Harrogate Town feel a weight lifted off their shoulders following long-overdue victory over Oldham Athletic

“Thank God for that” was the collective reaction amongst Harrogate Town’s players once it became apparent that they were finally on their way to a much-needed League Two victory.

By Rhys Howell
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 3:50 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 3:52 pm
Harrogate Town attacker Jack Muldoon slides on his knees as he celebrates putting his side two goals up against Oldham Athletic. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town attacker Jack Muldoon slides on his knees as he celebrates putting his side two goals up against Oldham Athletic. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites beat Oldham Athletic 3-0 at Wetherby Road on Saturday to end a five-match winless run in the fourth tier which stretched all the way back to November 23.

Leading 1-0 through Jack Muldoon’s early opener, Town effectively wrapped up all three points when the same player doubled their advantage with a clinical strike on 73 minutes.

And the 32-year-old forward – who went on to complete his hat-trick late on – revealed that there was a palpable sense of relief evident as the home players celebrated pulling two goals clear of the division’s bottom side.

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Hat-trick hero Jack Muldoon bursts past two Latics defenders.

“When we got the second we all bundled over in that corner and everyone was delighted, it was like ‘thank God for that’ because it takes a bit of weight off your shoulders,” Muldoon revealed.

“At 1-0 you don’t know what can happen in this league. Whether you are bottom or top, you just don’t know what’s going to happen so the second goal came at a good time.

“It was a good day all round, really. A good game for everyone.

Football is about momentum so it’s about starting with this, hopefully going on and getting a good result on Tuesday [in the quarter-finals of the EFL Trophy] and then an even better one next Saturday.”

Muldoon broke the deadlock after 17 minutes of Saturday’s contest when he demonstrated his predatory instincts inside the Oldham six-yard-box to convert Lewis Page’s inviting cross from the left.

Town’s versatile attacker doubled the home advantage after bursting between two defenders, running through on goal and finishing confidently beyond Jayson Leutwiler following good work by Huddersfield Town loanee Brahima Diarra.

The 32-year-old then completed his treble a minute before full-time, taking his tally for the season to 10 in the process with a classy curling finish into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

“We’ve been working on it this week in training, obviously I’ve been working on it since I started football to be honest and we managed to get it right today, I got across my man and put it in,” Muldoon said of his first strike of the afternoon.

“The second, you’ve just got to be composed haven’t you. I know it’s easy to say that, sometimes I’m not, but in this instance I was. I had a little look up and the keeper was to the left of his goal so I put it in the other corner.

“The third, Luke could have had a shot himself, it might have got blocked, you don’t know what could have happened, but he found me and let me do the rest.”

Having been torn apart on their way to a 4-0 defeat at Newport County last weekend, Town managerial duo Simon Weaver and Paul Thirlwell opted to try out a 3-4-3 system which saw them line up against the Latics with three central defenders and George Thomson and Lewis Page operating as wing-backs.

The experiment can certainly be deemed a success, with Muldoon going on to stress the importance of being versatile enough to operate in different formations when circumstances dictate.

“We felt fine, we’ve been working on the shape, the 3-4-3 and it gives you the licence to go at people because you know there’s numbers behind you and defensively we are in good shape,” he continued.

“The last six or seven years we’ve probably been playing 4-4-2 and that’s got us our success and obviously we are good at it, but at the same time we need to be versatile and we have shown that we can be.”