Grimsby Town 1-2 Harrogate Town: Muldoon double sees Sulphrites past Grimsby
Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

An imperious first-half display from Harrogate Town saw them beat Lincolnshire rivals Grimsby Town 2-1, taking them just outside the automatic promotion spots in League Two.

Harrogate's aggressive pressing mixed with Grimsby's indecisiveness on the ball was the key to Simon Weaver's side leaving Blundell Park with their fourt victory of the season.

Jack Muldoon's fifth and sixth goals of the season were enough for the visitors as The Mariners remain in search of their first points on home soil this campaign.

Story of the match

Ian Holloway was forced to make an early change as Owura Edwards picked up an injury after slipping, with Kyle Bennett coming on for his debut to replace the young winger.

Harrogate should have been ahead within ten minutes, with the high press paying off as they won the ball high up the field. Calvin Miller received the ball with space to cross to Aaron Martin, whose back-heel was saved by James McKeown, but the rebound fell to George Thomson, just a couple yards out and with the whole goal to aim at yet the midfielder still managed to miss.

The visitors took a deserved lead with a helping hand from the McKeown, as he rushed to stop the ball rolling out for a corner, only to play it right to Thomson who fed the ball to Muldoon to smash the ball into an empty net.

With the start Harrogate had made Holloway would have been wondering how his team would find a way back into the game but luckily for him, Grimsby’s reply was virtually instant as Bennett headed the ball into the path of James Tilley. The 22-year-old drove through the centre of the field and struck the ball sweetly into the bottom right from outside the area to level the scores.

Miller was the main creator for Weaver’s side on the left and he set up Martin again with a whipped cross into the striker, who hit the post with his header.

The hosts got lucky on that occasion but they were not so fortunate when Miller broke through on goal moments later, forcing a good save from McKeown, although the ball looped up for Muldoon to score his and Harrogate’s second of the evening.

Grimsby switched to a 4-3-3 for the second half as they went in search of a leveller, but the sloppiness in possession which plagued the hosts in the first half was still present to start the second.

Harrogate continued to press well and put pressure on the young, error-prone Mariners team who continued to toil for an equalising goal but just could not get the ball into dangerous positions.

Virgil Gomis was brought on in the second-half for his debut and he showed his attacking qualities when he raced down the left-hand side, latching onto a ball down the line by Mattie Pollock, but hit the side netting with his effort.

That chance summed up the game for Grimsby, plenty of effort shown but with little quality to make something of it and the visitor’s ruthlessness in front of goal in the first half and game management in the second was the reason they found themselves ahead.

Despite this, a beautiful cross from Luke Hendrie, which landed right in the centre of the box, offered Grimsby a golden chance to equalise but the ball was met by no one with James Hanson the only player in the box.

Weaver’s side did not need to exert themselves much on the attacking end in the second half, but Muldoon went close to his hat-trick as he turned his man and fired from just outside the box but the ball skewered wide of the right post.

The Sulphrites saw out the game with relative ease from that point to continue their excellent start to their debut season in the EFL.

Talking points

Young Grimsby side need to iron out mistakes

Holloway fielded a team with an average age of 23 against Harrogate, with just skipper McKeown and centre-back Luke Waterfall over the age of 30.

Grimsby's youthful naivety certainly showed throughout the game and the spaces in defence before the shape change are things the manager will have to assess before the next game.

Harrogate's game management was excellent

The visitors by no means looked like a team that were playing just their seventh game as an EFL team, and the way they managed the game was something to behold.

Their opponents were poor on the night but the fearlessness Weaver's side showed in the high press during the first half, and the solidity in defence during the second was why the result never looked in doubt despite the close scoreline.

Star player

Jack Muldoon - Harrogate Town

It is clear to see why Muldoon lead The Sulphrites in scoring last season with 18 goals, with his hold-up play and movement the key to both his goals at Blundell Park.

The 31-year-old's positional awareness was key also as he continued what has been an electric start to the season.

Both goals were into virtually open nets, but it was the area's the midfielder got himself into that made it easy for Thomson and Miller, who were both excellent themselves in the first period, to set him up for the goals.

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