Weston AFC 'lucky' to still be in FA Cup admits manager Bartlett

Weston reached the fourth qualifying round of last year's Emirates FA Cup.

Weston AFC reached the fourth qualifying round of last year's Emirates FA Cup, where they lost to Eastleigh. - Credit: WsMAFC/Alex Crowther

Manager Scott Bartlett admitted Weston AFC are lucky to still be in the FA Cup after their draw with Flackwell Heath.

Nick McCootie and Jason Pope both scored for the Seagulls to keep Bartlett’s men in the competition.

The replay is scheduled for tonight and the winners will host Taunton Town on September 18.

“I think we are lucky to still be in the tie really,” Bartlett told the club's video channel after the game.

“Fair play to them they came here and had a real good go but we knew they would. We had too many players that were off it today, really, for our standards and to be fair our standards have been high but today I felt, I don't want to say approach it in the right way but these games are always tough.

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"We are lucky we are in the hat really. I thought they were a threat all the time. The more of the ball we had, the more of a threat they became because we became a little bit frustrated, we chased the game a little bit. 

“They made it really difficult for us but I don’t think we helped ourselves either. We started sloppy and that’s the last thing you can afford to do in a game like this. We could have made it a lot less hard work than we did."

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Adam Thomas had opened the scoring for the visitors but McCootie bundled the ball home to level the scores after goalkeeper Aaron Watkins could only parry Jay Murray’s cross into the forward’s path.

Ashley Howell restored Flackwell’s lead before Pope hit back with Weston’s second equaliser 18 minutes from time as he scored from a corner for his first goal since re-joining the club for a third spell earlier this summer.

“If we start like that, like we did today, we will get beat, that’s football,” added Bartlett.

“I have played in so many games like this where it’s all about your mindset and stamping your authority on the game early on. I don’t want to be hard on them because they are a great group and they have given us everything from day one of pre-season, but today we were off it and when they are off it they need to know.

“It’s a tough one let’s not sugar coat it, we didn’t need this game Tuesday, we just didn’t but we are in the hat. It’s a fantastic competition and we will be doing everything we can to get through to the next round.”

However, Bartlett was full of praise for defender Will Turner, who was playing in his first ever FA Cup tie.

The 19-year-old right-back played under Bartlett at Forest Green Rovers and made his debut in Weston’s 3-1 win against Merthyr Town, where he came on for the final 26 minutes.

The teenager then made his first start in the following game against Gosport Borough and has been involved in the first team ever since.

“I thought he was excellent, Will was one of a few that did his job,” Bartlett said.

“Nothing spectacular, nothing amazing just literally heads it, tackles in the right position, very reliable in possession.

“It’s one of those where we had too many that didn’t start well and we never got going. I can’t fault the effort and I don’t think I ever can. There is one or two that probably owes us one really.

“I think the fans were fantastic and they stuck and stayed with them and clapped them off at the end, that surprised me on today's performance. I know they did on the way we have been playing, the way we have been working and maybe we have earned that a bit but on the isolated 90 minutes I think we were lucky to get clapped off today.

“Listen, it’s disappointing but it’s our job to iron out a few bits. We are bare bones to a certain degree in some key positions, we will go again that’s what it all about.

“They fully deserved to take us to a replay and we have to go there and roll our sleeves up and have a go.”

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