Jack Diamond gives Harrogate Town belief for road trips

Harrogate Town will take plenty of belief from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Swindon Town.

Jack Diamond: Harrogate Town scorer.

Leading through Jack Diamond’s first-half strike, the Sulphurites were eventually denied maximum points by referee Alan Young’s controversial decision to award the high-flying Robins a late penalty.

But manager Simon Weaver was thrilled with his players’ overall performance, which he feels has proved that they can go “anywhere” in League Two and get results. 

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“We thoroughly deserved to come away with something,” reflected the Harrogate chief.

“I’m so proud of the players, I thought it was a magnificent away performance in one of the hardest fixtures on the list, away at Swindon when they’re in such fine form. 

“We deserved at least a point. A penalty decision from the referee probably cost us more but I want the main talking point to be about the attitude of the players, how well we passed it at times and how well we defended when we had to.

“This is a great stadium and Swindon had massive support but if we can come here and perform like that then we can go anywhere at this level and believe we can take the points.”

Harrogate had much the better of the opening period and went close to opening the scoring on three occasions before Diamond did break the deadlock in the 24th minute, running onto goalkeeper Mark Oxley’s long clearance and nutmegging Jojo Wollacott.

Having denied their hosts the opportunity to dominate possession in the fashion that they usually do while passing the ball well themselves, Weaver’s men were good value for their half-time advantage.

Although Swindon grew into the contest after the break, Oxley remained relatively untroubled until Jayden Mitchell-Lawson fell over in the area as he looked to run away from Lewis Page, prompting Young to point to the spot and afford Jack Payne the chance to level matters from 12 yards.

“I feel sorry for Lewis Page because it’s clearly not a penalty. The player is already going down,” claimed Weaver. “I’ve seen the replay and it’s a really, really harsh decision. It’s bitterly disappointing.”

Swindon Town: Wollacott; Kessler-Hayden (Crichlow 90+3), Hunt (Mitchell-Lawson 80), Conroy, Odimayo, Iandolo; Gladwin (McKirdy 59), Reed, Payne; Williams, Simpson. Unused substitutes: Ward, Lyden, Gilbert, East.

Harrogate Town: Oxley; Sheron, Burrell, Hall, Page (Power 83); Falkingham, Kerry (Muldoon 85), Pattison; Thomson, Armstrong, Diamond. Unused substitutes: Cracknell, Orsi, Ilesanmi, Williams.

Referee: A Young (Swindon).