Jarrod Bowen admits West Ham dropped their standards after narrowly escaping FA Cup humiliation.
The forward’s 10th goal of the season bailed the Hammers out as they squeezed past heroic Kidderminster 2-1 after extra time.
Bowen scored seconds before the game would have gone to penalties to break Harriers’ hearts after Declan Rice’s injury-time leveller forced extra time.
Alex Penny had given the National League North hosts, 113 places below their visitors, the lead and Bowen knows they got out of jail to book a fifth-round trip to Southampton.
“We were disappointed with ourselves and were nowhere near at it,” he told the club’s official website.
“We know with the levels and the spirit in this group, the character, the desire, we stuck at it and got the goals to come away with the win in the end.
“I thought Kidderminster were excellent. Their crowd gave the perfect atmosphere for them and that’s what it means to play against a Premier League team.
“I’ve never played against a Premier League team (for a lower league side) but I know what it is to be a non-league player and putting yourself out there so to speak.
“Massive credit to them, they were really good but at the end of the day we’re happy to have gone through.
“We don’t want to make excuses for ourselves, we’re professional players playing at a high level and we need to get to our standards, where we want to be.
“Before we scored the second goal, and it was close to penalties which we know is a lottery, it started to feel like it might not come. We had to keep plugging away and maybe get that one chance. Thankfully we did.
“Let’s get back to it and get our levels back up for Watford.”
Harriers now travel to Telford on Saturday and boss Russ Penn remains proud of his side.
He said: “We’ve got such a lot of the season to play. I’m disappointed because we’ve come that close, I think it would’ve felt better had we lost three or four-nil.
“The changes they made at half-time and after 60 minutes were unbelievable and we take great pride that they had to do that.
“It will be that one where the players say: ‘How close were we?’
“We’ve got a promotion to go for or play-offs to reach. We are under no illusions we’ve got a very hard 20 or so games. We should take great heart from this now and hopefully this is a catalyst to push on.”
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