Martin Badger Baker talked to Assistant Manager Steve Thompson immediately after the 4-2 defeat against Boston United on Wednesday 23rd October.
MB: Weve just seen a very good performance in the second half that was spoilt by what went on in the final minute. Even though it might be seen as a lesser competition, its very hard to take something like that when it happens.
ST: No-one can understand what went on. No-one appealed for a penalty, both teams were lining up for the goal kick and then suddenly it was like the referee didnt fancy extra time! Well watch the video, but we all know nothing happened and no player on their side even remotely thought it was a penalty. Until that point we looked like the likely winners. Unfortunately we have no comeback, we have to accept that we are out of that cup and move on. I felt we matched them all evening. They had a good ten minute spell and scored two goals in that but we came back, we looked good and we looked like we were going to win the game, and it looked like the game was going to go into extra time.
MB: Looking at our league form you must be absolutely delighted at where we are at the moment and the fact that we have this advantage over our two main challengers.
ST: Yes, I know its a bit of a clichi, but if you had asked me at the start of the season if I would have accepted a five point lead at the end of October, then of course we would thats great. We know there is a long way to go but weve got great players, great commitment and obviously Gary Johnson is doing a great job along with all the staff here. Its really enjoyable at the moment, apart from the last half hour where we all have felt down because we want to win every game that we play. Its hard to look for a silver lining when what happened tonight hits you but if there is one, then it is that we dont play any more games in a tournament where you might pick up injuries or players become tired. The main thing we said to the players after the game was lets beat Bath, lets beat Chester and then no-one will be talking about an LDV game against Boston on a Wednesday night.
MB: Weve now spent three seasons up near the top. Do you think the experience of being a team at or near the top is helping us?
ST: Obviously if you are at the top it helps because it gives you a base to work from. Having said that, I dont weve produced the sort of performances weve been managing lately on a consistent basis in any of the previous seasons. Were happy because were playing well, were winning games and we are top of the league and we see a great opportunity for us to go forward as a club. Obviously everyone is going to be working as hard as possible in order to do that. You never know what football is going to throw at you like tonight, or like Adam Stansfields injury on the first game of the season. We think weve got the squad to win the league. We know it wont be easy I know that as much as anyone but we wouldnt swap our players for any other squad of players in this league and I am 100 percent sure of that. We have a much stronger squad than what we had two years ago when we lead for much of the season no doubt about that and thats a good sign as hopefully with the stronger squad we can go all the way through until May.