View from the press box: Differing opinions on City defeat, but we can all agree that Woods strike was special

Harrogate Advertiser Series sports editor Rhys Howell has his say on the latest goings-on at Harrogate Town.

Thursday, 29th November 2018, 12:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th November 2018, 12:55 pm
Michael Woods volleys home THAT goal against Braintree. Picture: Matt Kirkham

It is, as they say, a funny old game.

Harrogate Town’s performance at Salford City on Tuesday evening really impressed me.

They went to the Peninsula Stadium and took the game to their much-fancied, big-spending hosts, outplayed them for much of the contest, and certainly didn’t deserve to finish up empty-handed.

I know for a fact that I’m not alone in that view.

Indeed, those sat next to me in the press box – BBC Radio York’s Barry Parker and Town media manager Hal Boxhall-Dockree both expressed similar sentiments; Simon Weaver’s men played very well, particularly during the first half. Defeat was undeserved. Salford got lucky.

Yet, when Weaver and his assistant Paul Thirlwell emerged from the dressing room post game, their message was entirely different.

Neither man thought their side deserved anything from the game, so bad was their defending at times.

While acknowledging the positive aspects of the Town display, particularly in the final third, both Weaver and Thirlwell dismissed any notion that the visitors were unlucky, insisting that no team can expect to go to Salford, gift away three goals and still hope to come away with any kind of a result.

So, rather contrasting takes on the Harrogate performance, but understandably so.

The root of Weaver and Thirlwell’s frustration was that their players did more than enough to win what will undoubtedly be up there with their toughest away trips of the season, then undid all their hard work by conceding goals that were probably avoidable.

From my perspective, I thought that Town deserved praise for being brave enough to take the game to Salford and for having the quality and skills to get themselves into a position to win the match.

That, however is not enough for Weaver, nor should it be.

He’ll take no consolation from the fact that his team gave a good account of themselves on the night. He is striving to keep moving this club forwards and the only way to do so is by beating the likes of Salford.

It’s a sign of how far Town have come and the high standards they’ve set that this is their outlook.

One thing I’m certain of is that absolutely everyone with a pair of functioning eyes will agree that Michael Woods’ strike against Braintree on Saturday was a moment to treasure.

It’s probably the best goal I’ve ever seen live, and was the perfect way for him to cap his second coming at Wetherby Road.