Harrogate Town won't get too downhearted after Cheltenham Town defeat, but must learn lessons

Nobody in the Harrogate Town camp will be getting too down in the wake of Tuesday night's narrow defeat to a Cheltenham team who will almost certainly be involved in the League Two title race this term.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 10:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 10:20 pm
Harrogate Town striker Josh March tries to escape the attentions of Cheltenham skipper Ben Tozer. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

But, manager Simon Weaver is demanding that his players learn valuable lessons from the experience, having seen the visiting Robins do a job on them on a freezing cold night at the EnviroVent Stadium.

The Sulphurites had delivered a pair of bright attacking displays and created numerous goal-scoring opportunities in their previous two outings, following up a 2-1 home win over Newport County with a 3-1 success on the road at Crawley.

Cheltenham had certainly done their homework, however, and their five-man defence squeezed high up the field, leaving Town's midfield very little space to play in, thus depriving strikers Josh March and Aaron Martin of anything resembling decent service.

Town boss Simon Weaver watches on from the sidelines at the EnviroVent Stadium.

And this inability to break down such stubborn opponents is just one aspect of their game which Tuesday's loss highlighted as an area that his players must work on.

"There's a lesson to be learned from this defeat and we have to continue to learn. This is the season for doing it so that we are stronger next season," he said.

"We've had two great performances and obviously bagging six points was a massive tonic for everyone at the club. Tonight was a third game on the trot that was always going to be hard against an experienced and well-oiled team.

"We won't get too down, but if you're just chirpy after a game and happy go lucky then it would show that it doesn't mean enough, and that we expect little else other than to lose.

"We expected it to be a hard-fought battle and a narrow victory for one of the teams - we hoped it would be for us. We're not going into games like this with the expectation of running through the opposition because Cheltenham are a very good team at what they do and this ended up being a game played more on their terms than ours.

"We just have to better at our game and make sure that we don't let games fizzle out in the manner it did tonight. We have to work on the concentration side of the game defensively and physically, we need to be a lot more aggressive. There are things we can do better, but we're still learning at this level and we go again on Saturday."