Noah Dougherty
Monday 13 May 2019

Mark Cooper speaks following his side's 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers, which sees them miss out on a shot at promotion to League One.

He discusses the disappointment of semi-final defeat, the frustration of being reduced to 10 men again and how they will pick themselves up from this setback. 

Mark, your initial thoughts to tonight's result?

Obviously, we’re bitterly upset we’ve not got through. We’ve played half the tie with 10 men. I don’t think it’s fair. Good luck to Tranmere, they played well tonight. We’re getting on top and then we’re reduced to 10 men. I think it’s really unfair, the way the little club is being treated.

Winchester’s first tackle seemed innocuous?

It was a horrendous tackle on Lee Collins on the halfway line just before that and the referee conveniently missed that. Winchester’s first tackle gets a yellow card and there’s absolutely nothing in the sending off.

You got a good start which was what you wanted.

We got off to a good start which was what we wanted and then our centre-backs chose to leave  the best player in the league unmarked in the box. If you do that you’re in trouble.

In the second half you had a bit of pressure but perhaps not as many chances as you would have wanted?

No, we froze a little bit. Just as we started to get back on top and started to create, we were reduced to 10 men again. It just seemed that it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t our time. It feels really unfair, I have to be careful what I say but anyone who witnessed the two games, I don’t think anyone can say we got a fair crack at it.

All in all it’s been a good season. Lots to look forward to next season?

It’s been a brilliant season. We’ll a quick break and then we start again and we’re ready to go for another season. We’ll try and recruit well and bring in four or five players.

It has been a wonderful season though? Automatic promotion a possibility?

We’ve got some big teams coming into the league now. Plymouth, Salford, Scunthorpe, Bradford. Some big teams. We’ll have to recruit well and wisely.