Harrogate Town feel 'weight of the world lifted' following Carlisle United success

Simon Weaver said it felt as if the “weight of the world had been lifted from everyone’s shoulders” following Harrogate Town’s 3-0 victory over Carlisle United.

By Rhys Howell
Monday, 25th April 2022, 12:34 pm
Jack Diamond celebrates after putting Harrogate Town 3-0 up against Carlisle United in stoppage-time. Picture: Matthew Appleby
Jack Diamond celebrates after putting Harrogate Town 3-0 up against Carlisle United in stoppage-time. Picture: Matthew Appleby

The injury-ravaged Sulphurites went into Saturday’s fixture off the back of four straight defeats and having lost eight of their previous 10 League Two matches.

But, with safety confirmed courtesy of Oldham Athletic’s Easter Monday reverse at Forest Greeen, the Wetherby Road outfit played with far more freedom and served up a much-improved performance.

Jack Diamond’s brace either side of Rory McArdle’s header did the damage, though Harrogate created enough chances to have won the game by a significantly greater margin.

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“As a team, it feels like the weight of the world had been lifted from everyone’s shoulders,” Weaver reflected.

“I think there has been some tension. Pressure does take its toll as well as the ridiculous amount of injuries, but today I thought we played with a freedom and there were some outstanding individual performances. It’s testament to the attitude of the players because confidence has been low.

“It was tangible. I could feel it. There’s no point me saying we did this or this different in training, the Oldham result last week was a big relief for us knowing that we were mathematically safe.

“Relegation wasn’t even talked about, but you could feel that a bit of fear had crept in because these are honest lads and they’d realised we were slipping down the table. So, today was like a release."

The freedom Town played with enabled them to create numerous goal-scoring opportunities against lacklustre opposition, and although Weaver felt his side should have been more ruthless, he believes that adding a second goal when they were on top was key.

The Sulphurites began recent home fixtures against Hartlepool and Colchester brightly and scored early without really capitalising on being in the ascendancy. They eventually went on to lose both matches 2-1.

"It was good football wasn't it, it was flowing, it was what we like to see from the lads and it could have been seven or eight in the end," Weaver added.

"There have been very few games this season where you could say we haven't created anything, but we were particularly creative today, we should really have put them to the sword.

"Getting the second was definitely crucial. There have been a lot of games where we've started well and been right on top but have needed to get to that next stage of confidence that the second goal brings.

"You've got to earn that and put the ball in the back of the net, hurt teams and hurt their confidence. We haven't done it in recent weeks [at home to Hartlepool and Colchester] to really nail down that feeling good about ourselves in the game, but today we have."

Saturday's victory lifts Harrogate one pace to 19th in the League Two standings with two games remaining this term.