Former Derby County and Doncaster Rovers goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell 'exuded confidence' on way to clean-sheet on Harrogate Town debut
The 28-year-old former Derby County and Doncaster Rovers goalkeeper was thrown in from the start at Walsall on Saturday, helping the Sulphurites record a 1-0 victory and their fifth consecutive away win.
A free agent since leaving Rovers at the end of last season, he only joined the club at the start of the month, signing a short-term deal after Mark Oxley suffered a calf injury which could keep him out of action for up to three months.
A player with plenty of League One and Two experience under his belt, Town boss Simon Weaver said he had no doubt that Mitchell would be up to the task, but was pleased to see his quality and demeanour immediately rubbing off on his new defensive colleagues.
“He's a good goalkeeper, but it's always important for every player who starts on his debut to get off to a good start – and I thought he did just that,” Harrogate’s manager said.
"It will do him the world of good because you want to be accepted by the fans and your teammates, and so this is a massive step in the right direction for him.
"His handling was good, kicking was good and he held a good, aggressive, high line for a keeper, which was a standout point when we were looking to recruit someone when Ox [Oxley] was unfortunately injured.
"He didn't flap at all, did he? I thought he did well. They put in some really hard balls during the first 15 minutes for him, we kept managing to concede free-kicks, which put more pressure on him, but I was pleased with him.
"He exuded confidence and it spread across the back four because they grew in confidence then.”
Substitute George Thomson netted the only goal of the game in the 82nd minute of Saturday’s contest, beating Walsall custodian Owen Evans at his near post with a low strike from around 25 yards out.
And victory, which was Town’s fourth in a row on the road in League Two, was sufficient to lift them to 14th in the table, where they now sit just five points outside the play-off places and nine clear of the relegation zone.