98 escort radio install

I recently purchased a used radio/cassette player for this car. I am having trouble getting my old radio out. I fabricated the two release tools from a
coat hanger and they worked OK but the radio assembly will not come out far enough to get to the wireing plugs. It appears that the plug that attaches to the back of the hot/cold knob is hanging me by not giving me enough slack to get to the wireing plugs. I am afraid to really put a lot of pressure on it as I might break it. Does anyone have any suggestions on getting this unit out or how to get more slack on the assembly that is giving me trouble. My Escort repair manual does not adress this problem.
Thanks, Maser
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