Exmouth Town exit the FA Cup - assistant boss speaks about the disappointment

PUBLISHED: 15:58 09 September 2019

Exmouth Town supporters at Highworth Town. Picture MARTIN COOK

Exmouth Town supporters at Highworth Town. Picture MARTIN COOK

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Exmouth Town assistant manager Andy Rawlings could not hide his clear disappointment when he spoke of the Southern Road men's 4-2 FA Cup defeat at Highworth Town.

He said: "We simply did not perform in the first half up there. Whether the occasion got to some of the lads, or perhaps the heights they rose to on Tuesday night with the replay win over Yate took more out of them than we thought, but, for 45 minutes at Highworth, the Exmouth Town that we have come to expect - and enjoy -this season was missing!

"To be fair to the lads, they were a very different proposition after the break and could, yes, maybe should, have been singing on the way home with another famous win under their belts.

"We certainly fashioned enough chances to win a couple of games in the second half up there! That's the over riding thing to come out of the game for me - the fact that they [Highworth] were not better than us - indeed, had we levelled things up at 2-2 then I am convinced it would have been us celebrating at full-time!

"However, as good as the second half performance was, the plain blunt truth was that we had come up short in the first 45 minutes and, at this sort of level, you simply cannot afford to do that."

He continued: "You could tell after the game that then lads collectively knew that they'd missed a trick. But, you know, the fact is that sometimes you need to take a blow or two to shake you up and I am very sure that we will be all the stronger for the painful experience we had in Wiltshire last Saturday."

We asked the Town number two if the absence of players like James Richards and Ace High was a factor.

He replied: "Any team would miss the sort of qualities that those two bring to the table, but, in truth, we had enough out on the pitch to get the job done and, the way they played in the second half was proof that had we not had such a poor first 45 minutes then we'd still be in the FA Cup."

Next up is another cup tie - indeed the next two games for Town are cup ties with Saturday's (September 14) trip to Cadbury Heath for an FA Vase tie followed swiftly by a Tuesday night (September 17) trip to Bristol-based Almondsbury for a Les Phillips Cup (the Western League, League Cup) fixture.

Both James Richards and Ace High, together with Callum Shipton, who all missed the FA Cup tie at Highworth, are available.

Town number two Andy Rawlings says: "I am very confident that we will see a reaction at Cadbury Heath on Saturday. Seeing how flat the lads were immediately after the final whistle at Highworth should mean they will need no motivating for going out and getting the job done at Cadbury Heath."

He continued: "We must not let an FA Cup reversal at Highworth Town define our season, we have taken blows before and come back stronger and I am sure we will do so again. The key to us being successful this Saturday is to ensure we stick to our principles., concentrate on getting right the way we want to impose ourselves on such games and make sure that we start in the opening minutes as we intend to finish the contest. We know we will once again have terrific backing up at Cadbury Heath so its important we make sure that those supporters who travel up there with us have a happy journey home."

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