Simon Says: Harrogate Town showed ‘grit and determination’ to beat Oxford City

NADV 1408303AM11 Harrogate Town V Oxford.Picture : Adrian Murray. (1408303AM11)
NADV 1408303AM11 Harrogate Town V Oxford.Picture : Adrian Murray. (1408303AM11)

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver writes his latest Harrogate Advertiser column. He says:

“We were relieved to gain our first victory on Saturday, even if it was achieved through grit and determination rather than being anywhere near fluent.

We started the first 15 minutes quite well and were on the front foot only to drop off the pace and concede possession too easily, allowing Oxford to get a foothold on the game. But it is usually a sign of players caring about the result when they become a little anxious.

I remember on one occasion when I was a youth team player the coach screamed “relax!!” when I was low on confidence. Needless to say it didn’t really settle me down, but it did highlight the fact I was looking uptight.

I can draw parallels also with having a round of golf. If you don’t get off to a good start you invariably grab hold of the club that much tighter and quicken up your swing when what is really required is to swing with more ease.

On Tuesday we sat the players down in front of the big screen and replayed the first ten minutes of the second half from Saturday.

The aim was to ensure we confront the nerves, demand the ball and prepare for the next pass. Contrary to what some people may believe, we want to see attractive winning football, not direct hoof ball that anyone can coach.

We will, hopefully, look more composed on Saturday and bring back a positive result.

Everyone at the club is looking forward to this Sunday and the celebration of the club’s centenary year. Players and managers from the club’s past have been invited back to the CNG Stadium. I think it’s fitting that as many people are involved as possible.

Next week will see the club begin a new era with regard to youth development. A group of 16-18 year olds will begin their BTEC in Sport course at the CNG Stadium and will be be based here full-time whilst receiving full-time coaching.

This will provide a fantastic opportunity for the young players to become part of the football club and it should also help us to identify young talent.

There is a lot of hard work ahead of us but the future is looking exciting.”