Kevin Hill reflected on Exmouth Town’s FA Trophy exit, as they were beaten 2-1 at Yarnton Road against Kidlington, in the FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round. 

Ethan Slater opened the scoring with a superb lob, but Town were pegged back by Ryan Knight, and after Jordan Harris missed a penalty at the end of the first half, Jack Gardner’s second half screamer made the difference.

Things went from bad to worse for Town as captain Dave Rowe was sent off, having received two yellow cards.

“I’m gutted because I thought we played well today, there’s a lot of bodies missing but I’ll give credit to the guys that came in today.

Our Achilles heel is making our own mistakes for their goals, but we’ve had chances to put that to bed.

If you look at the chances we created today, we created loads and good chances, but it’s not going in for us at the moment, but that’s football.

I said to the lads, they played well but you can’t keep playing well and losing, we came up the leagues by grinding out wins when we weren’t playing well, but we knew how to win and we’ve lost that now.

It was a mistake for the first goal which was a setback but that has been happening, look at Willand last week, a mistake to start off and then two penalties, but it’s creeping in.

I’m not going to get despondent; we could beat someone 5/6-0 if we put our chances away, but I don’t want that, I’d rather win these games 1-0, but sooner or later, we will go one up and take our chances afterwards and kill the games off.

We go down to ten men and again, we looked better, but it shows that the lads that have the fight in them, we just need some leaders sometimes.”

A lot of Exmouth’s games so far have followed a similar pattern, with Town starting strong but dropping their level and allowing opponents back into the game, a problem which Hill is aware of.

“You have the same set of players, you have the same results, but that’s my problem to deal with, but I guarantee that if the same team plays Wednesday, you’d have the same problem, the same drop off.

I have to keep believing in them, you can only ask them if they believe that they can win on Wednesday, but we need to believe more especially with corners, we’ve got some big lads but we don’t get many goals from corners without Mark Lever who wasn’t here today and Dan Cullen who’s still injured.

I can look at myself and blame myself for it, how long do I keep it going, but you look at it, we’ve had three away games at top four sides and we’ve held our own every time, we just can’t close it out.

We missed a penalty today, but that happens, we are creating chances, and I can’t ask for any more than that, but they can’t blame me if I go out and find somebody new.”

There was some positive news for Hill’s side, as Josh Cann returned to the starting 11 for the first time since last season’s FA Trophy exit against Berkhamstead, as well as the likes of Robbie Powell, Karl Riddell and Kieran Wildigg returning to the team.

“Don’t get me wrong, we were never going to win the Trophy, so I look at it as a chance to bring some players in and get them minutes that they need, that’s why I brought in Josh (Cann), and Robbie (Powell), because we are struggling to get friendlies and find locations for friendlies, so they can’t get gametime.

Josh has been training with us the last few weeks, and I know he goes away after this game, so Harvey (Field) will be back in on Wednesday, but if I got him injured we’d be missing both for that.”

Exmouth will be back in league action on Wednesday as they welcome Bemerton Heath Harlequins to the Circle of Care Community Stadium.


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