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Simon Weaver salutes Harrogate response after thumping win at Rochdale

Harrogate manager Simon Weaver saw his side win impressively at Rochdale (John Walton/PA).
Harrogate manager Simon Weaver saw his side win impressively at Rochdale (John Walton/PA).

Harrogate manager Simon Weaver praised his side for bouncing back from their FA Cup exit with a resounding 4-1 win at Rochdale.

The Yorkshire side were beaten 3-1 by Hartlepool last week in the second round of the competition but responded in style to make it back-to-back victories in League Two and put some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone.

Town passed up early chances for Danny Grant and Jaheim Headley before falling behind to James Ball’s eighth-minute opener, the Dale midfielder converting Cameron John’s corner.

But a 35-yard strike from George Thomson ensured they went in level at the break and after half-time they were by far the superior team.

Luke Armstrong netted a double after 53 and 57 minutes before Sam Folarin wrapped up the result with a fourth in the 70th minute.

“I thought the lads were outstanding today and really worked hard to bounce back from last week’s disappointment in the FA Cup,” said Weaver.

“Every day this week in training their attitude has been immense and they took that on to the pitch and put in a performance full of pace and energy and tenacity. It was a great away performance.

“We fell behind and you have to show resilience. We’ve been working on set-pieces against us a lot recently, so it was disappointing to go 1-0 down, but we knew we had 80 minutes plus to get it right and we’d had two very good chances to score before they took the lead, so it just showed we were passing the ball well and were carrying out instructions to perfection.

“This is never an easy place to come, the crowd gets right behind the team in numbers and it was just very pleasing, because we came off the pitch last week copping all kinds of abuse, so it’s just nice to bounce back and prove a few people wrong.”

The result left Rochdale just one point above the drop zone after three straight defeats.

“I’m extremely disappointed, obviously, I didn’t see that coming,” said Dale boss Jim Bentley.

“It’s a drubbing at home and I feel embarrassed to be honest. It’s back to the drawing board.

“We’d done some good stuff in getting ourselves away from the bottom of the league and you are thinking, ‘Come on, time to kick on’. I’d labelled us a nearly team after losing four out of five and they’d all been 1-0 losses. We were nearly there, but today we weren’t nearly there and that’s against a team that was in and around us in the league.

“You’re expecting more that that, but I think it reflects where we’re at right now. We were thoroughly beaten. It wasn’t a great performance throughout. We’ve had a two-week break and I was asked before the game if that would do us the world of good. The answer now is no.”