FA Cup: Swindon boss apologises for 5-0 Cheltenham loss

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Highlights: Cheltenham 5-0 Swindon

Swindon manager Mark Cooper has apologised to the travelling fans who watched them lose 5-0 at Cheltenham in the FA Cup first round.

It is the third consecutive season the League One side have lost to a club in a lower division, after two first-round defeats against Macclesfield.

Cooper told BBC Wiltshire. "I can only apologise for the performance.

"We wanted an FA Cup run and we wanted to play well for our supporters who travelled in numbers."

Swindon were already 1-0 down, after Byron Harrison's opener, when captain Nathan Thompson was sent off for tripping Terry Gornell.

Striker Gornell doubled the League Two side's lead before the break, and Harrison completed his hat-trick with goals either side of Matt Richards' long-range strike.

Swindon's FA Cup history repeating
*Statistics from Swindon-Town-Fc.co.uk
Saturday's defeat was the fourth time in Swindon's history they have lost 5-0 in the FA Cup
Previous five-goal cup drubbings have come against Uxbridge in 1895, Luton Town in 1931 and Newcastle United in 1988

Cooper confirmed that they would appeal Thompson's dismissal - the defender's third of the season - and said of the incident: "It was comical. I thought it was a joke at first.

"For me it wasn't even a foul. There was no coming together and it looked to me like he [Gornell] was running towards the corner flag.

"It was an incredible decision. But when all is said and done, we shouldn't be conceding those goals - even with 10 men.

"They got a break with the sending off and made the most of it. Fair play to them. I hope they get a good draw and go on and have a good cup run.

"We now have to look at our own house and get it in order."

Swindon, currently third in League One, take on unbeaten leaders Bristol City at home on Saturday and are set to go into the game without three first-team players.

Thompson will be suspended if the club fail to overturn his red card, while Massimo Luongo and Yaser Kasim are away on international duty with Australia and Iraq respectively.

"All days off have been cancelled this week and it's all systems go for Saturday," added Cooper.

"We have a lot of work to do as we're missing three key players now. We've got to come up with something to try and surprise Bristol City."

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