SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper accepted that the Football Association could come down hard on the club following a late melee at Meadow Lane on Saturday.
Around 20 players were involved in scuffles in the Swindon penalty area as the Robins’ clash with Notts County entered second-half stoppage time, after Troy Archibald-Henville appeared to push Magpies striker Jimmy Spencer to the floor.
Referee Richard Clark spent several minutes conversing with his two assistants following the incident and, after dismissing Archibald-Henville for violent conduct, dished out three yellow cards to Town players – including a second to Nathan Thompson, resulting in the Swindon captain’s sending-off – and a further two to members of the home side.
Potentially, Town, who lost the game 2-0, could now get slapped with an FA charge of failing to control their players and, when that possible outcome was mooted by the Advertiser to Cooper post-match, he said: “Maybe. I think I’d counter that with failing to control the referee as well.
“When both benches are stood laughing and joking about the performance of the officials, you don’t see that for a long time.”
Cooper branded the scenes and the reaction of the officials as a “disgrace to football”.
He said: “It’s a total shambles. I don’t think words can describe that, at the end, what I’ve just seen.
“Watching football for 30-odd years, I’ve never seen anything like that.
“Before I comment I’d like to see it again. I just think all of it could have been stopped before it happened.
“I thought he was playing bingo at one point, trying to get a full house with all of our players being booked. I’m sure the assessor will have plenty to say on that.
“Nathan’s gone in and tried to get in between his brother and a couple of players, not raised his hands, just got in between them. I think the referee was just playing pot luck.
“I think the linesman was saying ‘book them two’. I think they were the nearest ones to it.”