‘Ball’s been sucked in by Harrogate Town crowd’s passion’

Simon Weaver credited Harrogate Town’s supporters with the assist for Warren Burrell’s late winner in Saturday’s 3-2 success over Rochdale.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

The long-serving defender fired home following a scramble at a 91st-minute corner to settle a thrilling League Two encounter.

The 2021/22 curtain-raiser saw spectators allowed inside Wetherby Road to witness a league fixture for the first time in more than eight months.

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Around 600 Dale supporters packed out the away end, but the remainder of the 1,841 in attendance did a fine job of roaring the Sulphurites onto victory having missed almost the entirety of last season – the club’s first in the Football League.

And boss Weaver insisted post-match that the packed terrace behind the goal at the hospital end of the EnviroVent Stadium played their part in helping his players get over the line.

“I haven’t quite caught my breath yet, it was a great start to the season,” he said.

“This was a game full of energy and excitement and so much of that was down to the contribution of both sets of supporters, which just adds to the adrenaline.

“It was a rollercoaster ride, but we finished really well and finished on top thanks to Warren’s goal.

“What I have to say is, time and time again, when the supporters get behind us, we’ve scored late goals at that end of the ground. I don’t think that’s a coincidence or just by luck, it’s because there’s huge energy in those terraces.

“Put it like this, if Warren is scoring up there then he’s being assisted by the crowd. The ball’s been sucked in by the crowd’s passion.”

Debutants Luke Armstong and Alex Pattison struck inside the opening 10 minutes to hand Harrogate the perfect start.

Alex Newby and Connor Grant found the net to drag Dale back level, however Weaver’s troops were not to be denied.

Harrogate Town: Oxley; Fallowfield (Page), McArdle, Hall, Burrell; Thomson, Falkingham, Pattison (Kerry 69), Power; Muldoon, Armstrong. Unused substitutes: Cracknell, Smith, Martin, Orsi.

Rochdale: Lynch; O’Keefe, Taylor, McNulty, White (Graham 66); Dooley, Grant (Broadbent 78), Morley, Odoh (Cashman 70); Newby, Beesley. Unused substitutes: Done, Brierley, Dunne, Coleman.

Referee: A Coggins (Oxfordshire).