Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper believes his side have their confidence back as they cruised to a 3-0 home win over Torquay United today.

A brace from on loan Reading striker Jahmari Clarke and another goal from Jordan Young sealed the three points on the day the Glovers’ broke their own league attendance record with a crowd of 6,462 inside Huish Park.

The win means we need six more points to seal the National League South title with a trip to local rivals W*ymouth next up on Easter Monday.

Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins after the game, Cooper said: “I watched Leicester today and they were 17 points clear (at the top of the Championship) on Boxing Day and now they are behind (first-placed Leeds United) and look like they have gone. So, every person in the game I speak to tells you it is not easy to get over the line, and we have had said all season ‘just deal what is in front of us’. Today we looked like we have got our confidence back, we had some good intricate passing and I thought we were really good.

We have taken the best two full-backs (Michael Smith and Alex Whittle) out of the team, we have taken two of the best forwards (Rhys Murphy and Jake Hyde) out of the team and we have had to find a different way. This late on in the season, clubs are not going to give you their best players, so we have had to take a gamble on two young lads in Brooklyn (Genesini) and Jahmari (Clarke). They have fitted in really well and found a different way, but now we look like we have our confidence back and we are marching on.”

Jahmari Clarke celebrates his opening goal after 40 minutes.
Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

Clarke, who had an uncertain start to the game which saw him blaze an effort in to the Thatcher’s Stand after 20 minutes, was the headline maker after stabbing home the opener on 40 minutes before wrapping up the win with a composed finish on 63 minutes.

Cooper said: “He is raw, rough around the edges but he has something, I’m not quite sure what it is yet, but he has something that we like. He occupies defenders because of his size and his pace and you can see what he does with that second goal, he turns and got himself a good finish. He started off a bit rusty, but he is a young lad and he can be pleased with his two goals today. I think that first effort put a few windows out! But, he kept going and he was there for the first goal and the second was a great finish.

Yeovil had to show composure against a Torquay side which fulfilled expectations by coming to Huish Park with a game plan to break up play leading to three bookings (two of the away side) in the first half-an-hour and numerous breaks in play.

The physicality of his side was a major plus for the manager who had praise right across the pitch, saying: “There was some big performances out there, we dominated the middle of the pitch, the two centre backs, the two midfield players and Frank, they physically dominated. That gives you a platform to go and play. Youngy has had some indifferent performances but he knows why and it is just a case of showing him why he is not quite at it if he is not quite at it. If he works really hard, even if it is just for 60 or 70 minutes he ends up playing well. He did that today.

We can be physical if we need to, all the best teams can mix it and you can see clearly Torquay had come to try and kick us and rattle us. I thought we might throw a rugby ball on after ten minutes, but we stood up to it and played off the back of it.

Jordan Stevens.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Jordan Stevens was recalled to the starting XI just a week after he was left out of the squad for the 1-0 win at Braintree Town with his manager said he had not seen enough of the midfielder in training to warrant a place. But, the boss was full of praise today, saying: “He is the best presser that I have seen at this level. If a ball goes square to the full back and they have got their head up, he is on top of them and he nicks so many balls off the full-back before they have a chance to play it. We just thought his pace down the side would exploit Torquay and I thought it did.

The crowd surpasses the 6,301 which turned out for the Boxing Day win over Taunton Town at Huish Park and means Yeovil have now set the record for the league three times in one season.

Cooper’s praise extended to the fans, adding: “I said to the boys before today ‘it is a brilliant crowd in here, let’s keep them with us’, we didn’t want to let the place go quiet, we had to make sure they were with us and the only way you can do that is to show a real intent to dominate the opposition. I thought we did a bit of everything and the fans could see that and appreciated that, and we certainly appreciated them being with us.

Next up is a trip to managerless W*ymouth, who sacked Bobby Wilkinson in midweek with his managerial highlight still being losing 2-0 at Huish Park in October, on Easter Monday, with more than 2,000 away supporters expected to make the journey across the Dorset border.

Asked whether he would make changes for that game, Cooper said: “We will see. It is like a Saturday-Tuesday, the players get a day off tomorrow and we are back in Sunday. They are all in the ice baths now recovering which they love! We will see how they respond and we will go again Monday.


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