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Steve Watson: "Disappointed is an understatement."

By Dan Simmonite | 16th December 2020

Steve Watson spoke of his disappointment after the club’s exit of the FA Trophy last night, with City losing 4-2 on penalties after the game ended 3-3 after 90 minutes.

After the game he said: “Disappointed is an understatement, I’m very angry and very frustrated. We started the game well and we created a lot of chances and scored a lot of good goals – we looked like we could be dangerous virtually every time we broke.

“But it was an uncharacteristic mistake from Pete putting the cross in the goal and then mistake after mistake as the night went on which led to us having to go to penalties when the game should have been dead and buried.

“The two penalties that we missed probably summed up the performance really certainly for the last hour.”

City were 3-1 up at half time and looked strong with Olly Dyson, Michael Woods and Jack Redshaw all on the scoresheet with 45 minutes to go. However Ashton fought back and levelled the score after 76 minutes.

Watson added: “We have seriously let ourselves down but I will never questions the lads effort - it’s never a lack of effort with these boys that much I can guarantee – but being mentally strong and standing up when you make a mistake and putting it right on the pitch – it was back to how I felt when I first got here when we lost our first two games heavily.

“It’s not the case because we are in a very good league position and we should be four points better off because we’ve let a couple of leads slip but all we can do now is focus on getting our confidence back, train hard and work hard.

“But the lads individually they will have to look at what they did tonight and why they did it and why they couldn’t respond and come back fighting.

18-year-old Rob Guilfoyle came on for the final few minutes and nearly bagged the winning goal in the dying moments, only for the Ashton goalkeeper to produce a brilliant diving save.

Speaking on the youngster, Watson said: “Rob scores probably more goals than anybody everyday in training but we is a very young lad and he has aspects of his game that we need to work on and that we do work on before he’s ready to get in the starting eleven.

“But on a scenario like last night where we needed to win the game and we needed that goal – he is as good as anybody to put on the pitch – and he got himself into the position and the ‘keeper made a good save.”

Owen Gamble returned to action on the night and looked comfortable in the back line before being taken off after 40 minutes with a hamstring strain. Another blow for the team, who haven’t had the best of luck with injuries this season.

Watson added: “It doesn’t look great for him and I really feel for the lad. He worked hard to get in the team against Southport and he did great and he tried to keep himself as fit as possible during isolation and he pulled his half on the treadmill.

“He’s been back training with us and got his chance again tonight and lasted 20 minutes before a different injury so I’m gutted for the lad and gutted for us as well – he’s a really good player and it’s another night where we had to change the shape but that’s absolutely no reason for not winning the game.”

Watson continued, speaking on Harry Bunn and Scott Barrow who both missed the Trophy game through injury: “I’m hoping they will both be fit for Boxing Day – Scotty with having a knee injury that’s twisted with a bad tackle and we have to make a decision over his first game back on the 3G is a good idea.

“Out of a number of below average performances tonight I thought Harry Spratt was excellent, so we know we have a very good defender as a replacement for him if we do go with a back four.

“We’ve got options, but Scotty has been a big player for us -as has Bunny – and we missed them both tonight.”

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