Harrogate Town 1 Portsmouth 2: We were three minutes away from FA Cup disaster - Simon Weaver

Harrogate Town bowed out of the FA Cup at the first round stage on Monday night, losing out 2-1 to 2008 winners Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 10:59 am
Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver, second right, leads a discussion with chairman Irving Weaver, left, and some of his back-room team in the dark at the CNG Stadium. Picture: Getty Images

At one stage, however, the outcome of the match looked as if it was going to be the least of the National League outfit's worries.

With BT Sport cameras poised and viewers from across the nation tuning in hoping to witness a good old fashioned giant killing, the CNG Stadium was plunged into darkness.

Thousands of fans were shut out of the ground and forced to stand and wait on Wetherby Road in the pouring rain due to a power outage which meant that there was no electricity to parts of the stadium.

Kick-off was delayed by 55 minutes, and although proceedings eventually got underway at 8.40pm, Town manager Simon Weaver has revealed that arguably the biggest game in the club's history came within three minutes of being abandoned without a ball being kicked.

"We were three minutes from it being called off when it [the power to the stadium's floodlights] went off again," he said.

"Just after 25 past eight, the referee has pulled me in to the referee's room with Kenny Jackett [Portsmouth's manager] and said 'if it doesn't come back on or it goes off again then the game is off'.

"I'm thinking of the crowd outside. I'm thinking of credibility, even though it's a National Grid problem within the area, people will probably think it's the club's fault.

"It was really trying. The last few minutes tried me. Before that, I thought that if I get into a flap and start running around - I haven't got a clue about electrical stuff - I'm hoping that someone better than me could make better decisions than I could.

"I just wanted the game on and so did they [Portsmouth] so we had a common goal to play a game of football."