Eastbourne United boss Cooper calls for calm heads and insists they can still beat the drop

Ryan Cooper
Ryan Cooper

Eastbourne United manager Ryan Cooper says his side mustn’t panic in the wake of their disappointing 3-2 defeat at Arundel this past Saturday.

The result sees United remain rock-bottom of the Southern Combination Premier table, with no wins and just a single draw from their first eleven league games.

“The game was a similar scenario as the story of our season really,” explained Cooper. “We dominated the game with a good performance but then we switched off in key areas and individual mistakes have cost us again. If we can cut those out, we’ll be fine, but I suppose at the moment it is just a case of trying to keep those to a minimum.

“We went in 1-0 up at half-time, in complete control of the game and kicking ourselves that we’re not two or three up. Our goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make. Then we come out for the second half and concede a very soft penalty. I know that it is a very difficult job for referees, but it really was soft. Then their goalkeeper gets sent off and I think it is one of those situations where it galvanises them and makes it more difficult for the team with one extra to be honest.

Again, we can’t blame anybody except for ourselves and we didn’t defend their set piece properly and then had an individual error which led to their goal. I come away from the game not blaming anybody apart from ourselves as a team for the way we failed to deal with them going down to ten men. Lately I think it has been a case of us loosing games rather than teams tearing us apart and scoring fantastic goals against us. It has been very much our own mistakes.

It is still early on in the season and I keep echoing this to the lads. It is something that of course we have to take seriously and be extremely mindful of, but we can’t panic.”

Next up for United is a trip to The Haven Centre to take on Crawley Down Gatwick, who have proved inconsistent this season. “We’re going into the next game very confident,” said Cooper.

“We’ll have a good couple of training sessions tonight (Tuesday) and on Thursday and get some ideas into the players. I think we’re playing a little bit of catch up in terms of the state that the team was left in, having three players signed on three days before the start of the season.

Hopefully, we’ll have another busy week in the way of signings. I am confident that we have come to an agreement with a few Ryman Premier and Ryman South clubs to take a few players on loan. We’ll have Mathew Darby back this week too, so the squad might have a new look to it this weekend and I’ll be confident of winning the game and if not then certainly getting something out of it.

Our new signing Richard Pingling played on Saturday, he got sent off but until then was a real threat and I was really pleased with him and Sam Willet, who I think is arguably one of the best midfield players in this league, but hasn’t had much game time in central midfield, so it will take him a few weeks to get back to full fitness.”