In the aftermath of another weekend where Wrexham dropped crucial points at home, player-manager Andy Morrell was in a conciliatory mood. Whilst bemoaning the lack of a cutting-edge that saw Wrexham unable to see out their slender lead in the second-half, Morrell was upbeat when reflecting on his side’s performance during the 1-1 draw against Gateshead.
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“I was a bit disappointed not to win. I didn’t think we were under any real trouble. Sometimes you have to just hold your hands up and go ‘it’s a great goal’. Apart from that I didn’t think Andy (Coughlin) really had much to do.”
“I thought first-half we were really bright and created a fair few chances, but to be fair to them they threw their bodies on the line and blocked a lot. In the second half it just petered out at the end a bit. They did what teams tend to do, stick 10 men behind the ball and make it hard for us, and that’s when we really need a bit of guile and something a bit different.”
“A point gets us rolling again, but there’s still so far to go. I’m more pleased with the performance, especially first-half. I think that puts us on the front-foot and enables us to go on an unbeaten run now.”
Morrell was eager to praise the returning Martin Riley and Wrexham’s improved defensive solidity, but felt that Ryan Donaldson could have been closed down quicker for the Gateshead equalizer.
“We looked solid today, we weren’t in much trouble. Rile’s come back and played really well. I am disappointed we haven’t got the three points, but I think we needed to put on a performance more than anything and get that scoreboard ticking over again.”
“Credit to the lad having a go, sometimes you play the lottery and you win. I’m a bit more disappointed with how he’s been able to have a free run. On the whole I don’t think Andy (Coughlin) was troubled that much.”
Morrell conceded, however, that Wrexham are finding it difficult at present to capitalize on their chances. Wrexham created numerous opportunities towards the end of the first half but found visiting keeper Adam Bartlett in supreme form. He also felt that the home side were denied a spate of penalty appeals.
“It’s the hardest thing in football to score a goal. We’re up there with the top scorers in the league, but we need to take chances when they come. Sometimes it’s good defending and we’ve come up against keepers in good form.”
“I thought we had three shouts for a penalty. It just seems that we’re not quite getting that rub of the green or luck that you need. You have to just work hard, train hard and practice and that luck will come your way.”
Nick Rushton scored the game’s opening finish with a clinical side-footed finish, and Morrell was full of praise for the youngster.
“He took it really well. He’s a good finisher, finds the net regularly in training. He’s been patient waiting for his chance. I’m delighted for him and he deserved one for his play in recent weeks. He is clincal with his chances, hopefully that can kick-start him and he might get us a few now.”
Morrell’s counterpart, Gateshead manager Ian Bogie, lavished praise on the 21-year old, former England U-19 international, Donaldson.
“Have you seen a better goal? It’s a goal fitting to win any game; it’s a fantastic strike. I thought we were good value for the point today. Wrexham went direct in their search for the winning goal, and we coped with it ok.”
“He’s an England youth international, played for Newcastle’s first team. one of them whose had to find his feet at this level, a totally different ball game. he’s starting to grasp that, his goal capped off a fine performance. plenty to come, local lad, great talent, good physical attributes, quick, runs with the ball well.
With Wrexham travelling to Braintree Town in midweek, Morrell insisted that his side are in good shape as the season continues to unfold.
“We’ve got 33 points from 18 games, which is ok, and 3 points off the top with a game in hand. If someone had offered it to me at the start, I would have taken it. I thought today was more about the performance, I was pleased with it about 75-80% of the time. They’re (Braintree) not going too bad. We’ve got to be ready, it’s a game in hand that we can look to capitalize on. The more times you can take three points, the better.”
As Wrexham continue failing to either capitalize on chances created or the dropped points of rival teams, Morrell will take heart from the fact that his side have not lost away from home since their trip to Macclesfield, back in August.
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