Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver spoke in defence of striker Sam Folarin following the Sulphurites’ 1-1 draw at home to Swindon Town.
The 23-year-old number 12 had a tough day in front of goal, missing two key opportunities which could have comfortably given all three points to his side.
Folarin had his first major chance in the 22nd minute, being threaded through with only Robins’ keeper Murphy Maloney to beat, his attempt was closed down and blocked by the 21-year-old which the striker could have done better.
Swindon quickly responded to the chance, with Dan Kemp playing in Jake Young to put a curling effort past Jonathan Mitchell. It was the Bradford City loanee’s thirteenth goal in the league, seeing him temporarily draw level with current scoring leader Matt Smith.
After assisting Jack Muldoon for their equaliser, the Lambeth-born forward should have put the game into Harrogate Town‘s hands when he bore down on goal with six minutes left. His tame shot couldn’t beat Murphy, with the game ending all square at Wetherby Road.
A victory would have seen the North Yorkshire side claim 11th place by the end of play, leapfrogging Swindon Town in the process. Despite the missed opportunity, Simon Weaver refused to criticise his team’s top scorer. [Quotes via Harrogate Advertiser]: “He’s capable of finishing those chances as he’s shown so far as our top scorer with seven goals, and I really do believe in Sam. It might not have come off for him today with a couple of those finishes, but that happens to the best of them.
“I know that he is disappointed. He came to the side and was disappointed not to have scored (late in the game) because he’s got desire for the club and wants to score goals. He’s on seven already and he will have many more opportunities because we have got a great record with him down the middle.
“To be fair to Sam, he is horrific to play against, isn’t he. He’s a road-runner with ability and I’m absolutely delighted with the progress he has made. He’s a great lad as well and the players love him in the dressing room, so it’s nice to see a good character developing so well.”
Harrogate’s next game sees them travel down to West Sussex and play Crawley Town, before welcoming Wrexham to Wetherby Road and a tough trip to Bolton in the second round of the FA Cup.
Harrogate Town fans will be bitterly disappointed that they couldn’t finish off Swindon in the game. They were firmly on top for most of the game and probably should have taken all three points on reflection. Weaver’s side have been perhaps League Two’s surprise package this season, comfortably away from any relegation worries. The manager looks to have finally secured the Sulphurites’ status as a League Two staple.
Sam Folarin will look back on the game with frustration. Scoring the first chance would have put the Robins on the back foot and having to attack, with the Wiltshire side losing three of their last five games on the road. The striker should have secured all three points for his side, but still got a return with an assist. He will look to bounce back against a Crawley side who are 7th in conceded xG this season.