“My players were physically and verbally abused after the game, it’s absolutely disgusting”
Angry Swindon boss Ben Garner claimed his players were physically and verbally abused in their Sky Bet League Two play-off loss at Port Vale.
Arner accused Vale fans of storming the pitch after the final whistle and attacking some of his players after winning a penalty shootout to set up a final against Wembley.
Vale prevailed 6-5 on penalties after James Wilson leveled Swindon’s 2-1 lead from the County Ground with an eighth-minute goal.
Garner revealed: “My players were physically and verbally abused after the game, it’s absolutely disgusting.
“It’s disappointing what they had to endure coming from this place.”
“I saw (it) in some of the other playoff games. I don’t know where we’re going as a country, but it’s absolutely disgusting.
“It was really cruel to lose like that. But how they behaved, how much effort they put in, I’m so proud of all my players.
“It’s hard to bear that this game will be decided by a penalty.
“I thought we had a handball penalty and they go up the other end and score and to me their goal is offside.
“That goal decided the game, which is a terrible, terrible shame.
“But I’m so proud of every single person in that dressing room, from where we started the season to where we got to too. Losing like that was very cruel.
“I think we didn’t play well enough in the first half, we didn’t have enough intensity and we didn’t move the ball well enough.
“We did better in the second half, but looking at the score I thought a. A draw would probably have been fair. There wasn’t much at stake.
“But like I said, it’s just disappointing for this group of players after everything they’ve given.”
Vale boss Darrell Clarke apologized after being sent into the stands by referee Seb Stockbridge in the third minute of extra time following an unsavory altercation with Swindon skipper Dion Conroy.
He tried to wrestle the ball away from Conroy and an ugly hand-to-hand fight ensued between the two groups of players.
Clarke, who has been on leave this season after a near family bereavement, mused: “I want to apologize, I shouldn’t have done what I did on the sidelines. My feelings have overwhelmed me.
“My apologies to Swindon and Dion. They’re a good club and he’s a good player.
“I don’t know what came over me. I’ve had an emotional time this season and that was the first time I’ve been sent off.
“I apologize for that but being proud of my club, the owners, my players and my staff, they gave their all tonight and I thought we absolutely deserved to go through.”
Keeper Aidan Stone made a fine save as Vale recovered from a 2-0 deficit on penalties and triumphed.
Ellis Iandolo’s missed penalty meant Clarke’s side recorded a showdown with Mansfield at Wembley on 28 May, although the manager may have to serve a touchline suspension for his bloodlust.
He added: “We got out of the traps really quickly, which was important.
“They (Swindon) are a possession-based team and Garner has made them play great football.
“But I thought we created the better chances and deservedly won the game.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/my-players-have-been-physically-and-verbally-abused-after-the-game-its-absolutely-disgusting-41669528.html “My players were physically and verbally abused after the game, it’s absolutely disgusting”