Veteran Jon Stead sees red but has Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver’s full support

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver has defended Jon Stead after the veteran striker was shown a second red card of the season, just four minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Veteran Jon Stead. PIC: Matt Kirkham/Harrogate Town FCVeteran Jon Stead. PIC: Matt Kirkham/Harrogate Town FC
Veteran Jon Stead. PIC: Matt Kirkham/Harrogate Town FC

The 36-year-old former Premier League star was given his marching orders for a late challenge on Dan Sweeney in the 77th minute of Tuesday’s National League clash against Barnet.

Stead’s team-mates did however “dig him out”, holding on for a 2-1 success that extends Town’s unbeaten run into a 10th match, and keeps them fourth in the National League standings.

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“I think his touch ran away from him and his momentum followed through, but in this day and age you can probably see why he [the referee] sent him off,” Weaver reflected.

Simon Weaver. PIC: Matt Kirkham/Harrogate Town FCSimon Weaver. PIC: Matt Kirkham/Harrogate Town FC
Simon Weaver. PIC: Matt Kirkham/Harrogate Town FC

“However I don’t think he was high, I think his foot was down. We’ll have to see it on the video.

“The referee said after the game it was serious foul play, which could cost us a good player for three games and it made the task a lot harder with 10 men, but he wouldn’t have done it coming from an evil place.

“It’s difficult coming off the bench as a sub’. You’re full of adrenaline, you want to make an impression, just as he did off the bench the other day and he wants it. But these things happen.

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“He has to rely on his team-mates to dig him out, the 10 that were on the pitch and they did us proud.”

Town took the lead with a quarter of an hour of Tuesday’s contest gone, Jack Muldoon smashing home his fourth goal of the season from George Smith’s corner.

Smith himself doubled the hosts’ advantage when he overlapped down the left, got on the end of Jack Diamond’s pass and fired past Scott Loach.

Barnet then pulled one back against the run of play nine minutes before half-time through David Tutonda.

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The Bees pressed hard for a second goal after the resumption, yet despite Stead’s sending off, Town were able to hold out for victory.

They came under serious pressure during the closing stages and were indebted to James Belshaw for a fine 94th-minute double-save that thwarted Mauro Vilhete then Josh Walker.

“Obviously going down to 10 men against a side like Barnet – a good footballing team – it does make you drop deeper into your own half.

“It was a rearguard action and the six minutes of added-time seemed to take years,” Weaver added.

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“Full credit to the players, they reduced Barnet to very few real opportunities to score.

“There was the shot from outside the box and the second reactionary save from James Belshaw was a fine save, but apart from that there weren’t too many open chances for them. It was a tricky second half, but we’re just delighted to get through unscathed.”

Town could move to within one point of leaders Bromley if they win their trip to 16th-placed Eastleigh tomorrow and other results go their way.

Second-placed FC Halifax Town could return to the top of the league with victory at home to Torquay United.

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In National League North, third-placed Farsley Celtic make the trip to third-from-bottom Blyth Spartans knowing a victory could move them into the top two.

Eighth-placed Guiseley, meanwhile, travel to Gateshead who are just a point behing them in the table.

Second-from-bottom Bradford Park Avenue play at the team directly below them in the table, Kettering Town.


TADCASTER ALbion could move to within one point of BetVictor League North West Division leaders Workington if they claim all three points at the Cumbrian table-toppers tomorrow.

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Albion sit four points behind Workington in third place but have three games in hand on their opponents and four games in hand on second-placed

Clitheroe, so this weekend could put the Brewers right in the promotion mix.

Pontefract Collieries sit a point Albion in fifth place and could move as high up as second spot with victory at home to Trafford tomorrow.

Elsewhere in the North West Division, 13th-placed Brighouse Town entertain Colne and struggling Ossett United host the team one point and one place below them – Kendal Town.

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Colne enjoyed a superb run to the fourth qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup but have only played six league games, winning two, losing two and drawing two.

They went out to Vanarama National League North Gateshead a week last Saturday, suffering a 5-0 defeat, but their run had made them a lot of money and a lot of friends along the way.

In the South East Division, 14th-placed Frickley Athletic make the trip to 15th-placed Kidsgrove Athletic.

Selby Town will be looking to book their place in the third round of the FA Vase tomorrow when they host Bridlington Town. Also with home advantage in the third round are Yorkshire Amateur who entertain Bottesford Town.

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In the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, third-placed Liversedge travel to Eccleshill United, fifth-placed Hemsworth MW host Handsworth and 12th-placed Garforth Town play at Athersley.

In Division One, Glasshoughton Welfare host Harrogate Railway and Nostell MW play at Retford.