Referee Rebecca Welch was 'excellent', says Simon Weaver after Harrogate Town's defeat to Port Vale

Simon Weaver described referee Rebecca Welch's performance during Harrogate Town's Easter Monday defeat to Port Vale as "excellent".

Monday, 5th April 2021, 6:36 pm
Updated Monday, 5th April 2021, 6:42 pm
Referee Rebecca Welch made history when she took charge of Harrogate Town's League Two clash with Port Vale. Pictures: Getty Images

The 37-year-old became the first-ever woman to preside over an English Football League fixture when she took charge of a game which the Sulphurites went on to lose 2-0.

Historic though it was, the County Durham-based official's afternoon was a fairly uneventful one, and she drew praise from Weaver for the way she went about her business at Wetherby Road.

"I thought the referee was excellent," he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver, right, with referee Rebecca Welch and Port Vale boss Darryl Clarke.

"From what I know of refereeing, I thought she gave as good a performance as we've seen this season.

"I'm not just saying that, either. We've had her before and she's very switched on and focused. She cuts through all of the remonstrating and shouting.

"She doesn't listen to any of that or any of the squealers on the pitch, the grown men rolling around. She just does her job."

Harrogate saw two shouts for penalties ignored during the first half of Monday's contest, Jack Muldoon's shot appearing to hit the arm of Vale defender Nathan Smith before Connor Hall went down under contact from Leon Legge.

But Weaver took no issue with Welch opting to turn her back on both appeals, insisting that his side would have been "fortunate" to have been awarded a spot-kick.

"I didn't have a good view and I can't say with full confidence anything other than what would be a biased shout," he added.

"I'd have felt quite fortunate getting those decisions given our way."

Despite starting brightly and seeing Vale goalkeeper Scott Brown do well to keep out Mark Beck's header and strikes from Josh McPake and Jack Muldoon, Town seemed to run out of ideas with half-time approaching.

And, having failed to make the most of having a strong wind behind them during the opening period, the hosts fell behind on 48 minutes when David Worrall charged to the back post to smash in Theo Robinson's left-wing cross.

With Harrogate unable to muster any kind of a serious response, Kurtis Guthrie wrapped up the points on 90 minutes with a low effort from inside the box.