08 October 2019 21:53
Get the biggest daily stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Dean Keates' second coming as Wrexham boss got off to a mixed start as the Dragons fought out a 1-1 draw at home against Harrogate Town. Yet the Dragons will know this could have been so much better after delivering yet another vastly improved display, and ruing Bobby Grant's costly penalty miss midway through the second half. Grant had fired the Dragons into an early lead with his sixth of the season before inexplicably firing well over the bar from the spot, and it proved to be costly error as Ryan Fallowfield equalised with 10 minutes remaining. Again the Dragons put in an improved showing, yet their inability to keep a clean sheet, and Grant's costly spot-kick error, proved to be their undoing. Keates, who was announced as Wrexham boss on Sunday taking over from interim boss Brian Flynn following the sacking of Bryan Hughes nearly a fortnight ago, made two changes to the starting line up for the visit of the Town in his first game on his return to the club, Shaun Pearson and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb coming into the XI in place of Michael Chambers and Mark Carrington, who both dropped out of the matchday squad.
Pearson missed the stalemate at Woking on Saturday due to suspension after collecting his fifth booking of the season in the loss at Solihull Moors a week ago, while the manager also switched to a diamond midfield formation, Adam Barton in the holding role behind Luke Young and Luke Summerfield with Paul Rutherford in an advanced position. And Wrexham got off to the perfect start as they forged the lead inside the opening six minutes. Rutherford did well to collect a knock down and feed Jason Oswell, the striker in turn sending over a precision cross for strike partner Grant to slot home for his sixth of the season. Wrexham went close to doubling their lead soon after, Oswell cutting out a clearance by Will Smith to feed Grant, who in turn sent Young free, his effort smothered by James Belshaw, the follow up cleared by Connor Hall ahead of both Young and Grant. Grant was looking lively as part of a front two with Oswell, and after good work from the latter gave Wrexham a platform, and following good work by Young and Rutherford, the ball fell kindly to the striker, his goalbound shot deflecting away for a corner off Will Smith. A deep Young free kick was turned behind by James Jennings at the back post before Harrogate, who had enjoyed their share of possession and territory, fashioned any semblance of a chance, a poor Barton header gifting the ball to Jack Muldoon, his pass sent Fallowfield into space only to see his effort blocked for a corner off Pearson. Former Wrexham striker Mark Beck found himself in a promising position as the ball was lifted back into the Dragons area shortly after the break, the giant forward swiping at the ball but failing to get any kind of telling touch, before Wrexham twice went close to adding a second goal. First Rutherford saw a shot blocked by a sea of bodies as he cut in on his left foot to unleash a shot, while Grant was set clear on Belshaw's goal moments later, the forward letting fly with a first time effort after reaching Summerfield's clever header, the Town keeper making an excellent save to push the ball clear. (Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live) Wrexham were then presented with a gilt edged chance to double their lead, Grant bundled over in the area by George Smith, the forward - who saw his last spot kick saved against Ebbsfleet United - firing miserably over the top from 12 yards after dusting himself down. Dibble had been virtually reduced to the roll of spectator such was the impressive display from the defence, but he was called into action to gather a Jack Diamond header as the second half substitute reached a Muldoon effort, the latter firing horribly wide soon after as he outpaced Barnum-Bobb to a loose ball. Dibble did well again minutes later to get down and palm a Muldoon effort away to safety, the forward starting to gain a greater impact on the game for the visitors who were threatening to find a way back into the contest. And they found it 10 minutes from the end, Fallowfield hammered into the roof of an unguarded net, Diamond having embarked on a mazy run into the area, but screwed his shot way off target, Diamond reacting quickest to slot home and ensure the draw. WREXHAM (4-1-2-1-2): Dibble; Barnum-Bobb, Lawlor, Pearson, Jennings; Barton (Tollitt 86); Young, Summerfield; Rutherford; Grant, Oswell. SUBS: Szczepaniak, Wright, Redmond, McIntosh. Booked: Pearson, Barnum-Bobb. HARROGATE TOWN (4-4-2): Belshaw; Fallowfield, Hall, W Smith, G Smith; Bradley (Diamond 54), Falkingham, Burrell, Kiernan (Emmett 74); Beck, Muldoon. SUBS: Cracknell, Stead, Brown. Booked: Bradley, Burrell, W Smith, G Smith, Beck. REFEREE: Lewis Smith. ATT: 3,435 (33 - away). MAN OF THE MATCH: Shaun Pearson - A colossus at the back throughout.