Harrogate Town's win over Newcastle United U23s represents pre-season progress, says Simon Weaver

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver feels his side's display in victory over Newcastle United Under-23s represents pre-season progress.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 10:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th July 2021, 10:32 pm
Harrogate Town players celebrate after Connor Hall, third from right, headed them into the lead against Newcastle United Under-23s. Pictures: Gerard Binks

Goals from Connor Hall and Aaron Martin sealed a 2-1 friendly success over a young Magpies side as the Sulphurites played in front of a crowd at Wetherby Road for the first time since December.

Following on from a 1-0 defeat to Championship Huddersfield Town's first team and a 1-0 success over eighth-tier Brighouse Town, League Two Harrogate produced a controlled performance on what was a scorching hot summer afternoon.

Reflecting on what he witnessed during Sunday's game, Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser that his players had taken things up a notch from their previous two outings.

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"It was a good performance," he said.

"There are always things to work on but I thought we passed the ball well, kept hold of it, didn't look hurried in possession and we switched the play when we could. We asked a lot of questions both in open play and from set-pieces.

"The new players are gelling really well. I think we are showing some really good signs already and it's still early days in pre-season. It's progression towards where we want to be."

Town were supposed to be entertaining a Newcastle side comprising mostly first-team players, but a positive Covid-19 test for goalkeeper Karl Darlow meant that the Magpies were forced to send their Under-23s to the EnviroVent Stadium.

And, although disappointed that his team were not able to test themselves against the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, Weaver still believes that Town were given a good workout.

"It would have been great if we'd played their first team, that would have been the perfect scenario, however that's life at the moment and you just never know,

"We've got used to it in our minds that something like this can happen. It's unfortunate for them and their lad, we hope he is okay.

"On the field, because we've ended up playing their 23s, we've probably controlled the game more than we would have done, obviously.

"They're a young team admittedly but were very good technically so it was good test, but one that I felt we passed.

"They were slippery. They're coached well and these are young players at a Premier League club, all vying for first team football. On a good pitch like ours they can expose you by playing in areas between the lines that can really test you, but I thought we defended really well apart from a couple of moments."