Simon Power and Luke Armstrong will bring the positives for struggling Harrogate Town at Northampton Town

Completely outplayed, beaten 4-1 to make it three home defeats on the bounce and deprived of the services of two more players through injury.

By Rhys Howell
Monday, 18th April 2022, 11:38 am
Updated Monday, 18th April 2022, 11:40 am
Simon Power in action during Harrogate Town's 4-1 home defeat to Swindon at Wetherby Road. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Simon Power in action during Harrogate Town's 4-1 home defeat to Swindon at Wetherby Road. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

Good Friday's home showdown with Swindon couldn't really have gone much worse from a Harrogate Town point of view.

That loss was the club's seventh in nine League Two matches, a wretched run of form which means that they head into their final four matches of the season still not mathematically safe from relegation.

Faced with the task of trying to digest another worryingly poor display while coming to terms with the fact that Ryan Fallowfield (groin) and Alex Pattison (hip) became the eighth and ninth names to be added to his ever-growing injury list, Simon Weaver could have been forgiven for feeling sorry for himself during his post-match media duties.

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Luke Armstrong netted his 14th goal of the season against Swindon.

Yet, while some may claim that he is clutching at straws, the Town boss was able to salvage a couple of positives which he insists his team can take into their Easter Monday clash at promotion-chasing Northampton.

The performance of winger Simon Power off the substitutes' bench following his return from yet another injury lay-off was one bright spot on an otherwise forgettable afternoon.

Leading marksman Luke Armstrong netting a late consolation to break his six-match goal-drought was another.

Minor positives they may be, but the Sulphurites can't afford to go into their upcoming game at Sixfields mired in negativity.

"Simon looked really bright didn't he. It was a positive performance from him when he came on and we'll be looking for him to carry that into Monday," Weaver said.

"Nobody doubts his capabilities, it's getting him on the pitch that is the problem.

"He set the goal up and Luke Armstrong scoring one will do his confidence the world of good. Goalscorers feed off goals so it will be a real boost.

"I have felt sorry for him a bit recently, but there were some decent balls into the box on Friday and he eventually managed to get on the end of something. We know what he can bring. We know he has got goals in him.

"It was a really tough afternoon but we kept plugging away. Once the game was lost, the players' inhibitions went away, We need them to play like that while we are still in the match."

Weaver was also encouraged by the contribution of on-loan Huddersfield Town youngster Josh Auterfield, who was introduced as a half-time substitute in place of Pattison.

"What Josh Austerfield did well in that midfield area was lay a glove on Swindon," he added.

"I think what Lloyd Kerry proved at Salford last week and what Josh showed in this game was the difference that it makes when you make a tackle.

"It should go without saying, but even in this day and age of nicking it and poking it, there is still a place for physicality.

"Unless you are a totally possession-based side and are going to play like Barcelona, which is obviously very difficult, you need to be able to lay a glove and that was something that Josh did well against Swindon."

Good Friday's fixture with Northampton kicks-off at 3pm.