Yeovil Town still do not know whether Matt Worthington is available for this weekend’s FA Cup third qualifying round tie at home to Didcot Town.

The midfielder was red carded having been adjudged to have deliberately handled on the line in the dying moments of last Saturday’s 2-1 National League South game at Hampton & Richmond.

Speaking on Thursday, manager Mark Cooper confirmed the club had appealed the decision which he described as “laughable” and expects to find out tonight (Thursday) whether they have been successful.

The boss said: “We’ve appealed but we still have not heard (if we’ve been successful). So I am trying to prepare a team for Saturday and we still don’t know if Matt Worthington can play.

In the National League Premier, the hearing is heard straight away but we have to wait until Thursday night before we find out if Matt Worthington can play.

Matt Worthington in action for Yeovil Town.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Asked about his views on match officials following the match at the weekend which saw his side suffer two red cards and pick up a further four yellows, Cooper turned his fire on those setting the rules for the game.

As well as the two yellows – and the subsequent red – collected by striker Jake Hyde, who definitely sits out the Didcot match through suspension, there were bookings for Rhys Murphy, Michael Smith, Charlie Cooper and Frank Nouble.

The boss said: “I don’t blame the officials, I blame the people that put them there. That needs to be looked at because that game nearly turned in to a farce through no fault of either club. There needs to be a rule, are we allowed to say ‘hello’ to a referee without getting booked, are the referees allowed to tell a player of F-Off or not?

I get at the start of the season that there’s going to be some confusion about the new directives, but there was nine red cards in our league last Saturday. Our bookings at this level are 60% up compared to the National League Premier and that can’t be all about players, it has got to be about a mixture of things – but we need clarity, what are the rules?

We’ve gone from having 13 minutes of injury time to none. In the first half on Saturday they did not even put the board up. There needs to be consistency and until we get that we are going to keep having these problems.

Echoing the rhetoric we heard ahead of the 7-1 thrashing of AFC Stoneham in the last round of the FA Cup earlier this month, Cooper said his side will be affording Didcot “all due respect” when they arrive in Somerset looking to spring a surprise this weekend.

The Oxfordshire-based side sit second-from-bottom of the Southern League Premier South table having gained promotion last season, but Cooper watched them go down 2-1 at home to Merthyr Town on Tuesday night and believes they were unlucky not to get a result.

He said: “I know exactly what their coaching staff will be telling their players because I have been there. I went to watch them on Tuesday night against Merthyr, so we are not leaving any stone unturned, our due diligence will be the same as any league game.

They were very unlucky to get beaten by a good Merthyr team and scored an unbelievable goal and they can feel a bit aggrieved they didn’t get a result. League form goes out of the window for the FA Cup, there’s no pressure on them, they can come and enjoy themselves and they will be saying ‘let’s hope we catch Yeovil on an off day.’

The goalkeeper played at Swindon when I was manager, Leigh Bedwell, he is good with his feet and a competent keeper. We are expecting a difficult game, it’s a big day for them like it was against Stoneham and, like in that game, we cannot win – if we win 4-0, it’s not enough, if we draw it’s a catastrophe and if we lose it’s a nightmare.”


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