WITHAM Town manager Mark Ashford hopes that the club's fans can be encouraged by the the progress his team are making but he is asking them to be patient as his young group continue developing. Ashford said he was pleased with the chances that his team created in their FA Cup replay against Coggeshall Town on Tuesday, but feels a level of perspective needs to be maintained about performances due to the youthfulness of the group that he has.
Having held their high-flying local rivals to a 0-0 draw in the first meeting two weeks ago, Witham were beaten 3-1 in their FA Cup preliminary round replay by Coggeshall.
A crowd of almost 400 was at the Village Glass Stadium to see the game and Ashford hopes plenty will return for forthcoming games.
He said: "We had more than 370 people at the FA Cup game and we really appreciate them coming.
"Hopefully we'll see lots of them returning as we want more people coming along to watch us.
"But I want people to keep in perspective what we are doing at the moment.
"Against Coggeshall, we had a back five who had less than 30 senior games of football combined and people have to understand that.
"We are playing a very young and inexperienced side at the moment because of the resources that the club have and they deserve to be encouraged.
"We've made a clear statement that we will stay within our small budget and work with the young players, but these young lads are just starting on their journey.
"From my perspective, I was disappointed on the night that we didn't get anything against Coggeshall, but you have to reflect that, over two legs, we went up against a good Coggeshall team who will finish high up in the league this year and did well against them.
"We have given a very good account of ourselves and there are positives, but people need to keep things in perspective.
"Look at the bench that Coggeshall had to choose from and there are players there with experience that would take them straight into our team so I'm asking people to be patient with our lads in the short-term and remember that they are young.
"If they're still making the same mistakes the other end of the season then come and have a go at me because I won't have done my job, but we need to be positive with them now.
"They want to play for this club and are passionate about being here; they want to build something here and if the supporters can get behind them, it will give them time to learn.
"You wouldn't tell an apprentice carpenter to do better when they are putting on their first set of hinges so lets get behind our boys as they are serving a footballing apprenticeship."
Witham's exit from the FA Cup means they are without a game this weekend.
Ashford said he would use the clear Saturday to work with his players analysing the game against Coggeshall and said he and the first-team players would then watch the club's reserves who are in Thurlow Nunn Reserves League action at home against Wivenhoe Town Reserves (kick-off 3pm).
The first team's next game is at the Village Glass Stadium on Tuesday when they host Grays Athletic in the Velocity Trophy (kick-off 7.45pm).
Updated 17:27 - 10 Sep 2018 by swifty