Wrexham produced a scintillating second-half performance as they stuffed struggling AFC Telford United 4-1 in front of a bumper Boxing Day crowd at the Racecourse. Brett Ormerod struck the opening goal inside the opening two minutes before rounding off the hosts’ afternoon late in the second half.
His double salvo was sandwiched either side of two wonderful finishes from Nick Rushton and Danny Wright as the title challengers proved too strong for their opponents, who struck a consolation goal through Jake Reid.
In the wake of a disappointing defeat at Grimsby Town on Friday night and a number of injuries that had depleted Andy Morrell’s resources, the home side made a commanding start to the game. Wrexham dictated the early exchanges, with captain Dean Keates proving particularly assured. His first-time cross-field pass found Johnny Hunt, deputizing for the injured Neil Ashton, who in turn fed Joe Clarke, but his shot was deflected wide of the post.
From the resultant corner, Wrexham opened the scoring. Jay Harris’ floated cross was met by Chris Westwood’s, whose powerful header forced Ryan Young into a sprawling save, but the rebound fell kindly for Ormerod, who found himself with enough space and time to fire Wrexham into an early lead.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the floodgates were bound to open – Wrexham had started with an impressive verve and tempo but were unable to make further inroads as a stubborn Telford rearguard held firm. Adrian Cieslwicz sloped off after half an hour – ‘a dead bum’ according to Morrell during the post-match pleasantries – and Wrexham’s cohesion and precision disappeared with him.
Former Wrexham midfielder, Steven Leslie, led the Telford fightback as the home side took their foot of the gas. Leslie, instrumental throughout the opening 45, came close to equalizing three times. On 15 minutes his scooped effort looped narrowly over the bar, but 10 minutes later Joslain Mayebi was forced into two excellent saves by the Scotsman; first from a free-kick and then from a fizzing drive outside the box.
Telford finished the first-half much the stronger side, Wrexham appeared to be overrun in midfield and too complacent with their passing from the back. However their strong opening to the game was mirrored by the way they started the second half. Jay Harris saw a 25-yard effort tipped over the bar before Neil Rushton’s low drive was turned behind by Young.
Wrexham had regained control of the middle ground and capitalized on their strong re-start when they doubled their lead on the hour mark. A Dean Keates corner was parried to the edge of the penalty area where Rushton was lurking and the youngster unleashed a venomous strike through a sea of bodies and into the roof of the net.
The second goal may have been overdue, but it precipitated a 15-minute period in which Wrexham killed the game as a contest. Danny Wright scored with a precocious dink over the ‘keeper on 69 minutes after being played in behind the defence by the impressive Ormerod, who provided the fourth just two minutes later after ghosting into the six-yard box to convert Johnny Hunt’s centre.
Telford substitute Jake Reid denied the hosts their first clean-sheet in the league since September when he headed home from a corner-kick soon after, but it proved more of a consolation than a dramatic fightback.
Wrexham ran out deserved victors following a commanding second-half showing that was given a gloss by fan favourite Glen Little’s cameo in the final five minutes. A 4-1 victory marks the perfect beginning to the Christmas calendar. With the goals starting to flow at the Racecourse, confidence is high ahead of a run of four games in just 10 days.
You can read post match thoughts from Morrell and Danny Wright by clicking here.
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