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Steve Watson: "It’s all about being in the hat in these competitions.”

By Dan Simmonite | 5th October 2019

Steve Watson was quick the praise his opposition as City progressed in the Emirates FA Cup against a fighting Buxton team who took the lead at the Silverlands, only to be beaten 2-1, credited to a much-improved second half by York. 

“They are a good side,” said Watson when speaking to the local media. “Obviously I don’t know the league that well but I’d assume they are a lot better than their league position suggests.” 

“They are a tough nut to crack and it went all the way to the wire. 

“The goals both came from Nathan Dyer being in and around the box like we encourage our wing backs to do – but it was a very tough day at the office.” 

Watson also suggested that the occasion of the Cup may have spurred on the Bucks to perform, with York being one of the biggest teams in the competition at the third round qualifying stage. 

Watson explained: “I know the performances that we put on against Irlam and now Buxton certainly hasn’t been down to lack of preparation or not taking the opposition seriously. 

“It may be that it’s the FA Cup and we are a big draw at this level, we are top of the league above, people lift their games and we’ve had to be diligent without the ball and dig in again today. 

“We keep a good record of defending well in the second half but as I said they made us work very hard for it and fair play to them – I thought they did really well.” 

Recent signings Kyle McFarlane and Elliott Durrell were gifted their first starts of the season on the artificial surface, with McFarlane getting 45 minutes and Durrell being substituted in the 74th minute for Macaulay Langstaff. 

Speaking on his new recruits, Watson added: “I think Elliott will be vital for us, probably in the league he is not ready to start yet - probably not match fit enough. But when the game opens up looking in the last 20-30 minutes for somebody who can open defenses up the I think he will be very good and he showed glimpses of that today.” 

“Kyle [McFarlane] is a different type of striker to Kempster and we really wanted to see Kyle from the start, it was a difficult game for us and him in the first half. 

“It was a difficult pitch – you could see in the first half a few times Fergy (David Ferguson) had the ball stop on him and bounce into him - It's certainly not an excuse but it is different. 

“We didn't play the free-flowing football that we tried to play, but then again we didn’t really play that way last week and had to dig in and be disciplined and we had to do the same today.” 

City went 1-0 down following a well-worked Buxton goal which ended in former York player Diego De Girolamo tapping-in from close range from a cross which was headed down in the box.

But Watson was not fazed by the goal, reiterating his team’s defensive record which has seen just seven goals conceded in 14 games. 

He added: “We haven’t conceded a goal like that for a long time so that’s why I’m not going to go over the top about it. 

“When you play 20 games in a season, you’re going to get the odd goal you’re not happy with and I don’t know a manager yet that is happy with a goal they have conceded – so obviously we could have defended better otherwise it wouldn’t have gone in. 

“I’m not too concerned about the performance because I know what I’ve seen all season - it’s all about being in the hat in these competitions.” 

York now await the fourth round qualifying draw on Monday, where 24 National League sides enter the competition. 

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