Town boss blames poor second-half showing for FA Cup exit

Josh Falkingham was on target for Harrogate Town in their FA Cup defeat to Gainsborough Trinity. Picture: Town Pix

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver felt that a poor second 45 minutes cost his side in their FA Cup fourth qualifying round defeat to Gainsborough Trinity.

The hosts took a 1-0 goal advantage into half-time thanks to a Josh Falkingham strike, but conceded just 30 seconds after the resumption and then again on the hour-mark on their way to a 2-1 defeat.

“The second half we didn’t start well at all. We’ve got to do better in our area and that’s where we’ve lost the game,” Weaver said.

“The reaction [to conceding the equaliser] wasn’t great, we had a bit of a wobble, we weren’t fluid and getting on the ball and playing, and that’s our strength.

“We knew their threat from set-plays, we dealt with it very well first half, and we made that comment at half-time, but second half not as well and it’s cost us the game.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to give credit to the opposition. I thought that they worked their socks off, their keeper had a stormer, their defenders were flying in front of everything and you could see how much it meant to them.

“It meant just as much to us, but today wasn’t our day.”

With just over 10 minutes to go until the break in Saturday’s clash at the CNG Stadium, Falkingham broke the deadlock, charging in from midfield to finish after George Thomson’s long-range strike had been parried.

It could have been two a couple of minutes later as Jordan Thewlis was a fraction away from converting Ryan Fallowfield’s pacy cross, but couldn’t quite provide the finishing touch.

Thewlis did have the ball in the net from the last play of the half after beating Trinity gloveman Henrich Ravas one on one, only to look up and see the linesman’s flag raised for offside.

The Holy Blues equalised just 30 seconds into the second period after free-kick whipped in by Craig King was headed into the top corner of the home net by Nathan Jarman.

Despite Thewlis and Leesley both going close to putting Town back into the lead, Gainsborough turned the tie on its’ head on the hour-mark as Michael Jacklin’s back-post header saw the hosts again concede from a set-piece.

Jack Emmett nearly levelled the scores moments later, racing through from midfield and lifting the ball over Ravas, only to see the stopper save at full stretch.

Second-half substitute Mitch Curry was next to go close, but couldn’t get sufficient contact on Emmett’s cross to really trouble Ravas.

Noel Burdett was introduced from the bench and Terry Kennedy thrown up front in an effort to find an equaliser, though it wasn’t to be as Town again failed to reach the first round proper of the competition.

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