Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver insists his youthful side are learning from defeats more than the squad of players that started the campaign.
Town fell to a 17th defeat of the campaign at home to promotion chasing AFC Fylde 4-1 in the Sulphurites’ final match at home this season.
Fylde’s victory meant the Vanarama North title race goes into the final week of the season, with Barrow two points in front at the head of the table.
Weaver’s Harrogate side have nothing other than pride to play for, when they head to Stockport County in their final clash for a second successive season.
Should results go Town’s way on the final day, they could still finish as high as tenth with a victory in Stockport. A defeat could mean they finish as low as 17th.
The gaffer urged his side to give the enthusiastic Town support one last thing to cheer about. However, the loud Town faithful face a challenge to match the noise created by the County faithful, with the former league side averaging more than 2,500 spectators per match.
“The support has been awesome this season, we will be looking to pull in one last shift for the away following on Saturday,” he said.
Weaver said his side were disappointed to send the home fans away miserable on Saturday despite taking the game to high-flying Fylde in the early stages. James Walshaw’s second goal in as many games gave Town a lead inside 20 minutes, but goals either side of half-time took the second-placed visitors in front.
Fylde then rubbed salt into Town’s wounds with two late goals.
“The difference between the top teams and the mid-table teams is the consistency,” Weaver said.
“After 25 minutes I thought we were going to go on and win it quite well but after Paul Clayton had to go and get treatment on his head injury, we stopped doing what was hurting them.
“The one thing we have now, though, is that the young lads will learn from that. We were probably trying to play out of the penalty box too much. Even in the Premier League there are times when you need to put it into a good area.
“It’s those little things that these young lads will pick up on and take forward into next year.
“That’s the difference now. Earlier in the season, our problem was that we were a side that wasn’t learning from defeats.
“Since Christmas, every time we have lost we have learnt from it.”