Rochdale AFC 3 Harrogate Town 3: Sulphurites to be allowed time to 'learn on the job'

Simon Weaver said he is determined to give his Harrogate Town players the opportunity to "learn on the job" in League Two.

By Rhys Howell
Saturday, 12th February 2022, 6:19 pm
Updated Saturday, 12th February 2022, 6:20 pm
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites boss refused to be overly-critical of his side after they threw away a 3-1 second-half lead at Rochdale on Saturday afternoon, insisting that they remain a "work in progress."

Alex Pattison's first-half brace was added to by Jack Diamond just two minutes into the second period, though the visitors struggled to contain their hosts throughout the contest and were eventually pegged back shortly before the final whistle.

But, although naturally disappointed to see two points snatched away, Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser that he was able to take plenty of positives away from a pulsating afternoon of football.

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Alex Pattison converts a 24th-minute penalty to put Harrogate Town 2-1 up at Rochdale.

"The players were a bit upset in the dressing room, they were really quiet when I went in, so I tried to lift them because I think that, on this occasion, things conspired against us," he said.

"Yes, we could have done better with the goals that we conceded, but we are a work in progress, so it's not like we can eradicate these little blips in concentration overnight.

"People are learning on the job and that's why we are where we are in the table. But, there's a lot that we are doing right as well and that is why we were right in this game today against a Rochdale side who were in League One last season.

"We've come here and scored three and created so many chances that there is plenty to be hopeful about for the rest of the season.

"Yes, moving forwards, we have got to be seeing that out at 3-1 up, but this is a transitional period and it is about allowing these lads who have been with us for a long time to learn on the job.

"With that, there has to be an element of forgiveness at times. What am I going to do? Rip it up completely and start again with different lads, or am I going to give these players a decent opportunity to keep improving? They are as mentally strong a group as I have ever known in the game, so they deserve respect and that opportunity."

Leading 3-1 at the time, Town had the opportunity to put the game to bed on 57 minutes when Pattison played Diamond through on goal, only for the on-loan Sunderland winger to be denied his second of the afternoon by Joel Coleman.

That miss proved to be pivotal in the game, with Weaver going on to say that he felt there would have been no way back for Rochdale from 4-1 down.

"It would have been game over," he added.

"I think that 4-1 is an unassailable lead. Unfortunately, 3-1 wasn't because they're a very expansive team, who pass the ball well and have a lot of good attacking players.

"If that goes in, that changes things, it's the final nail in the coffin for them in this game because they'd be really stretched then."

Saturday's point keeps Harrogate 13th in the League Two standings with 38 points to their name from 29 games.