Aaron Martin will be 'disappointed' not to have netted during Harrogate Town's defeat to Morecambe FC, says Simon Weaver

Aaron Martin will undoubtedly have been hoping to mark his new Harrogate Town contract with a goal against Morecambe on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 10:03 am
Updated Sunday, 21st March 2021, 10:52 am
Harrogate Town striker Aaron Martin competes in the air with Morecambe's Alex Kenyon. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

But, the 29-year-old striker, who agreed a two-year extension at Wetherby Road this week, failed to do so despite being presented with three good opportunities to get on the score-sheet.

He was off-target with a trio of close-range headers as the Sulphurites failed to recover from falling behind to a Carlos Mendes-Gomes goal which arrived within 60 seconds of kick-off.

And Town manager Simon Weaver said that he is sure that his powerhouse centre-forward will be frustrated that he didn't manage to stick at least one of his chances away.

Simon Weaver was unimpressed by much of what he saw on Saturday afternoon.

"I think Aaron will be very disappointed that he's not on the score-sheet," he said.

"At least he's won a header, because some went up there but were nowhere to be seen. He's shown the desire to make the first contact but he has got to find the target.

"He'll sometimes go for extra runs as punishment after a game, it's not me sending him out there to do it, he's just desperate to succeed.

"But, he's here for another couple of years now after he signed his new contract and he'll be determined to keep improving."

Having fallen behind when Mendes-Gomes capitalised on some weak defending by Simon Power and saw his strike deflected past James Belshaw by the sliding Will Smith, Town could have been dead and buried by the 17th minute.

Belshaw did superbly to deny both John O'Sullivan and Cole Stockton one-on-one, either side of Mendes-Gomes thudding an effort against the upright.

But all of the game's best chances after that point fell to the home team.

Martin's first opportunity was probably the most difficult of the lot, the Harrogate number 10 nodding Power's right-wing cross narrowly over at the far post.

He then missed a much easier chance when directing a free header from George Thomson's free-kick the wrong side of the post, and did similar in the second half having met Dan Jones' long throw-in on the edge of the six-yard-box.

Morecambe then saw Nathaniel Knight-Percival dismissed for a second bookable offence, and moments later Jack Muldoon glanced Thomson's corner from the right onto the woodwork.

But, for all of the chances that his side created, and despite the fact that they were playing against 10 men for more than a quarter-of-an-hour, Weaver admitted that he never really felt as if an equaliser was on the cards.

"When you're a goal down and you need to break an experienced Football League defence down, you have to shift the ball quickly, but we struggle to do that on this surface," he added.

"Our pitch is not conducive to a fast-flowing game, it's a battle of both boxes on here and Morecambe were better than us in those areas.

"We had 17 balls into the box in the first half, some of which were very useful looking deliveries, but we weren't aggressive enough and didn't have that killer instinct.

"Dan Jones' long throw-in is a fantastic weapon to have, but you've got to have that real desire and physicality to take advantage of it. We should have that in the ranks.

"We've got some bigger lads than them. We've got to win the first ball. We lacked edge, which really winds me up, to be honest.

"Even when they went down to 10 men, the players didn't give me much confidence that an equaliser was coming."

Defeat drops Town down to 13th in the League Two standings and leaves them nine points shy of a play-off berth.