Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper has his eyes on a plum Third Round FA Cup draw after seeing his Yeovil Town side progress to the competition’s Second Round with a 3-2 home win over Gateshead at Huish Park today.

The Glovers were 3-0 ahead thanks to a brace from top-scorer Rhys Murphy and a first half strike from Jordan Stevens before the visitors’ Marcus Dinanga made it a nervy finish with a penalty and then an injury time second.

We will be ball number 33 in the draw which is televised live on ITV1 on Sunday having made it 11 wins in a row in all competitions.

Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins, the manager said: “When you are one game away from the Third Round you just want a realistic opportunity to get in to the Third Round and get a Premier League team in that Third Round. That is the Holy Grail.

When you play against a team like Gateshead you have to have a clear plan of how you are going to do things and credit to the players because they carried it our brilliantly. We went man-for-man and we left the goalkeeper as their spare player and then we went a pressed from there and defending one-on-one at the back and I thought we were great.

They played with a brilliant spirit, they committed to every duel and we did great. They are a really good team, they keep probing and try to get overloads and you have to be so good for 90 minutes – or 97 minutes or 99 minutes!

The boss joked (maybe) that he had threatened Stevens with a substitution after a shaky start in front of another crowd of more than 3,000 at Huish Park. 

Cooper said: “He had a horrendous start to the game, it was going to be the quickest substitution in history after about three minutes. But then he started to come in to the game and his pace is incredible and it puts people on the back foot and it was a great ball from Murph and a great finish from Jordan.”

But the boss would certainly have substituted referee Gary Parsons who he said had “tried to make a game of it” by giving a soft penalty which was converted by Dinanga after 67 minutes. The striker, who is the top scorer in the National League Premier, then added a second five minutes in to seven minutes of time added on to set up a nervy finish.

The manager said: “We should have been comfortable after that but the way they play they cause you problems, but I never felt in any danger until the referee tried to make a game of it. It was an incredible dive for the penalty, I can’t believe he’s given it and then he just went card happy. 

The second (for Dinanga) is a bit of a fluke, the shot deflects up on to the bar, falls straight to Dinanga in the six yard box – but if we hadn’t won today it would have been a travesty the way we committed to the game. I never felt we were in trouble until the referee made a game of it.

With his side 3-0 up, Cooper withdrew Murphy, strike partner Frank Nouble and Stevens with an important National League South match at Torquay United coming up on Tuesday night.

The boss had said before the game that Murphy had been “gagging” to play and the two goals – coupled with an impressive performance from ex-Gulls’ man Nouble – will not have done either player any harm.

Cooper said: “Once we were 3-0, I had an eye on Tuesday and trying to keep one or two who are integral – and a little bit older – fresh. I thought Frank and Murph were outstanding and when you do make four changes that can change the rhythm, sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way. I don’t think that was why we conceded two goals, it was making sure we had enough fresh bodies on Tuesday but the game was won until the referee decided to make an impact.

The biggest thing was the players commit to the instruction we give them. We have been good in different ways. When we are playing a home in our league, we go and attack and create, or when we are playing against bigger teams we have a different way of playing and we have to frustrate a bit.

Torquay, whose manager ex-Glovers’ legend Gary Johnson has been under pressure after an underwhelming start to the season, moved back in to the play-off places with a 1-0 home win over Bath City. They sit in fifth place, seven points behind Yeovil having played a game more.

Johnson has turned to his son (and another Huish Park favourite), Lee, who is managing at League One side Fleetwood Town for reinforcements. Striker Callum Dolan, who has made four appearance for Johnson Junior this season, started for them today with young forward Theo Williams named among the substitutes.

Asked if he was thinking about the trip to South Devon, Cooper said: “I am going to enjoy this one first and look forward to the draw tomorrow and then dust ourselves down and get ready for just another game on Tuesday. That’s all it is. I see they have signed a few players and have got a couple in from Fleetwood, they signed a goalkeeper today so they are having a go and spending the money, so we know it is going to be a tough game.

As is the case this season, Cooper spoke to the club’s official YouTube channel following the game – and had a few more things to say about the referee’s performance and the reason keeper Joe Day was wearing protective headgear.

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