Harrogate Town 4 Eastleigh 0: Muldoon and Beck at the double in comfortable victory

Jack Muldoon rolls into an empty net to hand Harrogate Town a 25th-minute lead during Saturday's clash with Eastleigh. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Jack Muldoon rolls into an empty net to hand Harrogate Town a 25th-minute lead during Saturday's clash with Eastleigh. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Jack Muldoon and Mark Beck both netted twice to send unbeaten Harrogate Town second in the National League.

Simon Weaver's men weren't at their fluent best during Saturday's home clash with Eastleigh, but still had more than enough to go on and record a comfortable 4-0 success.

It was the Spitfires who settled the quicker of the sides, Town looking a little sluggish during the opening exchanges and struggling to string more than a couple of passes together.

They did eventually begin to stir into life after a quarter of an hour, but it was at the other end of the pitch where James Belshaw was forced into making the first save of any note, diving to his right to beat away Mark Yeates' powerful 20-yard strike.

Town were then gifted the lead with 25 minutes on the clock.

Liam Agnew arrived unsighted behind an Eastleigh man as he waited for a pass from gloveman Graham Stack to arrive at his feet and, having nicked the ball, was presented with a clear run on goal.

Stack advanced to meet the Harrogate midfielder just inside his area, but Agnew danced past him, only to be sent sprawling.

Muldoon was however perfectly placed to take over, rolling the loose ball into an unguarded net for 1-0.

Despite their goal, Town failed to kick on and it was the visitors who looked the more likely as the game approached half-time.

Centre-half Andy Boyce rose well to meet a right-wing corner, but headed wide, then Oscar Gobern skipped past a challenge and into the Harrogate box, only to lash over when well-placed.

With little to choose between the teams, Eastleigh will no doubt have felt somewhat aggrieved to be trailing at the interval.

So, imagine their frustration when they found themselves two goals down less than 60 seconds after the resumption.

Town attacked down the left and a deflection diverted the ball into the path of Muldoon who nipped in to shoot confidently past Stack.

The Spitfires quickly made a raft of changes, but to no avail as the contest went flat for a quarter of an hour.

It came back to life when Liam Kitching nodded Joe Leesley's delicious in-swinging free-kick from the right just wide, before Eastleigh countered following a Town corner and Yeates forced Belshaw to extend himself for the second time of the afternoon from 20 yards.

A glorious chance to kill the game dead was then spurned in the 71st minute.

Agnew could only strike the post with the net gaping following some lovely interplay between George Thomson and Dominic Knowles that saw the latter deliver a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

A third strike was not long in arriving, however, Leesley coming in from the left and lifting a cute pass in behind for substitute Mark Beck to race in on Stack and slot past him.

A gloss was then added to the scoreline two minutes from time, Beck hanging majestically in the air to meet Thomson's cross from the right and planting a header downwards and past the helpless Stack.