'Not our night' admits Nathan after first loss but Harpenden Town boss still delighted with start to season

Harvey Scott hit the post and the crossbar on a frustrating night for Harpenden Town against Flackwell Heath.

Harvey Scott hit the post and the crossbar on a frustrating night for Harpenden Town against Flackwell Heath. - Credit: TOBY HOWE

Harpenden Town's unbeaten start to the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division season came to an end with a defeat at home to Flackwell Heath but manager Micky Nathan says that shouldn't deflect from what has been an excellent year so far.

Goals from Alan Ackerman and Simeon Weekes in the first half at Rothamsted Park did the damage with as Harps lost for the first time in eight games.

It also saw them knocked off the top of the table by Leighton Town but the boss has been delighted with the start. 

Harpenden Town's 2-0 win over Leighton Town at Bell Close was 'a mature performance' according to manager Micky Nathan.

Harpenden Town's 2-0 win over Leighton Town at Bell Close was 'a mature performance' according to manager Micky Nathan. - Credit: TOBY HOWE

"Give credit to the lads," said Nathan. "They have been outstanding and this has been an accumulation of nearly 18 months of hard work. 

"Nothing is going to deflect from what we can achieve this season, whatever that may be. 

"We’ve got no goals at the minute, we’re just taking one game at a time and we’ll prepare for another tough game at Dunstable Town on Saturday."

They may have lost, it wasn't for the want of trying.

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Harvey Scott could have had at least four, hitting both post and crossbar, while there were two headed chances for Dan Palmer and an early attempt on goal by Jimmy Hartley.

Their night was summed up in added time when a shot from George Robinson was spilled on to the post by the keeper, who then watched it bounce twice over the feet of the desperate attackers and fall into his arms.

Nathan said: "It just wasn’t our night was it? We threw everything at them but you get these games. 

"We knew they were going to be a tough side but we dominated possession and just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. 

"That’s unusual for us but that’s football. 

"No doubt we’ll get more results like that through the season and the roles will probably be reversed too, where we are slightly off our game but nick it 1-0. 

"I’m not going to be too harsh on the lads, they worked extremely hard throughout the night. 

"If we weren’t getting into those positions and weren’t creating those chances, we’d be scratching our heads. 

"Over the 90 minutes I’m happy apart from putting the ball in the back of the net. 

"We’ll take it on the chin. We don’t get too high when we win and we don’t get too low when we lose. 

"The season won’t be defined by eight games, that’s for sure. There is still a long way to go." 

Harpenden Town celebrate their 2-0 win over Leighton Town at Bell Close.

Harpenden Town celebrate their 2-0 win over Leighton Town at Bell Close. - Credit: TOBY HOWE

It was a contrast to Saturday when goals from Mulik Rickman and Palmer secured a 2-0 win at Leighton.

Nathan said: "It was a mature performance. We were solid from front to back but that is how we are playing. 

"This is a style we want to play and we encourage them to play in the right areas and at the right time. 

"We tell them that if they make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world, just keep doing it and be brave and confident enough to do it again. 

"You have to encourage the players to play football and that is our philosophy. 

"They are starting to learn that and when it comes off it is a joy to watch." 

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