Harrogate Town 1 Barrow AFC 0: Jack Muldoon strike seals historic victory

Harrogate Town hosted a Football League fixture at Wetherby Road for the first time in their 106-year existence on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 17th October 2020, 5:05 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th October 2020, 3:06 pm
Jack Muldoon celebrates after putting Harrogate Town ahead against Barrow. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

And Simon Weaver's side marked the occasion with a deserved 1-0 victory over Barrow, Jack Muldoon netting the only goal of the game with a clinical first-half finish.

Having being promoted from the National League alongside the Bluebirds last term, Town were forced to play their opening three 'home' matches as an EFL club at Doncaster Rovers' Keepmoat Stadium while their 3G pitch was replaced with natural turf.

That work completed, football eventually came home and the Harrogate players picked up on the grass where they had left off on plastic, producing another tidy footballing display as they climbed up to seventh place in the League Two standings.

Lloyd Kerry looks to get on the ball in midfield.

It was Barrow who began the brighter of the sides, asking a few questions of the home defence during the opening 20 minutes.

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

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 the Harrogate 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.

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 goal-mouth action for almost half an hour, with little to choose between the sides.

On 77 minutes, Town substitute Brendan Kiernan broke at pace down the left, skinning Brad Barry before delivering a low ball to the near post where Muldoon forced Dixon into an instinctive reaction stop.

Muldoon smashed another effort wide moments later, then almost added a second in the 89th-minute following a fine solo run as Harrogate counter-attacked down the right.

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).