Town finally turn a corner

100813  Liam Hardy of Harrogate Town  lifts the ball over Chris Burows the Harrogate Railway goalkeeper to opening the scoring.
100813 Liam Hardy of Harrogate Town lifts the ball over Chris Burows the Harrogate Railway goalkeeper to opening the scoring.

Harrogate Town returned to winning ways this week and boss Simon Weaver hopes they have turned a corner.

Town made good on the promise of Saturday’s heart-thumping 3-3 draw at Boston to crush Skrill North basement side Workington 3-0 on Tuesday.

It halts a grim run of five defeats for Weaver’s men, who are up to 11th in the table, and face a weekend off before returning to league action at home to Oxford City on November 2.

They were due to visit leaders Hednesford Town this Saturday, but the game has been put back to Tuesday, December 10 because of Hednesford’s FA Cup progression.

“You live and die by your results, and I’ll get hammered if we don’t get the results and rightly so,” he said.

“I had to do something on Saturday, we changed things around, and it went for us.

“The confidence from Saturday then showed against Workington on Tuesday.”

Three-nil down at half time and staring a sixth defeat in the face at Boston, Weaver gambled with three half-time substitutions, replacing Michael Woods, Anton Brown and Adam Bolder with Craig Nelthorpe, Dominic Rowe and Liam Hardy.

It paid dividends as Hardy fired home in the 68th minute, before Rowe’s curling effort made it 3-2.

With five minutes on the clock, substitute Netan Sansara’s woeful tackle on Leigh Franks was punished with a straight red card and a Town penalty.

On-loan Grimsby striker Dayle Southwell fired past Ashley Timms to complete an inspiring comeback.

Weaver kept faith with the team of the second half for Tuesday’s win over Workington, with Woods, Brown and Bolder all left out.

Ashley Worsfold and Chris Hall joined the bench, alongside Paul Beesley who returned from Railway.

And once again, Weaver’s decision was vindicated as Hardy scored in the second minute before a rocket from Craig Nelthorpe made it 2-0 after the half-hour.

Hardy bagged a second to kill off the game in the 57th minute as Town wrapped up three precious points.

Weaver explained the thinking behind his selection.

“At three-nil down on Saturday, it was bad,” he said.

“We’d stuck with the same diamond formation we’d used over the last five games and tried to be consistent as it was creating chances.

“But Boston were exposing us for being a bit pedestrian and slow to the ball, and their pace hurt us.

“So I took a gamble, put three players on who I know all have pace and would give us more width at 4-4-2.

“It made a big difference. We’ve stuck with that and we’ve scored six goals in two games.”

The coach insisted his changes were purely dictated by the need for speed out wide, and that there was no hidden agenda behind the leaving out of marquee names.

“We’ve been vulnerable to counter-attacks and pace, and while we were creating chancess we weren’t scoring,” he said.

“There has to be a point where you change direction.

“Liam and Dominic made a big difference, they’ve struck up an understanding, but the attacking midfield of Craig Nelthorpe and Adam Nowakowski has also made us look more fresh.

“Cleveland Taylor has given us another dimension too.

“It’s a long season, we have to be able to use all our players.

“There are no alarm bells, nobody’s unhappy. It’s a squad mentality, and nobody can take their place for granted.”

Scoring three without reply against the league’s bottom side on Tuesday was a decent if not slightly modest return, so could Town have knocked up a cricket score?

“It could have been more, but the pleasing thing was we kept a clean sheet after letting five in over our previous two games,” said Weaver.

“We need to get on a run. Eleventh certainly looks better, and if it wasn’t for the three deducted points we’d be six points off the play-offs.”