Eastleigh 4 Harrogate Town 2: We were punished for sloppiness, admits Jack Muldoon
Jack Muldoon said Harrogate Town were punished for their sloppiness as their 10-match unbeaten run came to an end on the road at Eastleigh.
Simon Weaver’s team went into the fixture looking a good bet to extend their long sequence of games without defeat, fourth in the National League standings and up against opponents down in 16th place and missing a host of players through injury.
Things appeared to be going according to plan when Muldoon set Brendan Kiernan up to put the visitors a goal up after just nine minutes, however from there, things unravelled.
“We started well but then we got about 20 minutes in and got really sloppy,” the former Lincoln City attacked reflected.
“The goals that we conceded were a bit out of the ordinary if I’m honest, we don’t concede them every week - thank God.
“I think it just got a bit too much for some people and hopefully we can get back to training and get back to what we’ve been doing.
“It was just one of those games.”
After Muldoon had found Kiernan to slot the opening goal beyond Max Stryjek at his near post, Eastleigh began to cause their visitors problems at the other end.
They could have already been level before Ryan Fallowfield fouled the lively Sam Smart inside the box and Scott Rendell converted a 36th-minute penalty.
Smart then crossed from the right for Rendell to bury a powerful header and move the Spitfires ahead before the interval.
Things got worse for Town 12 minutes after the resumption when they surrendered possession in a bad area and Tom Bearwish was able to shoot through the legs of James Belshaw.
Muldoon then got Weaver’s men back in the game on 69 minutes after racing through on goal and beating Stryjek at the second attempt.
But, barely 60 seconds later, Rendell was able to go one-one-one at the opposite end of the pitch and restore Eastleigh’s two-goal cushion.
The closing stages saw Town have a real go at salvaging a point, though Muldoon, George Thomson and Jack Emmett were all thwarted by an inspired home custodian.
“I was hoping to get a goal, obviously, and I did think we were gonna kick on from there, but then we’ve gone and conceded again a minute later,” Muldoon added.
“It’s frustrating. We probably could have scored three or four goals and if it had finished 5-5 nobody could really have grumbled about it.
“To be honest, I thought that their keeper was brilliant. His reactions were incredible.”
Defeat sees Town drop down to sixth in the National League standings.