Jack Muldoon pitches in to create piece of history at Harrogate Town

Hero: Jack Muldoon celebrates.Hero: Jack Muldoon celebrates.
Hero: Jack Muldoon celebrates.
SIMON WEAVER was able to reflect upon a satisfying end to another momentous day in Harrogate Town’s recent history after the Sulphurites overcame Barrow at Wetherby Road.

Promoted to the Football League for the first time in their 106-year existence on what was a maiden trip to Wembley earlier this summer, Saturday’s clash with the Bluebirds saw the North Yorkshire outfit make their League Two debut on home soil.

Having been forced to replace their artificial 3G pitch with natural turf, Harrogate played their opening three ‘home’ matches of 2020/21 at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But now, back where they belong, Weaver’s men picked up on grass where they left off on plastic, producing a tidy footballing display to chalk up what is their 10th victory in 13 outings at the Environment Stadium.

“Today was another historic occasion and I’m really satisfied with the outcome from a difficult game. It’s been a good day all round,” the Town boss said.

“They [Barrow] are quite a slippery team. They’re fluid the way they move between the lines, but after not the best start, we found a way to win.

“Goals change games. Jack Muldoon blasted one in and it lifted our spirits, lifted the way we were playing and we had a bit more oomph about us. We became more proactive and played some good stuff.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Overall, it was a mature performance. We dug in when we had to, though there was nothing desperate about it. We had to find a way to win and we did. It’s good to grind out these results.”

As for Harrogate’s brand-new playing surface, Weaver said he was happy with the finished article, despite the grass visibly cutting up quite badly in places.

“I thought the pitch played really well. It was nice and firm,” he added.

“There were a couple of areas towards the Wetherby Road side where it cut up a little bit, but that’s to be expected because it is new grass. It just needs a bit longer to embed those roots a little bit deeper, though overall it is miles better than the last grass pitch we laid here seven years ago, which was like a big sponge mattress.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’re confident it will be a really good playing surface for us and no matter what, we’ll play our way. When the players see that green, perfect grass it lifts them because they know we can play football on it.

“’I’ve no concerns. The groundsman has done an unbelieveable job and he knows his stuff.”

It was Barrow who began the brighter of the sides on Town’s lush new deck, asking a few questions of the home defence during the opening 20 minutes.

And it was against the run of play when Harrogate broke the deadlock just before the midway point of the opening period.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Will Smith played a ball over the top of the Bluebirds’ defence and into the right-hand channel where it was all too easy for Muldoon to run in behind and blast a strike past Joel Dixon at his near post.

Smith should have doubled his team’s advantage soon afterwards, finding himself unmarked as George Thomson delivered an excellent right-wing free-kick into the visitors’ box, but diverting his headed finish past the upright.

Muldoon looked to have nodded in number two from a Thomson corner as the hosts continued to press hard, though referee Declan Bourne blew up for an off-the-ball incident just as the Harrogate striker made contact with the delivery.

Having found themselves trapped inside their own territory for an extended period, Barrow ended the half the same way they had begun it, enjoying a couple of promising moments in the final third.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And they would have gone into the break on level terms were it not for a superb save by James Belshaw, who extended his right arm to keep out Josh Kay’s low, goal-bound effort on 43 minutes.

Lloyd Kerry saw a strike well kept out by Dixon shortly after the resumption, though there was almost nothing by way of goalmouth action for the next half an hour.

On 77 minutes, Town substitute Brendan Kiernan raided down the left, skinning Brad Barry before delivering a low ball to the near post where Muldoon saw Dixon block instinctively.

Muldoon smashed another effort wide moments later, then almost added a second on the counter-attack in the 89th-minute following a fine solo run.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There was however very nearly a sting in tail as, having failed to create a single clear-cut chance during the previous 50 minutes, the Cumbrians looked set to level matters deep in stoppage-time.

Kay pumped a diagonal into the box from the left and the ball eventually broke at the back stick for Dior Angus, though the Bluebirds attacker could only pick out the side-netting.

Harrogate Town: Belshaw; Fallowfield, Smith, Hall, Burrell; Thomson, Falkingham, Kerry, Miller (Kiernan 66); Muldoon, Stead (Martin 72). Unused substitutes: Cracknell, Jones, Kirby, Walker.

Barrow: Dixon; Zouma (Angus 72), Platt, Brough; Barry, Taylor, Beadling (Biggins 58), Hardcastle (Taylor 19), Ntihe; James, Kay. Unused substitutes: Lillis, Brown, Jones.

Referee: D Bourne (Notts).

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers.

So, please - if you can - pay for our work. Just £5 per month is the starting point. If you think that which we are trying to achieve is worth more, you can pay us what you think we are worth. By doing so, you will be investing in something that is becoming increasingly rare. Independent journalism that cares less about right and left and more about right and wrong. Journalism you can trust.

Thank you

James Mitchinson

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.