No complacency from Harrogate Town during routine win at Forest Green Rovers
By stark contrast, Forest Green were winless in the league in two-and-a-half months and began the afternoon second-from-bottom of the pile, slipping to last place after the final whistle as a result of Sutton United’s draw with Barrow.
But it was evident by the way they went about their business that Town hadn’t taken their struggling opponents lightly, serving up a thoroughly professional performance which saw them dominate possession and ultimately record their first clean-sheet in 13 attempts.
“We knew that Forest Green would come out fighting today and what we didn’t want to succumb to was being sloppy or complacent - and we didn’t, so I am really proud of the lads,” Weaver said.
“I was delighted with the performance of the players from start to finish.
“We had to be patient despite, I thought, being the dominant team. I looked at the stats at half-time and they proved us right about our feelings in terms of territory, possession, chances and shots on goal.
“But we needed that final edge to get the ball over the line and score a couple of goals, and we did just that.
“So, all in all, it was a really satisfying win.”
Although Town were certainly on top before Forest Green’s Alex Rodriguez was sent off for a second bookable offence almost straight after half-time, his dismissal undoubtedly aided the Sulphurites.
They found it even easier to keep the ball for long periods, and their first goal arrived just three minutes after Rovers were reduced to 10 men.
“Of course it was a help,” Weaver added. “We had 60-odd percent possession before that, so with them down to 10 men, we could really demand more from the lads in terms of really building dominance and the creation of chances, so that obviously helped.
“But, it [Rodriguez’s second yellow] came about due to sharp play, sharp closing down by Abraham Odoh.”
Town broke the deadlock on 51 minutes when Matty Foulds took a right-wing corner short to Odoh. The Harrogate number nine then skinned Charlie McCann as he drove into the box and towards the byline, before sliding a pass across the face of goal for Jack Muldoon to turn in from a couple of yards out.
The second goal arrived with 69 minutes on the clock. Rovers left-back Jamie Robson carelessly played the ball straight to Matty Daly deep inside his own half, and the ex-Everton man drove at the heart of the home defence before slipping a pass left for Odoh to stroke a low finish inside the far post.
Victory lifts Harrogate three places to ninth position, where they remain just a couple of points outside the top seven.