Harrogate Town goalkeeper James Belshaw felt 'unbeatable' during Walsall FC stalemate

Harrogate Town goalkeeper James Belshaw revealed that he felt "unbeatable" during Good Friday's goalless draw at Walsall.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 3:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 3:22 pm
Harrogate Town goalkeeper James Belshaw in action against Walsall at the Banks's Stadium. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites' stopper was in inspired form, keeping out Emmanuel Osadebe's first-half penalty as well as producing five other impressive saves to earn his team a point.

The visitors could easily have been dead and buried by half-time were it not for his heroics, and the 30-year-old admitted that he took plenty of satisfaction from playing a starring role against his old club.

"On a personal level, it was a very pleasing day, particularly because it was against one of my former clubs. Probably the only way it could have got any better is if we nicked a late winner," Belshaw told the Harrogate Advertiser.

James Belshaw saves Emmanuel Osadebe's 38th-minute spot-kick.

"It's nice to contribute and, as a goalkeeper, to save a penalty, it's your main chance of glory. To be able to that today was good.

"It's like scoring a goal for a keeper. It's a team performance but as an individual, it's your chance to shine, so it's obviously very pleasing.

"When it's your day, it's your day. Sometimes it happens like that and you do feel unbeatable. Everything I did today seemed to come off.

"It was a bit like Bromley away back in the National League. I don't know if it is quite on a par with that one, but it did include a penalty save, so I'm very happy."

Belshaw's first save of note saw him showcase lightning quick reactions to stop Josh Gordon's low strike on the turn before throwing himself to his right to push Osadebe's firmly-struck spot-kick away.

The former Walsall trainee was then quickly off his line to head clear following Warren Burrell's careless attempted back-pass, and thwarted Osadebe once again when the Saddlers attacker took aim inside the box.

After the resumption, the Harrogate stopper denied Tyreik Wright one-on-one, Wes McDonald from distance and pushed over Caolan Lavery's blast.

Of his penalty save, he added: "I've watched videos of all Walsall's penalties and our analyst sent me graphics of where they've put them, so I had done my research.

"His last penalty, he went that way, but to be honest, leading up to him taking it, I had got it into my head that he was going to switch side. Strikers know that you do your research.

"I was going to dive to my left, but when he put the ball down, there's a few things that I look for in body language and movements and little tells, and he made it quite obvious to me that he was going to go the same way.

"So I went early. I know that he doesn't stutter-step and wait, so I knew that I could go early and it was a nice height.

"So yeah, it was a decent save in the end, but the most difficult one was the first one when he [Josh Gordon] has turned with his left foot and I've managed to get my hand down low to my left."