Simon Weaver 'stunned' by Harrogate Town's woeful start as early lapse gifts Morecambe FC victory

Simon Weaver said he was left "stunned" by the "incredible" naivety his Harrogate Town players showed in falling behind after less than a minute of Saturday's clash with Morecambe.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 6:32 pm
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

Having immediately lost possession after they got the match underway, the Sulphurites were exposed down their right-hand-side by the Shrimps' very first attack of Saturday's contest.

Simon Power failed to get enough on the ball as he attempted to intercept Lewis Gibson's pass on the edge of his own box, providing Carlos Mendes-Gomes with a clear sight of James Belshaw's goal.

The Spaniard blasted home with the aid of a deflection, and that opening-minute strike would prove to be the game's decisive moment, with Town unable to force their way back into the contest despite creating a number of decent scoring opportunities.

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Goalkeeper James Belshaw was a busy man during the opening stages of Harrogate Town's defeat to Morecambe.

And Weaver revealed that he found himself stood in his technical area in disbelief following his team's disastrous start to proceedings.

"I was stunned when the goal went in. I thought that we were better than that," he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"We seemed to freeze. They came inside the channel and it was just an easy run [for Mendes-Gomes]. We weren't compact enough and didn't see the danger. These are fundamental errors.

"We have done a lot of work in training this week, keeping the two banks of four and making sure that we plug the gaps. So, it's incredible that within a minute we concede a goal from the type of situation that we'd worked on defending.

"It was naive and I'm so disappointed, but it just goes to show that we have do more and more work on what we're doing off the ball.

"We can't take anything for granted. We have got good individuals at the back but collectively we've got to do better."

Things could have got much worse for Town during the period of play followed, and despite them seeing plenty of the ball, only two excellent saves from Belshaw prevented Morecambe from seizing a three-goal advantage inside 17 minutes.

"We'd had the vast majority of possession but could have been 3-0 down," Weaver added.

"I said at half-time we should have been 3-1 or 4-1 down in a half of football where, for a lot of time, we had the ball.

"They were penetrative when they had the ball, they were creative. We looked so vulnerable and then going forwards, we lacked edge, which really winds me up, to be honest.

"We're looking at a top-end team in Morecambe and credit to them. They showed a bit of caliber today, while we looked a bit wet behind the ears.

"We were exposed at times in that first half and then, even when they went down to 10 men, the players didn't give me much confidence that an equaliser was coming."

Defeat sees Harrogate drop to 13th in the League Two standings and leaves them nine points shy of the division's final play-off berth.