Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell was left rueing a lack of guile that saw his side cede their place at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier League with a disappointing stalemate against Luton Town at the Racecourse on Saturday evening.
Morrell conceded that the visitors were well organised, but felt that they had sacrificed any hopes of winning the game by playing for a draw.
Asked if he felt 0-0 was a fair result, the 38-year old responded “I don’t think so, I think there was only one team that was going to try and win it, to be honest, but we just didn’t quite have that guile I suppose in the final third to create a good opportunity to score.”
“We had a few set-pieces in the first-half cleared off the line, they had one as well. We had the majority of play but we just couldn’t break down their bank of four and bank of five. We were a bit static in the final third, we didn’t have the movement and fluency of previous games. It was difficult, they made it hard for us.”
Though Luton proved resolute in defence, Morrell believes his side did not do enough to force a result.
“We didn’t move the ball quick enough, we played at a tempo that they were happy with and we didn’t move them across the pitch enough to make the gaps where we can get it in. We got it in a couple of times to Dele, and a couple of shots off Brett, but it was not enough. You have to move them from side to side to create those gaps and it was too slow, which enabled them to move across and block those holes.”
“It’s another point to where we want to be, but we could’ve done with three. Now we move onto the next one.”
“You saw right at the end Maxi made a great save to keep us in it. We have had chances and half-chances, we have scored and it’s been disallowed for offside, the lads aren’t too sure. We’ll have a look at it. You don’t want to chuck caution to the wind and I know we’ve got to win all our games to stay in with a chance, but you don’t want to lose it as well.”
Morrell faced a stern backlash from the Racecourse crowd with his choice of substitutions. Having allowed the game to drift away from Wrexham following a double change by Luton on 63 minutes, Morrell waited until the 73rd minute to bring on Glen Little before sacrificing the tireless Joe Clarke for fan-favourite Adrian Cieslewicz five minutes later.
“The subs did ok. I’ll probably have a sleepless night tonight because I probably got that wrong. I was on the bench, I should maybe have put myself on and given Dele or Danny a break.”
Wrexham face the second installment of a season-defining week on Tuesday evening with the visit of new table toppers, Mansfield Town. With the opposition on a run of nine successive victories, Morrell knows his charges face a tough task.
“It’s another big game. I said it was going to be a big week for us, we’ve started off not great but it’s not a disaster. We’re a point closer to where we want to be, but we’re going to have to be a little bit more creative in the final third. Mansfield are probably going to be similar to Luton, they’re very solid and have a lot of threats going forward. We’ll have to be better than we were today if we’re going to get anything out of the game.”
Morrell refused to label the clash a must-win affair, but recognises that as the season enters the final strait, Wrexham can ill-afford to drop more points.
“There’s still eight games to go and 20-odd points to play for. A lot of teams are winning at the top.”
The player-manager also believes that absentees Dave Artell and Neil Ashton should be available in the coming week, “They’re doing better than they were. Ashy’s coming on loads, we thought he was very doubtful for Tuesday and Sunday, but he’s come on really, really well. We’re going to have to assess him everyday and see how we go with him.”