15 January 2022

Darrell Clarke unhappy with Lucas Covolan after red card against Swindon

15 January 2022

Port Vale boss Darrell Clarke clearly felt his goalkeeper Lucas Covolan cost his team dearly after a 3-1 home defeat by play-off-chasing rivals Swindon.

Covolan was sent off late in the first half after a clumsy challenge on Swindon striker Harry McKirdy when the pair challenged for a high ball.

The resultant penalty converted by Ben Gladwin handed Swindon a 2-1 lead seconds before the break, an advantage they never looked like relinquishing in the second period.

“A lack of discipline has cost us dearly today,” admitted a frustrated Clarke, whose side slipped out of the play-off places.

“Lucas knows that, and he knows he’s let his team-mates down. He’s disappointed of course, but we’ve spoken about it and there’s not much more than can be said.

“There was no reason for him to come out for the ball in the way he did. There was no reason why he needed to stick his leg out like he did neither.

“Lucas has got to learn from this now, and I’m confident he will.

“Having said all that, I’m not one for making excuses. It’s been a big disappointment all round today, but we never really got going.

“Every point counts in this division, and every decision we make on the field can make a difference.

“One decision has cost us in this game, but it’s about us all re-grouping now and going again on Tuesday.”

It was a cracking first half at Vale Park.

Jonny Williams struck first for Swindon as he slotted home from an angle, before teenage loanee Kian Harratt levelled for Vale with a 25-yard pile-driver.

Drama then followed in added time when Covolan was red-carded for appearing to kick out at McKirdy.

Gladwin slotted home the spot-kick.

Swindon wrapped up victory in the 69th minute when Vale defender Nathan Smith could only divert McKirdy’s cross past substitute keeper Aidan Stone.

Robins boss Ben Garner, whose side edged up to fourth in the table, said: “We were outstanding in the first half.

“I thought from front to back we were absolutely brilliant.

“We moved the ball fantastically well and when we got the penalty just before half-time, it was the least we deserved.

“It could have been a tricky second half for us, but again I thought the lads saw out the game superbly and we’ve secured a huge three points.

“The referee was brilliant with the red card decision. He took his time and correctly assessed the help he had from the linesman.

“It was so important that they came to the right decision, and they did in my view.

“It looked like a bad challenge from where I was stood, Covolan’s studs were up and it was dangerous.

“The message at half-time was ‘more of the same’. We didn’t play quite as purposefully in that second half and we weren’t as clinical, but we did enough.

“We managed the game really well and hopefully this will give us a springboard again now.”

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