Harrogate Town 0-1 Southend United
A goal from Ashley Nathaniel-George midway through the second half handed struggling Southend United a surprise Sky Bet League Two victory at Harrogate Town and has rekindled the Shrimpers hopes of avoiding the drop.
Nathaniel-George’s picked up the pieces to fire home after Alan McCormack’s strike had been knocked off the line by Connor Hall, moving Southend within touching distance of Barrow and Colchester who are currently hovering precariously above the dropzone.
Blues stopper, Mark Oxley earned his corn, saving from Josh McPake and Jack Muldoon, while Simeon Akinola was thwarted by Harrogate keeper, James Belshaw as the two sides exchanged earlier opportunities.
A relieved Mark Molesley said: “At this stage of the season and the situation we’re in, it was crucial that we got those three points today. Another clean sheet and three points away.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Harrogate. Their journey has been a great one and I know how hard it is to get out of non-league – I’ve done it as a player and been a non-league manager myself, and to get out of the league the way they have done is fantastic.”
The Blues boss added: “We knew we were in for a hard challenge today. They’re very organised and a tough opponent, and we had to show every characteristic today. The surface was difficult, the situation was tough losing three players this week, so it was always going to be difficult. But it just shows the resolve and the resilience of this group that never know when to lie down.”
Southend United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, April 3 when Carlisle United visit Roots Hall Stadium (1pm).
Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Jones, Falkingham (C), Smith, Burrell, Thomson, Martin (Beck 64’), Muldoon, Hall, McPake (Francis 72’), Power (Kiernan 38’) Subs not used: Fallowfield, Minter, Williams
Southend United: Oxley, McCormack (K Taylor 77’), Hobson, Olayinka (Holmes 70’), Akinola, Clifford, Acquah, Nathaniel-George (Bwomono 90+6’), Demetriou, Ferguson, White (Capt )(Cordner 46’) Subs not used: Seaden, Goodship, Mellis
Referee: Leigh Doughty
Assistants: Robert Merchant and Craig Taylor
Fourth Official: Shaun Hudson