsford with full-back Alex Whittle an unused substitute. One would hope a week’s rest means they may be at least closer to a start – whether at Farnborough on Saturday or 48 hours later when Yeovil travel to Aveley.

The manager said: “We still only have 16 players available, there are still a lot of forward players injured, but with our facilities and infrastructure I know we will be able to prepare better than some of the teams we are playing against.
I will not use the Saturday-Monday as an excuse and we will use the fact we can prepare better than the opposition to our advantage.

It will be the same squad at (as Tonbridge) last weekend. Jordan Young has one more game of his suspension, so he will be back of the Aveley game. Apart from that we have the three number nines still injured.

Anyone for cabbages? Taunton Town’s Wordsworth Drive quagmire.

Perhaps the most explosive response of the pre-match press conference was reserved for the final question when Cooper gave a damning assessment of the National League’s handling of the sh*tshow that has become Truro City’s efforts to complete their fixtures.

The Cornish side will now play Taunton Town, with whom they are technically groundsharing after deciding Somerset’s county town was a better bet than their original landlords, Plymouth Parkway, on the artificial surface of National League North side Gloucester City this weekend, almost 200 miles from their spiritual home. Good luck to anyone trying to organise away travel for that one.

Yeovil still have to face Truro – wherever it is they choose to call home, as they could no doubt pick the Faroe Islands and the league would allow it – on Thursday 11th April.

Cooper did not hold back in his thoughts, saying: “It is an absolute shambles from the National League. They allow Truro to groundshare at one of the worst pitches in the country (at Plymouth Parkway) and when that becomes untenable they allow them to groundshare to another of the worst pitches in the country (at Taunton Town).

Then they are surprised they can’t play any games. I don’t understand the logic of that and then they allow them to play on a different surface, so rather than playing them on 3G rather than grass.

I am not sure whether that is allowed. I think when you start the season, when you state your plan on grass, you have to make sure you play on grass I don’t think you could change halfway through, so I think it’s completely shambles in the National League, I think they need looking at and I think it’s a complete shambles, for me, it shouldn’t be allowed.


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