Yeovil Town manager Mark Cooper spoke candidly to BBC Somerset reporter Sheridan Robins following his side’s 4-3 loss at Havant and Waterlooville on Bank Holiday Monday. 

The full audio is below, but here’s what the boss said – it pulled no punches.

“Defensively we were horrendous. I tried to freshen the team up by playing five players to try and give us that freshness. But I wish I hadn’t, I wish I’d have kept as much as I could. I wish I’d have kept the team that played Saturday (in the 2-0 home win over Maidstone United).”

The early exchanges were frantic, with both sides having chances, but Havant found themselves 2-0 up inside 12 minutes through goals from Muhammedu Faal and Callum Kealey.

Cooper added: “They could have scored ten, we could have scored eight or 10, but that won’t happen again. It really won’t. I have to do what I’ve got to do and just said to the players, that won’t happen again.

“We get back to 3-3 then in the last minute and we have a player tries to let the ball run out of play and gets brushed aside like he’s a feather, and they run through and score.

“I don’t know how (match winner Kealey) scored from there, but not acceptable. If we score three goals away from home, you have to win the game.”

One of the changes Cooper had to make was to replace skipper Josh Staunton, whose long-standing knee problems mean he cannot play on artificial surfaces, that change to the back line, along with swapping Zac Bell and Morgan Williams, meant a shuffling of the backline.

The manager added: “We’ve been quite good (defensively), we haven’t conceded loads of goals, but I changed the team today and I shouldn’t have done it. But I’m trying to keep it fresh and obviously the surface, Staunts can’t play today, but I need to assure everybody that I will do something about that that won’t happen again.”

To rub salt into the wounds, midfielder Matt Worthington was taken off with a calf strain just after the hour and Charlie Cooper was sent off for a second bookable offence in the dying seconds – both midfielders will certainly miss next Saturday’s home game against Chelmsford City.

The manager added: “That’s just a byproduct of the game because the game is so out of control and we’re scrambling to get back in it and try and win it or try and get an equaliser at the end. We end up over committing, people having to do too much running.

“Worthy tweaks his calf and Coops get sent off – it’s a blatant penalty, by the way, I’ve just seen, it’s a blatant penalty. I’ve just been to see the ref, but he’s not interested.”

“It’s a blatant penalty, by the way, I’ve just seen, it’s a blatant penalty.”

“They just want to hand yellow cards out now all over the place and it’s a blatant penalty. So there was a foul, we’re not blaming the ref, but there’s a foul for the first goal right in front of us. A blatant foul, linesman says it’s a foul, referee ignores him, they go through score, we should defend it.

“Obviously, that then raises the frustration. You’re not allowed to even speak to the ref now, so if you mutter one word, it’s a yellow card for most of the refs, and I think it’s such a passionate game, such an emotional game, when the stakes are high, for you to be able to not say, ‘Ref, that’s a foul’. Not swear, but just ‘ref, that’s not a foul’ for that not to be the case now, the game is gone.

“I know that we have to respect referees and we try, but it’s an emotional game. But if you can’t ask a referee a question – I asked the referee a question on Saturday, why did the penalty take so long and it’s a booking? Because I asked that question – the game has completely gone, in my opinion.”

“Their manager was sent off for having an argument with Toddy (assistant manager, Chris Todd). They’re big mates, they played together at Newport and they were having a bit of banter and he sent him off for having a go at  Toddy. So it was a bizarre afternoon, but rest assured, we will do something about that today.”

Jordan Young chases down a Havant player

Sheridan asked how the manager will use this defeat to mould the next few weeks and the gaffer suggested there could be changes – both ins and outs – but that whatever side is put on the field need to do more.

“All it’s done is given me exactly what… it’s helped me know which is my strongest team, and we got to get that team on the pitch, maybe with an addition or two and some going out as quick as we can.”

“…maybe with an addition or two and some going out as quick as we can.”

“I just said that they’re at a brilliant football club, they get looked after like kings and the least I expect is for them to have a real honest go when we come away from home and we have a massive following, that’s the least that we need to provide.”

“We get back to 2-2 in the game and we make a horrendous decision to make a foul in the box when the man’s facing the dug out and we decide to tackle him in the box.

“If we go in at 2-2, I think we win the game. But that then gives them another lift. So you can talk about tactics, you can talk about team selection, but if you defend like that, it doesn’t matter what team or what shape you play.”

On the loss of Worthington, the manager is hopeful it won’t be too bad, but the skipper-for-the-day could be missing for a while.

“I don’t know. It’s a calf strain, so it will depends how bad it is. Could be a couple of weeks.

“He’s a proper player and he’s a Yeovil player and he loves it and he runs, and our midfield players run 14K every game and they probably get overlooked, but be interesting to see how we cope without them.”


You can listen to the entire conversation between Sheridan and Mark Cooper Here

The above is taken from the BBC Somerset chat between Sheridan and the gaffer, he also spoke to the club’s own YouTube channel, that can be viewed below.




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10 months ago

Won’t happen again? Of course it will!

Archie Morris
10 months ago

Some going out? Who are we getting rid of, then?