It's that goal to get in the First Round proper of the FA Cup, says Hythe Town boss Steven Watt

Thursday 19th August 2021

HYTHE TOWN manager Steven Watt says he wants his side to bounce back from their opening day defeat in the Isthmian League South East Division and enjoy a good run in The FA Cup this season.

The Cannons went down to a 2-1 home defeat to newly-promoted side Corinthian, who lead through Jack Mahoney’s free-kick before Alex Brown equalised before Luke Tanner sealed the deal with a 90th minute winner at Reachfields Stadium.

Aberdeen-born Watt, meanwhile, described the performance as “poor” from his side, who sit in fourteenth-place in the table after 90 minutes of football.

“First 45 minutes we were very poor, the worst 45 minutes I think I’ve seen from us, which was surprising as pre-season has gone really well in terms of performance and we’ve been really happy with how pre-season went,” said Watt.

“We’ve got to give Corinthian credit for the way they approached the game and particularly that first 45 minutes made it very difficult for us.

“I don’t want to say the boys underestimated them as we don’t and we spoke before the game and knew what they were going to be about.

“We couldn’t get going in the first half. It was just unfortunate Will Godmon has let a goal in and 10 times out of 10 he wouldn’t and that was the same for the last-minute winner.

“The second half was much better from ourselves and what I expected from us.  You’re looking at two mistakes by Will who usually saves them. He’s such a reliable goalkeeper so it was uncharacteristic of him to make those two mistakes.

“With our second-half performance, we shouldn’t have lost the game. We could have won it really.

“It’s the first game of the season, nothing’s won or lost and the first 45 minutes was a concern but the second 45 was the way we much more like us and on another day if Will doesn’t make those mistakes we probably win it 1-0.

“If you make key mistakes in the game you get punished and we did and full credit to Corinthian, who took their chances when they came.”

When asked about his aspirations for the league season ahead, Watt replied: “We’re expecting play-offs.  It’s something we spoke about as a team. We know the quality in the group and we know what we’re capable of doing but it’s going out there and doing it every week. 

“It’s going to be the toughest league that it has been for years. A lot of clubs have invested in their squads very, very well and have spent a bit of money to strengthen and have a go.

“Where normally you just get a few clubs, there’s a lot of clubs and it will be a tougher league. I believe it will be very tight for the top spot and the play-offs and the other end. I don’t think there will be massive gaps as in previous years.

“We’ve had a reduction of the budget which hasn’t allowed me to keep a lot of players but I’ve been able to keep the players that I’ve got and the play-offs is something that we’re looking for.

“We just have to find consistency and not repeat the 45 minutes that we did on Saturday.”

Westfield are in second-place in the Isthmian League South Central Division after the Woking-based side beat Tooting & Mitcham United 3-0 on the opening day of the season.

Hythe Town hold home advantage for Saturday’s FA Cup Preliminary Round tie.

“They’re a good side who are always up there and around it in their league so it’s going to be a tough game,” said Watt.

“Maybe these type of games are better for us.  Maybe the boys expected to win against Corinthian.  We started the first 10 minutes well and thought it was going to be an easy game and took them lightly. It certainly won’t be the case from now on.

“The FA Cup is always great for clubs, always a great atmosphere. It’s got a different feel to it than a league game, as everyone knows.

“We’ll be up for it and the boys want to put that right. It’s not a new group of players, normally when there’s a disappointment, we had it last year when we lost to South Park disappointingly at home and then there was a good reaction from them onwards and I’m sure that will be the case on Saturday.”

Centre-half Watt made his Chelsea debut in a FA Cup tie against Scunthorpe United in 2005 and made one Premier League appearance under then manager Jose Mourinho.

Now 36, the Scotsman wants to make good FA Cup memories for his current club, who reached the first round as a Kent League club under Scott Porter back in 2010, losing 5-1 to then League Two side Hereford United.

“If I’m being honest there’s probably more magic (at this stage of the competition) I would say, due to what’s at stake and where you can go,” said Watt.

“I made my debut at a Premier League club and you came in the third round in games that you’re expecting to win.

“All these games in the early rounds, it’s the fantasy of the unknown where if you win the game and you don’t know where you can go the next game.

“It’s that goal to get in the first round proper.  Whenever I’ve managed, I always say to the boys there’s always one team from the non-league set up that has a Cinderella story and can we be that team?

“It’s a bit like a lottery with all of these teams at this stage but there’s always one or two in some years that get into the first round.

“It’s something I always say to my players and hopefully we can have a good run and enjoy the Magic of the Cup.”

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Hythe Town  v  Westfield
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 21 August 2021
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Reachfields Stadium, Fort Road, Hythe, Kent CT21 6JS