Southend United 0-4 Harrogate Town
It promises to be a long season as new boss, Mark Moseley endured a baptism of fire with the League’s new boys running out worthy winners, on Saturday.
Without the experience of Jason Demetriou, John White and Timothee Dieng, it was surprising the victory margin wasn’t greater as Harrogate dominated a very youthful Shrimpers side.
A philosophical Moseley admitted: “It was literally men versus boys – at the times. But, we’ve only got ourselves to blame. It’s a steep learning curve, but we need to learn quickly.”
Jack Muldoon and Lloyd Kerry strikes, ensured Town had a comfortable half-time lead, with only the Shrimpers’ Issac Hutchinson managing an on-target effort, before the battling Yorkshiremen took control.
Southend showed a slight improvement after the turnaround and having seen Charlie Kelman force visiting keeper, Joe Cracknell into a low, 49th minute save, schemer Lewis Gard’s in-swinging cross fooled everyone, but rebounded back off a post.
Those near-misses proved a false dawn as Aaron Martin fired home a third, from George Thompson’s 60th-minute flag-kick, with Moseley berating the fourth official as his defender, Taylor, lay pole-axed on the six-yard line.
Barely eight minutes later, Muldoon grabbed his second, with a speculative strike adding insult to injury, as Southend continued to press the self-destruct button, failing to clear their lines, with the Town winger firing high over a stranded Mark Oxley.
Moseley added: “We had a few players on the treatment table today. I just couldn’t risk the likes of the experienced John White. As I’ve said, it was men against boys”.
“And, there were some harsh lessons for us, today – although it was an indication of where we are at the moment. We made a couple of errors and were a bit naïve at times. Hopefully, that’ll make us stronger”.
“We’ll have to get back on the training ground, this week, and prepare for Carlisle United, next Saturday (kick-off 1pm) in the best possible manner.”
Winning boss, Simon Weaver, admitted: “I’m obviously very pleased. But, we were nervy in the first five to ten minutes – although I couldn’t ask anymore out of my players and it showed their fighting spirit when they weren’t content with just the four goals.”
“They’re an honest bunch. And, it’s epitomised when you’ve got the likes of Jon Stead stepping off the bench and fighting for every ball as if his life depends on it.”
Southend United: Mark Oxley (Capt), Elvis Bwomono, Shaun Hobson, Richard Taylor, Nathan Ralph (Harry Kyprianou 63′), Terrell Egbri (Eren Kianli 74′), Isaac Hutchinson, Lewis Gard (Harry Phillips 81′), Jordan Green, Charlie Kelman, Brandon Goodship. Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK), Matt Rush, Miles Mitchell-Nelson
Harrogate Town: Joe Cracknell, Ryan Fallowfield, Connor Hall, Will Smith, Warren Burrell, George Thompson, Lloyd Kerry, Josh Falkingham (Capt), Jack Muldoon, Mark Beck (Jon Stead 59′), Aaron Martin (Tom Walker 75′) Subs not used: Melvin Miller (GK), Dan Jones, Connor Kirby, Kevin Lokko
Assistants: D.Cook & A.Farmer
Fourth Official: C.Farrell