Harrogate Town go 'back to basics' in a bid to tighten up ahead of defining period

Harrogate Town had to go “back to basics” in a bid to tighten up ahead of their victory over Torquay United, but goalkeeper James Belshaw insists that there is still work to be done.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 9:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 9:18 pm
James Belshaw says that Harrogate Town need to tighten up at the back. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Simon Weaver’s team conceded 14 times in the space of a six-game period that saw them win just once prior to last weekend’s much-needed triumph against the Gulls.

And, with sixth-placed Town desperate to stay within touching distance of the National League’s top-three, Belshaw revealed that something had to be done to stem the flow.

“We had to address the fact that we were conceding too many goals, too many sloppy goals,” he said.

“In the build-up to the Torquay game we went back to basics in training. We worked on keeping our shape – not just myself and the back four – but the whole team.

“We looked at how we can defend better from the front and as a unit, and ways to be more solid.

“I definitely think it worked on Saturday because I only had two or three saves to make, and the goal that we conceded was a penalty.

“There was definitely an improvement, which is pleasing, however there are still plenty of things to work on and we know we can do a lot better.”

Town turn their attentions to the FA Trophy and welcome Hartlepool United to the CNG Stadium on Saturday (3pm), but after that they face a run of five league matches in just 15 days over the festive season, a period that Belshaw believes will go a long way to defining their season.

“Overall, if you look at the bigger picture I think we’re doing pretty well and I am comfortable with where we are in the table at the moment,” he added.

“We are still in a position to challenge the top three, but we are heading into a really important part of the season. We lost four out of five over Chirstmas and New Year last season and I believe that blip really cost us.

“We have to do much better this time around and keeping things tight and remaining solid at the back will play a big part.

“When you’ve got so many games in such a short space of time and you’re going to places like Chorley in the middle of winter, we’re going to need to win ugly on occasions.

“There will only be the odd goal in a lot of these games, so if we’re going to nick results, we can’t keep conceding threes and fours.”