Harrogate Town need to add defensive resolve to goalscoring strength

Simon Weaver wants his Harrogate Town players to place a greater value on keeping clean sheets in the wake of Saturday’s home defeat to Salford City.

Simon Weaver, Harrogate Town manager (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

The Sulphurites have managed just two shut-outs in 17 League Two outings this term, while their defensive record is the second-worst of the sides in the top half of the table.

Although they continue to occupy a play-off spot despite having lost three of their last four winning just once in six attempts in the league, their current position owes much to the potency of their attacking play.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Only Leyton Orient (31) have scored more than Town (30), however Weaver has warned that it is not realistic to keep expecting his forward-line to bail out his leaky defence.

“There wasn’t the killer edge in their box today,” he said, reflecting on a 2-0 loss at Wetherby Road. “But, I think our forwards are due the other lads keeping a clean sheet because we’re not always going to bang two or three in every game.

“We have to be better defensively, we know that. We keep on repeating it, we are honest with the players, we have to defend better, we have to keep it solid.

“We have to be overjoyed to get a clean sheet and focus on that and the fact that [keeping one] can be a real buzz for us. There’s only been two buzzes in that regard so far and two’s not enough.”

Matty Lund’s close-range finish from Ibou Touray’s cross moved Salford ahead on 37 minutes and Jason Lowe’s deflected strike wrapped things up.

Harrogate Town: Oxley; Sheron, Burrell, Hall, Page (Fallowfield 60); Power (Thomson 53), Falkingham, Pattison, Diamond; Armstrong, Orsi (Muldoon 53). Unused substitutes: Cracknell, Kerry, Ilesanmi.

Salford City: Ripley; Shephard, Eastham, Turnbull, Touray; Lund (Vassell 90+1), Lowe; Wright (Hunter 71), Morris (Oteh 80), Love; Asante. Unused substitutes: Jeacock, Smith, N’Mai, Dackers.

Referee: C Breakspear (Surrey).