Tuesday 02nd August 2005

Hythe must bounce back, demands Luchford


Hythe Town's assistant manager, Justin Luchford insists they will bounce back for tonight's game with Ryman League Division One side Ashford Town at Reachfields Stadium, writes Stephen McCartney.

Luchford admits to feeling disappointed with the way Hythe collapsed to a 6-2 defeat to their Ryman Premier League neighbours, Folkestone Invicta - despite enjoying a 2-0 lead after 35 minutes thanks to goals from Lee Blackman (his fourth so far this season) and Dan Fisk.

"The start was great and we actually had Folkestone on the rack for the first 35 minutes," Luchford said in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk

"They didn't threaten our goal at all and we kept our shape well.

"We had a plan to stop them playing and work on breaking away with pace to cause them problems and scored two great goals off the back of that.

"The first 35 minutes we can take a lot of positives - but after that we need to learn, and quickly!"

James Dryden netted a 24 minute hat-trick and other strikes from Stuart Myall, John Guest and Joe Neilson gave Luchford and manager Paul Fisk plenty of food for thought ahead of their first Kentish Observer League game at Tunbridge Wells on Saturday, 13th August.

But former Dover Athletic goalkeeper, Kevin Readings will be a fixture in goal for Hythe as from this Saturday, when the team travel down to Ringmer by coach - which will ensure they bond before their league campaign gets underway.

Nick Day started against Folkestone but owing to personal commitments was unable to play in the second half, and was replaced by pint-sized goalkeeper, Leigh Holdway, who conceeded four against a rampant Invicta side.

"Leigh always gives 100% for us but Saturday, the side we were playing against were such strong opposition that you need to have your best players available for those games," admitted Luchford.

"We were missing Kevin Readings, who will be back for the Ringmer trip and full-time from then.  Also our skipper, Ian Hayes, who makes an enormous difference."

But Luchford and Fisk weren't happy with the loss of confidence shown by their players, when they started leaking the goals.

"Paul and I will not accept what happened in the second half and the players were told in no uncertain terms what we though of the display," blasted Luchford.

"It was embarrassing for everybody at the club and most of all Paul (Fisk).

"Paul believes in his players and now they have to back him by not lying down to get beat.

"We work hard to give the players as much as we can, but will not tolerate the way in which we reacted to Folkestone's play, especially when we had them on the racks for so long in the first half."

Luchford and Hythe move on and face an improving Ashford Town tonight.

The Homelands outfit secured a goal-less draw against Bromley at the weekend and will prove Hythe with another good test.

"Ashford will be another good test, but we are now looking for a response," Luchford said.

"I don't think Paul will give them much of a team talk - if the players are not aware of what is required after Saturday's game, then they will never know!"

Despite their set-back against Neil Cugley's side, Luchford insists Paul Fisk will succeed.

"Paul and myself are still undeterred after Saturday's game and still believe that we can get it right in time for our opening game at Tunbridge Wells," said Luchford.

"We have a battle on our hands but we will succeed.

"Hopefully the players will read this and have the same belief as we do."