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Exeter eject fan after booing heard while players took a knee in Harrogate loss

Harrogate Town v Forest Green – Sky Bet League Two – The EnviroVent Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Exeter ejected a spectator from the ground after booing was heard when players took a knee before kick-off ahead of their 2-1 loss to Harrogate.

The Grecians released a statement after the game to say that a supporter had been removed from St James Park after booing was audible when players took the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the game.

“Exeter City Football Club would like to thank the vast majority of supporters who supported our players when they took the knee as part of tonight’s EFL wide campaign,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately one supporter was ejected from the stadium and the club will take the appropriate action.”

Harrogate manager Simon Weaver praised his side after they upset the form book.

Brendan Kiernan and Jack Muldoon capitalised on sloppy Exeter defending to seal a first win in five games for the men from North Yorkshire, after Jake Taylor had brought Exeter level immediately after half-time.

“We had to be gritty tonight. I thought we were organised right from early on and stifled them,” Weaver said.

“We have seen a lot of coverage where they have bagged six goals against Colchester and five against Tranmere and we knew if we were flaky, they would take advantage.

“If we didn’t defend their crosses they would take advantage, in one-on-one situations they would clearly take advantage.

“Tonight, both of their wide men – very dangerous players – got taken off and they had to go a bit more direct later on to try and penetrate.

“We have tried to do things right, we came yesterday and had a nice night’s sleep and a full day waiting today. But it felt like the energy was back.”

Weaver, who handed a second-half debut to substitute Edward Francis after the defender signed following his release from Wolves in the summer, added:
“Everyone knows the relentless nature of this game and perhaps injuries are taking their toll.

“But the culture of this club is that everyone is in it together and we certainly had to be tonight. There was a real edge to our performance tonight.”

Exeter manager Matt Taylor was left to rue more poor defending from his side.

They may have the best goals for record this season with 39 goals from 18 league games, but they have conceded 25.

“We didn’t quite have it in us tonight,” he said.

“We very rarely got any clean ball and that is credit to the opposition, but then they caused us issues in terms of how well they competed and how many first balls they got to.

“It is going to be like that for us, especially on that pitch and playing in the winter months.

“We had to adapt our game slightly and we didn’t quite have it in us tonight to be able to do that and even when I changed personnel and brought on more honesty in that front line, which I felt we needed, it still didn’t quite happen for us.

“Goals change games and I’m sounding like a broken record, but we got back in the game straight after half-time and you feel like we are going in the right direction. But we concede from a throw in, I’m bitterly disappointed, and that gives them something to hold on to.

“They then sat back and we got more and more frustrated. It has happened throughout the season and opposition seem to use their bodies better than one or two of our players do.”