Mark Oxley's impressive showing against Harrogate Town paved way for move to Wetherby Road

Harrogate Town's 1-0 home defeat to a Southend United side who were eventually relegated from League Two was one of the low points of their 2020/21 campaign.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 6:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 7:30 pm
Mark Oxley climbs highest to beat Connor Hall to the ball during Southend United's League Two victory over Harrogate Town on March 27. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Mark Oxley climbs highest to beat Connor Hall to the ball during Southend United's League Two victory over Harrogate Town on March 27. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites were punished for a lacklustre display at Wetherby Road, failing to take their chances before being caught on the counter-attack by a Shrimpers side who hadn't managed a goal in open play in the 650 minutes that preceded Ashley Nathaniel-George's second-half winner.

There were few positives to take from their display, but one good thing did come out of that fixture on March 27.

Visiting goalkeeper Mark Oxley impressed sufficiently between the sticks for Southend to catch the eye of Harrogate boss Simon Weaver, who subsequently moved to sign the 30-year-old former England youth international.

Mark Oxley in action against Harrogate Town at Wetherby Road.

"Mark really caught my eye when Southend played us up here towards the end of last season and I heard at the time that he was going to be out of contract this summer," the Harrogate chief revealed.

"He is a really imposing lad. He's a big presence. I noticed him when the teams walked out at Wetherby Road.

"He stood out physically and also because of how he performed. He was excellent. He kept a clean-sheet, making some great saves and coming off his line with real confidence to claim plenty of deliveries and long throws into his box.

"I'm sure he will be a good fit here. He's got a lot of Football League experience and he's a really good character."

Mark Oxley is greeted by new boss Simon Weaver upon his arrival at Harrogate Town's training ground for the first day of pre-season.

Born in Sheffield, Oxley started his career at Rotherham United, before a move to then-Premier League Hull materialised.

He would turn out for Walsall, Grimsby, Burton Albion, Oldham Athletic and Hibernian on loan from the Tigers before eventually joining the latter on a permanent deal.

Oxley spent two seasons north of the border with Hibernian, featuring more than 60 times and playing his part in a 2015/16 Scottish Cup triumph.

He then made the switch to Southend, making 169 appearances at Roots Hall across Leagues One and Two.

The six-foot-three gloveman has been capped for England at U18 and U20 level and was a key figure for Southend, winning their Fans' Player of the Season and Players' Player of the Season in 2017/18.