AFC Telford United: Liam Watson sacked by Conference club

Liam Watson
Liam Watson's Telford team was predominantly made up of players who had played for him in his days at Southport

AFC Telford United have sacked manager Liam Watson and assistant Dominic Morley, just eight months after they led the club back to the Conference.

The 44-year-old Liverpudlian was dismissed following Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Chester in the FA Trophy.

Telford are nine points adrift at the bottom of the Conference table.

Watson left Southport to join Telford in May 2013 after the Bucks' relegation to the Conference North, leading them straight back up as champions.

But the team have struggled at a higher level, losing 16 and winning just four of their 24 Conference matches this season.

A club statement said: "We would like to thank them both for their effort and commitment since joining the club, and more importantly their unique achievements of winning the club's first-ever championship in 62 years and for taking the club to the second round of the FA Cup for the first time ever.

"The club and trust board will now work quickly to appoint a permanent successor."

BBC Radio Shropshire's Nick Southall
"Telford feel they had no choice but to make a change with the club bottom of the Conference and a crucial run of games to come over Christmas.
"But I still believe Liam Watson could have turned the situation around, with money to spend in January from the Bucks' FA Cup run.
"We mustn't forget what he has achieved with Telford. He inherited a squad that had broken the Conference record for the longest winless streak in the league's history. He won the Conference North at the first time of asking and restored some much-needed pride in the club.
"He's not someone I'd expect to be out of a job for too long as I still regard him as one of the best managers around."

Watson's sacking came less than week after a heartening stoppage-time FA Cup second round defeat at League One leaders Bristol City, but they lost 2-1 to fellow strugglers Welling United last Tuesday night to extend their current run in the Conference to just one point out of a possible 15.

His final public act as manager was to give a post-match interview to BBC Radio Shropshire following Saturday's Trophy tie with Chester when he took the opportunity to praise the efforts of his players after Jordan Deacey had equalised Kingsley James' penalty.

"We still deserve to be in the hat for the next round," said Watson. "It was a soft penalty. It looks like he has clipped our player rather than the other way around - but obviously the way things have been going for us it was always going to be given.

"We put so much into that FA Cup tie last weekend and ended up losing a few players as a result, which doesn't help our situation. We've lost five central defenders, so the performance is immense, taking that into consideration. When we broke through we looked dangerous."

The FA Trophy first round replay with Chester will be at Bumpers Lane on Tuesday 23 December (19:45 GMT).

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