Simon Weaver frustrated by Harrogate Town's failings at key moments in FA Cup loss to Luton Town

As well as his Harrogate Town players performed against Luton Town in the third round of the FA Cup, Simon Weaver was unable to hide his disappointment after Sunday's 4-0 defeat.

Sunday, 9th January 2022, 3:58 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th January 2022, 9:20 pm
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Getty Images

The Sulphurites, who are 13th in League Two, served up the better football for long periods as they went head-to-head with Championship opposition at Kenilworth Road, but failed to demonstrate the same ruthless edge as their hosts.

Trailing 1-0 against the run of play at the interval, Harrogate conceded a second early in the second half and, despite creating a flurry of late chances, were punished on two further occasions during the closing stages.

So, while Weaver says he can take some positives from Town's performance between both boxes, ultimately he has been left wondering what might have been.

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"Footballing-wise, between the two boxes we were great. If it was a boxing match I think we’d have won on points," he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“But, it’s not about that. Yes we can take lots of positives, our passing cut through a Championship team countless times, but ultimately, we didn't take our chances, and we've conceded four goals. So, it will be a quiet bus on the way home.

"Probably when I watch the game back tomorrow I'll settle down a bit, but if you want to be a winner, you can't be ecstatic after losing a game 4-0, even if our on-the-ball performance was pleasing."

Covid-19 postponements meant that Luton had not played in almost a month prior to this weekend's fixture and the Hatters could not live with Town's slick pass-and-move football for a big chunk of the opening 45.

Thus, with Nathan Jones' men showing obvious signs of rust, it was the visitors who looked like the side who currently occupy a spot in England's second tier.

"There's no way that anybody who was watching who didn't know which team was the Championship side wouldn't have thought it was us during that first half," Weaver added.

"I think it's been broadcast as far as Vietnam and other different countries in Asia and I guess we would have caught the eye.

"The hardest part, I think, is actually opening teams up and we've done that today, just like we did at Sheffield Wednesday in another crazy game that we've ended up losing 4-0. We cut Luton to shreds down our right in the first half, there was a lot of good football.

“If we'd just found the back of the net on occasions where it looked straightforward to score, we'd be looking at an entirely different outcome. It's about getting it right in the big moments and unfortunately we've ended up on the wrong end of it."

As good as much of their approach play was, Town's defensive display once again left plenty to be desired, particularly during the second period.

"The defending has got to be better," Weaver continued.

"I'm not going to name names because we've come away to play a Championship team who are 45 places higher than us, but it wasn't Championship-quality football that led to us conceding goals in that second half, it was our own contribution that let us down.

"We didn't clear our lines properly twice and the last goal we have misplaced a pass and then been beaten down their left-hand side.

"They were the basics that we didn't nail in an otherwise good performance."