Simon Weaver laments Harrogate Town's recent misfortune at the hands of referees

Simon Weaver does not feel as if Harrogate Town have had a great deal of good fortune when it has come to refereeing decisions of late.

By Rhys Howell
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 11:48 am
Harrogate Town left-back Lewis Page cannot hide his belief after being booked by referee Alan Young during the second half of Saturday's 1-1 League Two draw at Swindon Town. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town left-back Lewis Page cannot hide his belief after being booked by referee Alan Young during the second half of Saturday's 1-1 League Two draw at Swindon Town. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

Following on from the James Oldham horror-show at Hartlepool United late last month which saw two 'goals' erroneously ruled out, the Sulphurites felt they were hard done to at Swindon on Saturday.

Leading 1-0 courtesy of Jack Diamond's 24th-minutes strike, Town were holding up reasonably well as their hosts sought a route back into the contest, with goalkeeper Mark Oxley rarely troubled.

That was until Jayden Mitchell-Lawson went to ground in the Harrogate box as he looked to run away from Lewis Page, prompting referee Alan Young to point to the spot and affording Jack Payne the opportunity to net a late equaliser from 12 yards.

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Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

Weaver's stated post-match that "it's clearly not a penalty" and was also frustrated to see Page booked for what appeared a clean, if forceful, challenge on 75 minutes - the left-back's fifth yellow card of the campaign earning him a one-game ban.

"It's tough because he [Page] is now suspended because of the decision, again," the Town boss said.

"It's a different situation in the Football League for us this year compared to last because we've had goals disallowed at Hartlepool - the corner going directly in - and then we've had reports back and every decision we've had go against us we have had clarity saying 'actually you're right'.

"And we'll send this one [Swindon's penalty] in and no doubt we'll have an honest reply in our favour, but it doesn't give us two more points.

"It's bitterly disappointing and we've had it in recent games as far back and before the Hartlepool game and it has cost us."

Weaver said on Saturday afternoon that he thought Mr Young "probably surprised a lot of people on the pitch" with his decision to award that late spot-kick, though it turns out that Swindon manager Ben Garner was not one of them.

The Robins chief insisted that the referee got that particular call right, but claimed that the home team should have had two more penalties over the course of the afternoon.

"We got a penalty, but we should have had three," he said.

“I’ve seen all of them back. It’s a blatant penalty on Kaine [Kessler-Hayden] in the first half, it’s a penalty on Jayden, and then it’s a penalty on Ellis [Iandolo] at the end."

On this occasion, Harrogate at least escaped with a point, though that was not the case when they visited Hartlepool on October 23.

Two goals to the good at the interval having already seen a Diamond strike erroneously disallowed for offside, the visitors appeared to have taken a 3-0 lead barely 60 seconds after the resumption when George Thomson's left-wing corner beat home custodian Jonathan Mitchell at his near post.

But referee Mr Oldham blew his whistle and ruled that 'goal' out for a foul on the Pools goalkeeper despite their being not one single visiting player within touching distance of him.

And that decision proved to be something of a turning point, with United rallying in the minutes that followed and going on to score three times in quick succession to seal a 3-2 victory.

Town will be hoping for better luck when they visit Tranmere Rovers in the knock-out stage of EFL Trophy on Tuesday evening, 7.45pm kick-off at Prenton Park.