Stevenage boss Darren Sarll after beating Swindon: Never mind the FA Cup third round I want to reach the fourth

PUBLISHED: 21:05 02 December 2017 | UPDATED: 21:07 02 December 2017

Matt Godden fires in a shot across goal in the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo

Matt Godden fires in a shot across goal in the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Read the full transcript of Stevenage boss Darren Sarll’s post-match interview after his side won through to the third round of the FA Cup after beating Swindon Town 5-2 at the Lamex on Saturday.

Matt Godden on the ball in the area during the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo Matt Godden on the ball in the area during the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo

Q: Darren Sarll, what an afternoon…

A: Yeah, it was exhilarating, frustrating, anxious, positive, rewarding – all of those things. Hopefully it’ll go down as one of those top games here at the Lamex.

Q: Your side has been criticised for a lack of goals over the last few weeks, but there was some finishing going on there today…

Yeah, like I say a lot to you, when you criticise people like Danny Newton, Matt Godden, and Alex Samuel – they’re a certain type of person. It’s not like they believe they’re above the normal standard of society – comments like that will hurt them. Whelpdale, Pett, players like that. They’ve been fantastic all week in training. If we’d not won today, I would’ve thrown seventeen years of coaching experience down the pan and thought ‘Come on, what do we have to do?’. The players have been brilliant in training all week, and I just knew if we could get off to a good start – which we did – we could probably push on and make it comfortable. [Swindon] are a very good side, we all know that. It’s a big club, but I thought we gave entertainment – I think that’s the best way to describe it.

Tom Pett volleys in after Matt Godden chested the ball down on the edge of the area in the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo Tom Pett volleys in after Matt Godden chested the ball down on the edge of the area in the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo

Q: It was a game that ebbed and flowed – both sides playing their part. At 2-0, all of a sudden Swindon come back and you think ‘oh dear’, but your players showed great character there…

A: Yeah, they’re good people. They really do want to fight. We spoke to them before the game about certain things that have happened this week. I would like to dedicate that [win] to Dermot Drummy and his family – Dermot sadly passed away this week. Dermot was a friend and someone I was getting to know better. For him to pass [away] at such an early age is devastating. Stevenage Football Club would like to dedicate that [win] to Dermot Drummy and his family, and we send out condolences. If Dermot wanted a game played, that’s how he wanted it – he was an unbelievably enthusiastic purist about football. He saw real pure human qualities there in terms of [players’] character and desire and attacking play. I said to the players at half-time: ‘Take away the two goals we’ve conceded and we’ve played some good stuff going forward’. I thought Samuel and Godden were a threat in the first-half, and I said ‘Look, let’s retain that, let’s be a little bit more solid – the only way teams can beat us is from set-plays, so don’t foul. Get close enough, but don’t foul’. It was obviously a problem in the first-half, but then you encroach on the fact that Matt Taylor’s left foot has [scored goals like that] for fifteen, twenty years and you put yourself into a bit of a position. It was a wonderful goal for Tom Pett, and [Pett’s goal] was Matty Godden at his very best. That’s the bit of Matty Godden that’s improved since we signed him from Ebsfleet – his link-up play, his awareness, it was just terrific. It was lovely goal – one off the training ground. I was delighted that Tom convincingly slotted that home. We wanted to keep our attacking play, but [thought] ‘let’s not give any silly crosses or corners or free-kicks away – let’s be nice and resolute, we’ll get there’.

Q: Midway though that second-half, there was a big incident which saw you removed from the dugout – what happened?

It was absolute nonsense. Dave and Ben are trying to get to their player, who is in my technical area. I obviously don’t want the opposition in my technical area. Someone’s got to stop them – you can’t just open the gate and say ‘in you come’. The chaos then built, because the altercation was between Ben, Dave and me, so that’s why it fizzled out into nothing. But bless him, the young fourth official, he said that I can’t grasp someone’s jacket the way I did. It was silly, it was nonsense. I wasn’t even angry about it – we were so calm. It was just him trying to look after his players and me trying to look after our area – it’s our area. It becomes a bit of a personal thing, your technical area, if people walk across it. I’ll go to speak to the referee in my allotted time and say, very calmly, ‘I have no idea what you think happened’. I can’t believe I’ve nearly got to one hundred games without this [being removed from the dugout] happening – I’m the most angry, aggressive man in the world [laughs].

Stevenage fans celebrate their second goal in the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo Stevenage fans celebrate their second goal in the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo

Glenn Roeder will of course take full credit and full responsibility for taking it from 3-2 to 5-2 [laughs]…

Absolutely, and quite rightly so [laughs]. He’s a top man - it’s not often you can send someone to replace you [in the dugout] who has taken two teams to sixth place in the Premier League. It was a calm afternoon after that. Glenn knows how to work the dugout, doesn’t he? We weren’t exactly dropping our standards by having Glenn replace me.

Q: And now, the wait for Monday evening [when the third round draw takes place]…

Yeah, it’s great. You start dreaming now. But let’s be nice and balanced, because I want to get into the fourth round. Let’s make sure we get a good tie, and any which way it can help the football club – either in terms of progressing, or in terms of all the other bits that the FA Cup brings. Fingers crossed. I’ve not actually watched the draw [for previous rounds] so I probably won’t watch it this time either. I’ll probably wait until Glenn rings me and tells me who we’ve got.

Stevenage fans celebrate their second goal in the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo Stevenage fans celebrate their second goal in the FA Cup game against Swindon Town. Picture: Danny Loo

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