Harrogate Town 2 Wrexham AFC 2: Rousing fightback earns Sulphurites a point
The Sulphurites looked to be heading to a sixth defeat in seven Wetherby Road outings as their high-flying visitors netted twice in quick succession towards the end of the first half to take control of proceedings.
But, goals from Dean Cornelius and Anthony O’Connor either side of the interval got Simon Weaver’s men back on terms.
And they went on to enjoy much the better of the second period, without managing to find a third goal which their performance against the big-spending, Hollywood mega-star-owned Red Dragons probably warranted.
Town striker Josh March had the first sight of goal of the evening, but his tame strike from a tight angle was easily dealt with by visiting goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo.
Wrexham soon found their rhythm, however, moving the ball around nicely and asking some questions of the home defence.
Paul Mullin’s blast from a 20-yard free-kick brought a rather unconvincing save from Jonathan Mitchell, but the Harrogate stopper did much better with Andy Cannon’s follow-up, getting down low to his right to push the ball to safety.
The ball was quickly recycled and delivered from the left flank onto the head of Ollie Palmer, who glanced an effort narrowly wide when he ought to have done better.
That early flurry of shots at the home goal aside, Town did a pretty good job of frustrating their visitors during the opening half-an-hour and it began to look as if it might require either a moment of genius or a mistake to spark proceedings into life.
The latter duly arrived in the 31st minute when Kayne Ramsay needlessly gifted away possession deep inside his own half, and from the corner kick which followed, Mitchell had to make an excellent finger-tip save to keep out Aaron Hayden’s header.
Another unforced error followed five minutes later, Stephen Dooley’s loose touch in midfield setting Wrexham away on an attack which ended with Andy Cannon meeting James McLean’s pull-back from the left and side-footing an edge-of-the-box finish into the bottom corner.
Worse was to come, and having apparently seemed in no trouble whatsoever, Town suddenly found themselves 2-0 behind and staring down the barrel with 41 minutes on the clock.
Ben Tozer’s long right-wing throw-in wasn’t dealt with by the Sulphurites’ defence, eventually reaching Paul Mullin at the far post, and his awkward attempt on goal was stabbed home from close range by Elliot Lee.
But, having carried very little attacking threat up until that point, Harrogate got themselves back into the contest on the stroke of half-time.
A bouncing ball sat up nicely for Jack Muldoon just inside the Wrexham penalty area, and his lay-off was calmly stroked beyond the motionless Okonkwo by Cornelius.
And the first-half action was not finished there, the men from North Wales almost restoring their two-goal cushion in the seventh minute of stoppage-time when George Evans’ sweetly-struck, 25-yard piledriver thudded back off the frame of the Town goal.
The next goal was always going to be crucial and the second period was only a minute old when Harrogate got it and levelled things up.
George Thomson whipped in a delicious free-kick from the right and centre-half Anthony O’Connor stooped to power home the equaliser from six yards out.
Buoyed by that goal, Weaver’s men kept on coming and looked as if they had turned the game on its head through Abraham Odoh, though his deflected shot found the side-netting rather than the part of the goal which counts.
With Town continuing to look the more likely, Thomson then saw a strike saved by Mark Howard, the interval replacement for injured Wrexham gloveman Okonkwo.
March then sent an instinctive first-time effort over the cross-bar from Matty Foulds’ dangerous low free-kick, before Foulds took aim himself from 30 yards out and wasn’t too far away with a thunderous hit.
By this stage, Harrogate were completely dominant and had their visitors pinned deep inside their own territory. But, having failed to capitalise and get their noses in front, their full-throttle assault began to wane and Wrexham were able to creep back into the contest.
With the momentum shifting, the Red Dragons created their first decent opening of the second half on 82 minutes, Sam Dalby seeing a fierce shot tipped over the top by Mitchell.
James Jones then drilled a 20-yarder inches the wrong side of the upright, with Harrogate now the team struggling to escape their own half.
The last 10 minutes would however see Town reclaim the ascendancy, though the full-time whistle eventually sounded with the scores still tied.
Town drop one place to 16th in the League Two standings despite Tuesday’s result. Wrexham, meanwhile, remain second.