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Hythe Town manager Steve Watt explains why he’s brought goalkeeper Steve Phillips back to Reachfields

Steve Watt couldn’t turn down the chance to bring goalkeeper Steve Phillips back to Hythe.

Phillips left at the end of last season after helping the Cannons reach the Isthmian South East play-off final.

Play-off semi-final star Steve Phillips is back at Hythe. Picture: Ian Scammell
Play-off semi-final star Steve Phillips is back at Hythe. Picture: Ian Scammell

He was part of the meanest defence in the division and was the hero of their penalty shoot-out win over Ramsgate in the play-off semi-finals.

Replacement Adam Molloy kept clean sheets as Hythe won their opening two games this season but has been released to make way for Phillips, who made himself available after a brief spell out of the game.

Phillips was back in goal on Saturday as Hythe won 3-1 at Burgess Hill in the FA Trophy First Qualifying Round, while Molloy has joined Snodland.

“Steve got in touch and asked if he could come back,” said Cannons boss Watt.

“Obviously it was a difficult decision because Adam did well for us.

“But I just felt for what Steve did last year, and how good he was, it was a decision I had to make.

“You have to make decisions in football, particularly as a manager, and when Steve said he wanted to come back, I felt it was the right thing to let Adam know.

“He got in the league team-of-the-year for a reason - he was fantastic for us.

“I’m just pleased Adam’s got himself sorted out at Snodland. He was good as gold when I spoke to him.

“He did absolutely nothing wrong with us.”

Hythe, beaten 2-0 in the FA Cup by Hanworth Villa last weekend, were back on their game in the Trophy.

They fell behind but centre-halves Jack Steventon and Lex Allan struck either side of half-time before Aaron Barnes added a late third.

“We showed good character after going behind,” said Watt. “We kind of dominated throughout.

“We were poor the weekend before and it was important I got the reaction I wanted, which I did.

“Even more pleasing was the reaction to going behind.

“I didn’t feel the reaction was good enough last weekend but this weekend it certainly was.

“We scored at key moments and, if anything, we should have had a couple, but we’re just happy to get through.”

Hythe put their 100% league record on the line at fellow unbeaten side Chichester this Saturday (3pm).

The Sussex side have played a game more than Watt’s men, taking seven points from their three matches.

“They’re one of the best sides in the league,” said Watt.

“They’re a very good footballing side - very well coached. It’s no surprise to see them start the way they have.

“We know we’re in for a tough tactical battle.

“We have to go there, do what we do and give our all.

“We’ve had a good start but that’s all it is - a start.

“There’s a long way to go and we’re coming up to a busy October.”

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