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27 March 2021 Venue EnviroVent Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

BIG PREVIEW: HARROGATE VS SOUTHEND

26 March 2021

Harrogate Town vs Southend United...

Overview

Southend United will make their first-ever appearance at the EnviroVent Stadium this weekend as they travel to take on Harrogate Town in another crunch League Two fixture.

Both sides met on the opening day and there will be a marked difference between the youngest-ever Blues team that took to the pitch in September and the one that will step out on Saturday.

And Mark Molesley and his side will want to banish the memories from that tough opening fixture by picking up a vital win this weekend in North Yorkshire.

Form

Blues’ 0-0 draw with Walsall in midweek extended their winless run to seven matches, though Southend are unbeaten in their last three having also drawn against Scunthorpe and Stevenage.

In that run of seven games, Blues have also drawn with Salford and Oldham with their only defeats coming against Cheltenham and Tranmere.

Harrogate have split their last six results evenly with three wins and three defeats, but they come into the weekend off the back of successive defeats to Morecambe and Forest Green.

Last League Meeting

Saturday 12th September 2020

Southend United 0-4 Harrogate Town

Muldoon 25’, 69’, Kerry 44’, Martin 60’

Harrogate marked their debut in the Football League by putting four past a youthful Southend United side on the opening day of the 20/21 League Two season.   

Goals from Lloyd Kerry and Aaron Martin, sandwiched between a double from talisman Jack Muldoon, secured a huge victory for the visitors at Roots Hall.

From The Boss

"There’s total confidence and belief in the group. Our performances have been good but the results haven’t been where they needed to be and where we wanted them to be.

"We’re hitting the right criteria in terms of we’re having a lot more chances than the other team, we’re giving up a lot less.

"We just need to keep being brave, taking responsibility in that final third but we’re creating more, we’re not giving up a lot and the more you dominate a game and more chances you create the more chance you’ve got of scoring goals. At the same time, we can’t think that we’re unlucky because it’s regularly happened. We need to be better in that final third and we’re aware of that.”

Blues Team News

Defender Sam Hart and midfielder Timothee Dieng will miss the trip to Harrogate this weekend as both are serving suspensions handed down to them this week.

Hart begins a three-match ban for his red card against Walsall while Dieng was charged by the FA for his part in Jordan Clarke’s sending off against Scunthorpe and was given a two-game ban.

Tom Clifford will be pushing for a recall to replace Hart at left-back with the defender having returned to training this week following a spell out with an ankle injury.

Fellow full-back Elvis Bwomono could be back in contention as he returns from international duty with Uganda, which forced him to miss the midweek draw with Walsall. 

Harrogate Dangerman

Jack Muldoon has continued to be the real driving force behind Harrogate this season, carrying on from his superb campaign last year and he certainly is going to be the dangerman this weekend.

Muldoon scored 14 times last season to fire Town into the Football League for the first time and he’s on course to eclipse that tally this season with 12 goals to his name so far.

Two of those came on the opening day of the season against Blues so Mark Molesley will be fully aware of the threat that the 31-year-old frontman poses on Saturday.

Ref Watch

Leigh Doughty is the official this weekend at the EnviroVent Stadium, being assisted by Robert Merchant and Craig Taylor, with Shaun Hudson sitting in as the fourth official.

It’ll be Doughty’s first visit to Harrogate since January 2019, a 3-1 win for Town against Hartlepool, and it’ll be his first Blues game since a 3-1 defeat against Gillingham in October that same year.

So far this season Doughty has refereed 22 games and has shown 71 yellow cards and one red, with his last order of business being the 2-0 win for Norwich away at Nottingham Forest.

iFollow Blues

With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tomorrow’s clash with Harrogate by picking up a Match Pass for iFollow Blues for £10.

Overseas supporters can pick up a pass for just £7 with the pass allowing you to catch the game on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device.

For more information on how you can get your Match Pass for iFollow Blues and ensure you miss none of the action at the EnviroVent Stadium, click here.    

Please note, due to current BBC guidelines relating to travel during the national lockdown, the BBC Essex commentary team will not be able to provide match commentary for the game. Instead, you will have a choice of listening to ambient stadium noise or you can switch to Harrogate’s commentary via the settings cog.

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: HARROGATE 0-1 SOUTHEND

27 March 2021

Blues picked up a vital three points as Ashley Nathaniel-George’s solitary strike was enough to earn Southend a 1-0 win against Harrogate Town at the EnviroVent Stadium.

