Harrogate Town 0 Wrexham 0: Belshaw shines as Weaver’s men chisel out point

James Belshaw was in stunning form for Harrogate Town against Wrexham (Picture: Matt Kirkham).
James Belshaw was in stunning form for Harrogate Town against Wrexham (Picture: Matt Kirkham).
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HARROGATE is no stranger to taking centre stage during the autumnal conference season.

The Greens and the Liberal Democrats have chosen the spa town for political get-togethers in the past, but both rival footballing parties on show at the CNG Stadium last night were rather more interested in passing motions of a different kind. These fellow high-fliers had their own keynote summit business to attend to as well in the power stakes of what was the Conference Premier after failing to make a compelling case on Saturday in sobering three-goal defeats.

In the event it was Wrexham who convinced on the night, but Harrogate perhaps had reason to be more satisfied at the final result as they salvaged something on an off-night in front of a bumper crowd of 2,387.

Second best on the evening, Harrogate were baled out by a combination of some fine goalkeeping from James Belshaw and the wasteful finishing of visiting forward Mike Fondop.

The ex-Guiseley player let the hosts off the hook with misses in each half and he was also denied by a brilliant second-half save from Belshaw.

It may not have been the dominant response that manager Simon Weaver was looking for after Harrogate’s weekend humbling to Leyton Orient, but the psychological merit in avoiding a second straight home loss should not be downplayed.

The visitors weathered some early set-piece pressure to settle gradually and be afforded the two best moments of the first period.

An error sent Fondop clear early on, but Belshaw raced out to block, and Luke Summerfield saw his deflected curler fly just over in the lead-up to the break.

Half-time came at a handy juncture for Harrogate, but it was Wrexham who continued to look the more assured on the restart.

The Welsh club dominated with Fondop sliding wide before Belshaw made superb saves to deny Summerfield and Fondop.

Harrogate Town: Belshaw; Burrell, Howe, Langmead, Kitching; Thomson (Beck 77), Kerry, Falkingham, Leesley; Muldoon, Knowles (Williams 73). Unused substitutes: Cracknell, Agnew, Sutton.

Wrexham: Lainton; Roberts, Lawlor, Pearson, Carrington; Walker; Maguire-Drew (Holroyd 86), Wright (Young 71), Summerfield, Rutherford (Beavon 90); Fondop. Unused substitutes: Dibble, Deverdics.

Referee: Peter Gibbons (Wirral).