Harrogate Town's players determined not to let strong start to the season fizzle out, says George Thomson
Harrogate Town's players are determined not to let their strong start to 2021/22 fizzle out, George Thomson says.
A return of just one point from the last nine on offer has seen the Sulphurites drop down from second in the League Two standings to fifth position ahead of this weekend's clash with Bristol Rovers.
Two goals to the good at half-time at Hartlepool United on Saturday, Town collapsed in the second period and went on to lose the game 3-2, slumping to a second defeat in the space of a week having been beaten just once in their opening 12 league outings.
Painful though that experience in County Durham was, midfielder Thomson says that he and his team-mates will take plenty away from it which will help them get their season back on track.
"We were really feeling it in that dressing room. We were absolutely gutted with the result, bitterly disappointed to lose from that position," the 29-year-old said.
"Every loss hurts, but this was a really tough one to take. We've got to try and move on as quickly as we can now, but naturally we can't just forget about what happened.
"That first goal, I've got to do better. It's my responsibility to track my man at the back post. It's engrained in my head now that I can't let that happen again. I'll do everything I possibly can to make sure I don't get caught out like that again.
"Each and every one of us can probably look at our performance in that second half and know there are things that we could have done better. It's about learning from where we went wrong.
"We can't be conceding three goals, never mind three goals in seven minutes. We have to be better. We've had a brilliant start, we are right in the mix at the top of the table, we have to make sure that we don't let all that hard work go to waste."
Thomson scored Town's first goal at Hartlepool, then saw a second strike inexplicably ruled out by referee James Oldham just a minute into the second half.
His left-wing corner beat home custodian Jonathan Mitchell at his near post, but the match official awarded Pools a free-kick for a foul on their goalkeeper despite their being no Harrogate player near him.
Had the 'goal' stood, then it would have put the visitors 3-0 up, though Thomson insists that he and his team-mates must shoulder the responsibility for their failure to see the game out.
"If that goal gets given then does it change the game? Probably, yes," he reasoned.
"But does it paper over the fact that we have conceded three goals in no time at all and ended up losing a match that we should have won from being 2-0 up? No, not at all.
"We've got to do much better as a team. We've analysed the game and the video doesn't lie.
"We've got to make better decisions as a team. We needed to be more compact as a team and find a way to stop Hartlepool's momentum from building the way it did."