After a goalless first-half, the visitors made the breakthrough after Alan McCormack’s shot was cleared off the line. Emile Acquah went in for the rebound and appeared to be fouled, but it needn’t matter as Nathaniel-George came in to fire the ball home.

Harrogate had moments earlier hit the crossbar through Brendan Kiernan and their top scorer Jack Muldoon had a great chance to level only for his shot to flash across goal as Southend closed the gap on those above them in the relegation fight to just three points.

The victory would have been sweet for Mark Molesley who fielded Southend’s youngest-ever squad when the two sides met on the opening day of the season in September, in which Harrogate handily beat Blues 4-0. How different things were this afternoon.

It was a first-ever visit to Harrogate’s EnviroVent Stadium for Southend United this afternoon and there wasn’t likely to be a more important trip to North Yorkshire for Blues who were in desperate need of a win to keep tabs on those above them outside the relegation zone.

Following Tuesday’s stalemate against Walsall, Mark Molesley made four changes, three of which were enforced. Sam Hart and Timothee Dieng were suspended while Reeco Hackett-Fairchild was injured in training, as Tom Clifford, James Olayinka, Simeon Akinola and Emile Acquah came in.

Southend have found goals hard to come by in recent games, but they began the game on the front foot and forced goalkeeper James Belshaw into action early on when Ashley Nathaniel-George curled an effort on target that needed pushing wide.

Belshaw’s opposite number, Mark Oxley, was required to keep out Josh McPake’s stinging shot before the home side had the ball the back of the net when Aaron Martin bundled home a George Thomson free-kick only for the offside flag to rule it out.

Moments later and Harrogate were denied by a superb double save by Oxley after McPake barged his way through, forcing Oxley to save with his left foot. The rebound bounced off Jack Muldoon and needed Oxley to react quickly to keep the home side at bay.

Right on half-time though and Southend were dealt a huge blow as John White went down with a serious-looking elbow injury after a coming together with Muldoon, requiring lengthy treatment and spelling the end for the captain’s afternoon.

Having started the first-half brightly, Blues repeated the trick in the second and had a glorious chance fall to Akinola. After a mistake at the back by Town, the number nine was one-on-one with Belshaw but he spread himself well to stop the ball from hitting the back of the net.

After barely threatening in the second-half, baring a deflected McPake effort, Harrogate struck the woodwork after some neat play down the left from Muldoon led to Brendan Kieran seeing his first-time shot thunder off Oxley’s crossbar as Southend survived.  

That proved to be a pivotal moment as five minutes later Blues broke the deadlock as Nathaniel-George scored the opener. After Alan McCormack’s goalbound shot was cleared off the line, the ball fell to the Southend winger to fire home from close range and put Blues in front.

Southend now had a precious lead to defend and Tyler Cordner, who replaced the injured White at the break, needed to be on full alert as Kiernan’s floated cross looked primed for Mark Beck to nod home before the intervention of Cordner to bundle it wide.

Harrogate continued to press for an equaliser and their top-scorer Muldoon got goalside and mercifully for Blues flashed his shot across the face of goal and wide, and as the 90 minutes ticked over, six minutes added on were shown for Southend to hold on.

And hold on they did as the final whistle blew after seven minutes of stoppage time had elapsed with Blues earning their first win in eight, narrowing the gap to Barrow to just three points going into the Easter weekend.

Harrogate Town XI: Belshaw, Jones, Falkingham (C), Smith, Burrell, Thomson, Martin (Beck 64’), Muldoon, Hall, McPake (Francis 72’), Power (Kiernan 38’). Subs Not Used: Fallowfield, Minter, Williams

Blues XI: Oxley, McCormack (K Taylor 77’), Hobson, Olayinka (Holmes 70’), Akinola, Clifford, Acquah, Nathaniel-George (Bwomono 90+6’), Demetriou, Ferguson, White (C)(Cordner 46’). Subs Not Used: Seaden, Goodship, Mellis

Referee: Leigh Doughty

Assistants: Robert Merchant & Craig Taylor

Fourth Official: Shaun Hudson

Scorers:

Harrogate Town: None

Southend United: Ashely Nathaniel-George 69’

 

Yellow Cards:

Harrogate Town: Connor Hall 87’

Southend United: Jason Demetriou 44’, Alan McCormack 63’, Shaun Hobson 67’, Ashley Nathaniel-George 90+2’

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