Published: 06:00, 11 December 2019
Hythe boss Steve Watt is hoping Saturday’s goalless draw in Guernsey is a sign of better things to come for the Cannons.
The result came on the back of successive 4-1 defeats, against Three Bridges and Ashford United, and against a backdrop of adversity.
Watt had only 10 first-team players fit and available for the trip to the Channel Islands and then lost Frannie Collin and Alex Brown during the game to calf injuries.
That gave him the chance to blood teenage substitutes Jacob Brown and Josh Eka, both of whom acquitted themselves admirably, as Town, 17th in Isthmian South East, earned a valuable away point.
Watt, who also gave Jarred Trespaderne his first league start, was delighted with the way his players responded.
He said: “Myself and the boys have come in for a fair bit of criticism recently, and in terms of the last two performances rightly so, but given the build-up we had to this game I thought it was a great result.
“I was without three of my back four (Danny Divine and Aaron Simpson who were injured, and Ollie Rowe whose wife is expecting).
“I didn’t go fearing the worst but I knew it would be tough. We went for a point, I knew we would restrict them and the only real effort of any significance they had was the penalty they missed.
“I actually thought we had the two best opportunities.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the two young boys, coming into that environment and that type of situation.
“It was not as if they were going into a full, flowing team on a high, it was a patched-up team who have been struggling, but Jacob took it all in his stride.
“I could have brought Nathan Elder on but there was never any doubt or hesitation in my mind.
“I’ve never shied away from giving youth an opportunity. These young players are in and around the first team squad at least once a week. They might not get minutes every week but they are very much made to feel part of the squad.”
Collin’s calf problem is likely to keep him out until the new year but Watt is more hopeful about Brown, who was making first start in around 15 months.
The boss explained: “It was a big ask for Alex to start after so long out but he was excellent. It was a shame he had to come off.
“We’re hoping it might not be any more serious than cramp.”
Town host eighth-placed VCD on Saturday and Watt's squad will include two new faces after he brought in 30-year-old midfielder Danny Walder from Ashford United, and left-back Nathan Gordon, 27, who joins from Sevenoaks Town.
Watt also hopes to sign a striker before the weekend and will be able to call on Alex Flisher after suspension.
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