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Hams plays down Stags play-off hopes after cup exit
Walton Casuals boss Mark Hams has said talk of the play-offs is premature – particularly if his side do not find a ruthless streak.
The Stags crashed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle on Saturday as they let a 1-0 lead slip to go down 2-1 at Shoreham in a game they dominated for large parts.
Hams, who took charge at Waterside Drive in the summer, has taken Casuals to fourth in the Ryman Division One South table.
But the manager is playing down his side’s chances of holding on to a top six finish.
“There are whispers about a top six finish, but it is way too early for that,” he said.
“You cannot go from being relegated and being reprieved to expecting to be in the play-offs. That is just not fair on us or the club.
“We are a side that will score goals, with the likes of Connor French and Bobby Traynor in the team, but it is a question of keeping the ball out at the other end.
“I’m gutted for the club that we are out of the cup because it would have been nice to stick a couple of grand in the bank.
“But I woke up on Sunday and we were still fourth in the table, so that is a positive.”
And despite the exit Hams is still enjoying life at the helm.
“It is nice when things go right, but I always pass the credit on to the players as they are guys who go out on the pitch and do the work,” he added.
“When it goes wrong it is a lonely old place because you are the one taking all the stick.”
Casuals, who expect Traynor to return to action at the weekend, continue their league campaign when Redhill visit this weekend.
Meanwhile, Ryman Division One South rivals Walton & Hersham capped a miserable cup weekend for Elmbridge also crashed out of the cup at the first hurdle as they went down 2-0 at home to Horsham.
They return to league action at Crawley Down Gatwick on Saturday.
Combined Counties Premier Division side Molesey at least secured a replay as they drew 3-3 at Folkestone Invicta.
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