Town boss backing players to avenge Darlo defeat when sides meet again

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: B & O Press Photo
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: B & O Press Photo
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Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver doesn’t believe his side did too much wrong in their recent defeat to Darlington, but says his players are determined to make up for the loss when the teams meet again on New Year’s Day.

Two red cards and two penalties ensured that the men from the CNG Stadium’s 2017 ended in disappointment as a struggling Quakers outfit ran out 3-1 winners on Boxing Day.

Yet Weaver said there is no cause to be “too downbeat” about the result, insisting that Town are focused on making amends on home turf come 3pm on Monday.

“We played well for large periods of the game, did well between the two boxes and dominated possession - but you’ve got to turn it into goals,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“Ultimately, a couple of moments of ill-discipline and some rash decisions have cost us.

“I think you can put it down to a little bit of immaturity, but we won’t over analyse it or get too downbeat. We know where we went wrong and we’ll learn from this.

“The positive is that we know that we did a lot of things well and we need to carry those things into New Year’s Day. We want to put this result right.

“The lads are fired up for it, there’s no doubt about that, and we can’t wait.”

Having got themselves back in the game at 2-1 thanks to Simon Ainge’s 65th-minute strike, Town’s hopes of salvaging something at Blackwell Meadows were ended by late red cards for Warren Burrell and Terry Kennedy.

Reflecting on the dismissal of both of his centre-halves, Weaver said he wasn’t entirely convinced that either decision was warranted.

“There were a few bodies between myself and Warren’s challenge, but the problem is, the ball is moving away from him, he’s stretching and if the tackle ends up a lunge then he’s leaving himself wide open ” the Town boss continued.

“What is disappointing is that there’s a load of their players immediately surrounding the referee. There are also 1,800 Darlington fans baying for blood and obviously these things effect the decision that the official makes.

“In this kind of a situation you fear the worst, but what we have to learn is not to dive in and put ourselves in that position where the referee can show a red card.

“Terry was unlucky because the referee should have blown for an initial foul on him in the first place, but he let play go on and then penalised us. I was disappointed that he gave the penalty and sent Terry off as well.”

With their bans not set to kick in immediately, both Burrell and Kennedy will be available for Monday’s re-match where a victory could see Town close the gap on National League North leaders Salford City to just three points.

The Ammies were beaten 3-2 by local rivals FC United of Manchester on Boxing Day, yet Weaver’s men missed out on the chance to move within touching distance of the summit.

“How you look at these results depends on whether you are a glass half-full or glass half-empty kind of person,” Weaver continued.

“I try to see the positives, and yes we could have gone to within three points of Salford, but I’m just very pleased that us losing at Darlington doesn’t leave us nine behind them.”

Kick-off at the CNG Stadium on Monday is at 3pm and fans are reminded that the fixture will be segregated.

Town have advised supporters of both teams to purchase their tickets online in advance to ensure a smooth and quick entry into the ground.

Home fans will be able to access the stadium via the North turnstiles.