Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver asks questions of senior players following Crawley Town defeat

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver attempts to encourage his players from the sidelines during Saturday's 3-1 loss at Crawley. Pictures: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town manager Simon Weaver attempts to encourage his players from the sidelines during Saturday's 3-1 loss at Crawley. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver attempts to encourage his players from the sidelines during Saturday's 3-1 loss at Crawley. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Simon Weaver has revealed that he spent the first part of this week seeking answers regarding Harrogate Town’s woeful performance away at Crawley.

The Sulphurites served up a shocking display against their fellow strugglers on Saturday afternoon, passing up the chance to move 12 points clear of the League Two drop zone as they slumped to a 3-1 loss.

Town headed down to Sussex in good shape, fresh off the back of a 2-0 win at Doncaster Rovers and having lost just one of their previous seven matches.

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But they started poorly against the Red Devils, falling a goal down after just eight minutes and failing to recover.

So disappointed was he with what he saw from his side on the day, Weaver felt compelled to apologise to the club’s travelling supporters after the final whistle.

And having stated that he felt as if his players “got sloppy” after their victory over Doncaster, he decided to hold a meeting with a group of the club’s senior professionals in an attempt to get to the bottom of what went wrong down in Crawley.

"Saturday was a real anticlimax, I think it hit us harder than a defeat normally would because it was such a good performance at Doncaster in the previous game,” Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

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"We were really looking forward to going to Crawley, thinking that we were in a good place and in a position where we could drive on and potentially open up that 12-point gap – but we came unstuck.

"These lads here are good, honest lads and they acknowledged that it wasn’t good enough, but I was left dumbfounded by our display. They can't just turn it on and turn it off.

"The fans who travelled, they deserved so much better than that, and it’s my job to probe and ask questions about why we came up so short in what was such a big game for us.”

On those discussions with his players, Weaver revealed: “I’ve had chats one-on-one and more intimate discussions with four or five of the experienced lads to try and fathom what went wrong.

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"I think it's my job to look into their eyes and really question the care on the day.

“I could see the hurt in those players' faces to even have that questioned. They do care about this club, I know that, but it’s my responsibility to make sure.

"I knew there was a wretched feeling amongst those lads but sometimes you have got to probe and question that.

"I see these players every day and I know how motivated they are to do well for this club, however that doesn’t mean that after a performance like we saw on Saturday we can’t be telling them ‘don't be denied, be stronger, be better’.”

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Reflecting on what he took away from the feedback he was given, Weaver added: "There was an honesty about what was said, but even those lads were scratching their heads as to what went wrong for us.

"Maybe it was the pressure of playing a team below us in the table and possibly being expected to win. The pressure was off us when we went to Doncaster a few days before, but we have to be able to handle the pressure when it comes.

"I think it is a common misconception that players didn’t try or they don’t care enough after a really poor performance, however I know that is not the case with these lads.

"But they had set their standards in recent games and now they’ve got to live up to them and maintain them going forward.”

Defeat at Crawley saw Town drop two places to 21st in the League Two standings. They return to action this Saturday when they entertain Barrow, 3pm kick-off.