Simon Weaver determined to dig deeper into why Harrogate Town keep conceding early in the second half

Simon Weaver felt that conceding a second goal almost immediately after half-time in Tuesday night’s clash with Oldham Athletic killed his Harrogate Town players.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:20 pm
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Trailing 1-0 at the interval to Alfie McCalmont’s spectacular seventh-minute opener, just a few seconds had passed following the resumption when Dylan Bahamboula struck to leave the Sulphurites with a mountain to climb.

Latics substitute George Blackwood went on to make it 3-0 late on, though Weaver said that it was the blow so early in the second period which “knocked the stuffing” out of his players.

"I think that the second goal was the key moment in the game," he reflected.

"There was still a long way to go, but I think it knocked the stuffing out of us and Oldham are a slippery team.

"Once things get a bit stretched they can knock it around you, which is what they did."

As disappointing as a 3-0 defeat on home soil to a team who began the night below Town in the League Two standings is in isolation, what is more concerning for Weaver is the way his players are seemingly losing focus after the break.

The Harrogate defence has now been breached in the first minute of the second half three times in their past five games, while the Wetherby Road club also conceded in the 53rd minute at Bolton Wanderers earlier this month.

"We have to go more in depth into why, after the re-start, have there been so many times where we have not switched on," he added.

"Is it that the lads are just slow to start the game again and re-focus? Everyone is learning, but at this level you get punished and the players have to realise that this level is pretty serious and if you're not sorted then it's bang, game over.

"This is an honest bunch of players and they don't mean to concede goals straight after half-time. Often it has just been different individuals switching off, but it's hard to put a finger on it.

"Sometimes you go on runs where things keep happening that are quite unexplainable, but we analyse every game and we have to find a way of getting the lads to re-focus when they come back out.

"We can't just think 'oh, we've done alright there' - which we had done in the first half, we were right in the game - and then shoot ourselves in the foot. Maybe that is because there's not quite as much experience in our team as there are in the most of the rest of the sides at this level."