Harrogate Town 1 Grimsby Town 0: 'Fantastic defensive performance' earns Sulphurites another home win

Harrogate Town captain George Thomson is congratulated by team-mate Matty Daly after netting what proved to be the winning goal during Tuesday night's League Two clash with Grimsby. Picture: Harrogate Town AFCHarrogate Town captain George Thomson is congratulated by team-mate Matty Daly after netting what proved to be the winning goal during Tuesday night's League Two clash with Grimsby. Picture: Harrogate Town AFC
Harrogate Town captain George Thomson is congratulated by team-mate Matty Daly after netting what proved to be the winning goal during Tuesday night's League Two clash with Grimsby. Picture: Harrogate Town AFC
Simon Weaver credited his Harrogate Town side with producing a “fantastic defensive performance” after watching them grind out a third consecutive home win.

George Thomson’s superb long-range strike shortly after half-time proved sufficient to earn the Sulphurites a 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town which keeps their League Two play-off “dream” alive.

But, by contrast to recent home triumphs over Gillingham and Bradford where the goals have flowed, Tuesday night’s narrow success against the relegation-threatened Mariners owed much to a resolute rearguard action.

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Playing into a strong wind in the first half, Harrogate’s back-line stood strong as the visitors delivered plenty of testing balls into their penalty area, and remained switched on after the interval when they had a slender advantage to protect.

Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt KirkhamSulphurites boss Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

"I’m really pleased with a clean-sheet,” Weaver said. "They probably edged the territory in the first half, but that was probably the elements. I didn’t think that we were in any danger.

"There was obviously the disallowed ‘goal’, which I think has been proven right to be given offside, but other than that it was a fantastic defensive performance in our box. There was a gale-force wind, everything was launched in and if you are fragile then you concede in those circumstances, but we weren’t.

“It was a gritty 1-0 win in awful conditions, the wind was so strong out there. Once they had won the toss we knew it would be ‘up and at us’ in the first half with the wind behind them, and everything was launched into the box.

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"There was good resilience shown and we had to show a stubborn side because Grimsby have everything to play for, they are fighting for survival and had good attacking players to come off the bench. So, we couldn’t just think ‘job done’ at half-time in terms of the defensive aspect, but we expected to be able to get the ball down and play in the second half – and we did.

"It was very stop-start in the first half and I am sure that for the neutral it wasn’t a great spectacle until the second half, when I thought that we played in a controlled manner when we could and scored a spectacular goal through George Thomson."

The game’s decisive moment arrived just three minutes into the second half when Thomson received a pass from Levi Sutton, turned and advanced towards the Grimsby goal before rifling a fine 30-yard effort into the top corner with his weaker left foot.

On chalking up a third win in a row at Wetherby Road following an extremely lean patch on home soil, Weaver added: “It’s very pleasing because it shows that even though it was a difficult spell at home and it could have been a real mental hurdle that we couldn’t overcome, we have.

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"We mentioned it in the changing room, and I think that it is important. We want people buying season tickets, getting behind us and believing in what we are building, and it is really helping right now in building up some momentum.

"It bodes well already for next season, but first things first, we’ve got another two important home games.”

Tuesday’s result lifts Town two places to 11th in the League Two standings where they now find themselves just four points shy of the division’s final play-off berth.

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