Harrogate Town players have not gone from heroes to zeroes after heavy loss to Forest Green Rovers

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Simon Weaver insists that his Harrogate Town players have not gone from heroes to zeroes in the space of four days.

The Sulphurites upset League One Portsmouth at Fratton Park at the weekend, sealing their progress into the third round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club's 107-year existence.

But, they were brought crashing back down to earth on Tuesday evening as League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers left Wetherby Road with a 4-1 victory under their belt.

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As poor as their defending was at times, Town's overall performance wasn't actually as bad as the scoreline suggests and their manager said he could not be too critical of what was served up by a seriously depleted group of players.

"It's a strange old game, the scoreline looks bad however I've got to look at the overall picture and I think we've actually played some of the best stuff going forwards that we've played for some time at home," Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"So, it's not quite as big a step back as the scoreline suggests. It was probably one game too many after the adrenaline and excitement of winning at Portsmouth.

"They were hurting at half-time, I don't think we have been booed off at home for eight years. It's a shame, but this is modern football, you're going to get it in the neck when things aren't going your way. I told them not to let it affect them, get out there and show what you're worth, and I thought that they did that.

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"Hero-status one minute, booed off the next. That's football. You get the highs from Saturday, then you get slapped in the face.

"But you can't just go from heroic status on Saturday to telling them they are let-downs because it's just irrational and they don't deserve that from anyone."

Town began the evening brightly and looked in control of proceedings for 20 minutes before conceding twice in quick succession, while they also made a game of it for a quarter-of-an-hour in the second period after Lloyd Kerry pulled a goal back.

Thus, Weaver was able to take away some positives despite seeing his side drop out of a play-off berth and down two places to ninth.

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"Forest Green are a quality side, they're up at the top for a reason but I think that if we make better decisions in the final third in the first 20 minutes then maybe we could have been a goal or two up - and then it's a different game," he added.

"Even though it was error-strewn defensively, I still believe we could have drawn that game 4-4, so we have got to take some positives from an otherwise disappointing night. If we'd got the second goal at 3-1 then I think we'd have pressed really hard.

"I only got cross a couple of times because I thought that during the last five minutes of the first half we were a bit slow with our reactions because people were feeling sorry for themselves.

"It doesn't get given to you in football. You will learn harsh lessons if you start feeling sorry for yourselves, but on the whole, we can't fault the group as a set of lads and I'm convinced that we can do some damage in this division."

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