MARC Benterman said it was down to him as manager to lift his Witham Town players and get them back to winning ways in BetVictor Isthmian League division north.

They will have been buoyed by a 6-3 victory at Hashtag United on Wednesday that propelled them into the fourth round of the Essex Senior Cup.

A Scott Kemp hat-trick alongside strikes from Marcus Bowers, George Bugg and Lewis Byrne Hewitt brought Witham a timely cup success, but their league form has stuttered in recent weeks.

After a 4-1 drubbing at Heybridge Swifts last weekend and ahead of a home game against Felixstowe & Walton United on Saturday (kick-off 3pm), Witham have not won in any of their last four division north outings.

That run has seen them drop to 16th in the table and Benterman knows Saturday's action, which is against one of only four sides currently below them, is an important fixture.

Not only would a win lift Witham up the table, but it would boost confidence and Benterman said it would be his responsibility to make sure his players had the right mindset for it.

He said: “Having a tough run like we've had will knock confidence and it’s down to me as a manager to keep the team’s heads up and to try and improve that.

“But look at the teams we’ve played – Tilbury, Aveley, Heybridge – they are all up there and the league table doesn’t lie.

“Add in Maldon and Bury as well and they are all top-six sides, so we’ve had a difficult start and it’s tough to get momentum when you have that.

“We’ve done well in some games like against Bury, Tilbury and Aveley, but we’ve been taught lessons in some others and that’s a gap we need to bridge.

“We’re a new squad so it’s very difficult but we need to learn quickly.

“That’s hard because of the turnover of games at this level."

Despite their current run of form, though, Benterman knows it has been a largely positive start to the campaign for a side that was only brought together in the summer after he took charge at the start of pre-season.

While a display like the one at Heybridge last weekend was disappointing, the Town boss felt his team weren't far off being in a much healthier position in the table.

He added: “The chairman said to me at the start of the season that the club expected us to be competitive, which we are.

“We’ve had our moments like we did in the first half at Heybridge on Saturday and also at Maldon, but I think we’ve been competitive other than that.

“It’s really all about winning the games against sides in and around you and if we can do that then we will be alright.

“After ten games, you get a rough idea of where you’re going to be and I think we know how things will look.

“We know we could have got two more points against Bury and against Romford and that would have put us in the top half, so we’re not too far short.

“It’s fine margins, but after a performance like we had at Heybridge, you’re left scratching your head again.

“We need to start putting points on the table now and this game against Felixstowe on Saturday is looking like a six-pointer already.

“Win that game and we’re back in the mix again.

“We have done well and maybe we should be more upbeat than we are, but we are all winners and we want more.

“Where we are is not good enough for where I want to be and it’s a massive game coming up against Felixstowe as they are down there with us.

“It’s been a tough start, but it will only get tougher so we have to regroup and push on now."