Met Police boss Jim Cooper described Tuesday’s FA Trophy defeat to Leiston as perfect preparation for Crawley Town – now he knows who won’t be playing, writes Tom Ambrose.
In a thrilling second-half, Met led their visitors twice before throwing away the lead in the 4-3 second qualifying round replay defeat.
Cooper blasted his side for their attitude and told some they won’t be playing in Saturday’s glamour cup tie.
He said: “There are some who started tonight who won’t play on Saturday – they know that because I’ve told them.
“I warned them before the game about approaching it in the correct manner and they didn’t listen.
“We were thinking about Saturday too much. That doesn’t matter, I’m gutted that we’re out the Trophy.”
Leiston threatened early when Danny Thrower’s free-kick rattled the post.
On 18 minutes, Met’s Chris Bourne clipped a cross to Tyron Smith whose header also hit the woodwork.
The game was delayed when Leiston’s Jordan Heath suffered a sickening injury that saw an ambulance called to Imber Court.
An eventful second-half saw Met take the lead on 50 minutes after Jordan Bird’s drive crept under Leiston’s Danny Potter.
Leiston responded instantly when Emmanuel Osei sprinted past Bird before squaring to Rhys Henry to draw level.
Met led again on 71 minutes when Allan Tait’s effort from distance took a wicked deflection to beat Potter.
Once again, Leiston equalised within minutes when Gareth Heath stroked home from close-range.
A minute later, the visitors took the lead through Luke Hammond’s half-volley, despite the efforts of Butler in the Met goal.
On 79 minutes, Tait made it 3-3 when he latched onto the end of Bird’s free-kick from the left.
Osei sealed Leiston’s progress with three minutes remaining when he found himself unmarked to head Thrower’s cross back across goal and past Butler.
Cooper added: “Crawley must be rubbing their hands – their youth side would have beaten us tonight.
“Saturday is a massive occasion. We’ve had them watched, we’ve got the low-down on each player.
“But tonight was worrying. Long-term, we may have to get rid of some players and bring others in.”