Barrow 0 Harrogate Town 3: Simon Weaver's praise for his goal-scoring centre-backs
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver was full of praise for centre-backs Will Smith and Connor Hall after watching them shine in both boxes during Tuesday evening's National League triumph over Barrow.
Smith scored twice before Hall added the visitors' third of the night, while the pair also defended resolutely to help secure a clean-sheet in what was just their second competitive outing playing alongside each other.
Neither man was at his best best during the early stages of Saturday's season-opener at home to Solihull Moors, but they both went on to produce assured performances in Cumbria as Town emerged victorious by a 3-0 scoreline.
"I'm delighted for the two centre-backs because there's been constant conversation and talk about who is not here and who should be here, but we've got two good lads in the building," said Weaver, referencing the transfer of the recently-departed Callum Howe.
"They performed very well in their defensive duties and scored three good set-piece goals.
"If you look at Will, he scored a brace, and for a 20-year-old coming into a new club it's got to be great for his confidence, while Connor Hall's thumping header summed the night up.
"Full credit to those to players, it's early days and no-one is going over the top on any individual, or collectively, but it's still nice to pick up four points from two games."
Weaver felt that performance of Smith and Hall, and indeed the rest of Town's new-look defensive unit was all the more impressive given the difficult conditions that they were faced with during the first half.
"It was swirling around," he added.
"It was an unpredictable wind and very hard for the back four to read it, but we defended narrow and defended resiliently.
"Full credit to them. When you look at last year's second game away at Hartlepool, we let in two daft goals, so it's really pleasing for basically a new back-four to claim a clean-sheet."
Weaver revealed that Town travelled to Barrow having targeted the fixture as one that they needed to win, adding that he was satisfied with a haul of four points from their first two matches of the new campaign.
"We're ambitious. We aimed for three points and that's not being disrespectful to the opposition because we know they're a good footballing team, but if we're serious about wanting to do well then we have to get points on the board as quickly as possible," he said.
"Tonight was an opportunity and we fully took advantage of it. I'm proud of the lads.
"This league is unpredictable so you cannot take anything for granted but four points from two games, we'd have definitely taken that before Saturday [the 2-2 draw with Solihull Moors].
"Woking [this Saturday] will be a completely different challenge because they've got momentum from their promotion last year and we've got to work just as hard to get something from the game."
Tuesday's victory leaves Town second in the National League standings after two matches, a couple of points shy of leaders FC Halifax Town.