Wrexham’s pre-season preparations continued with an encouraging second-half performance in a 2-0 victory over League One side Tranmere Rovers.
After the visiting side showed their superiority throughout the first half, Wrexham emerged with a comfortable victory after a strong second-half showing with goals from Brett Ormerod and a Neil Ashton penalty.
Against a team two leagues above them, and a week ahead in terms of preparation for the coming season, this was a positive result for Wrexham, secured by an impressive second-half showing.
Manager Andy Morrell conceded that his team were “miles away” in the first half, but praised them for coming back stronger in the second 45.
“First half I thought we were miles away. They were brighter minded, stronger, quicker, faster – everything that we normally are. We were lucky to go in at 0-0, it could have been anything really. We looked like we were going to concede every time they went forward.
“We managed to iron a few things out for the second half and I thought we were good, we played some good stuff. We played more behind them, caused them more problems and I thought we looked a lot brighter.
“We’ve been practicing set-pieces, especially the delivery of them, and they’re gonna be key to us this season in both boxes.”
The final scoreline was one few could have predicted after the League One side flew out of the traps early on, on a sweltering July afternoon in North Wales. The early action was largely overshadowed by events in the stands, as a small section of home fans crowded around the away support, and although the police were forced to intervene there was no trouble during the game.
After Andy Robinson blazed over, Adrian Cieslewicz was gifted a gilt-edge chance when he seized upon a loose ball, only to have his shot blocked by Taylor. It was the most Wrexham created in a first-half dominated by the traveling team.
Andy Morrell acknowledged that the Merseysiders could, and should, have been two-or-three goals to the good-by half time. Though live wire Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro was booked for simulation, it did little to deter him as he tore down Wrexham’s right hand side throughout the opening stages and brought out the best of Joslain Mayebi in the Wrexham goal. The Cameroonian also made important stops from Ryan Lowe, Akpo Sodje and Max Power as the visitors continued to stream forward before the interval.
The second-half told a completely different story, as Tranmere, seemingly intent on preventing injury ahead of next week’s curtain-raiser, let Wrexham dictate proceedings. But for all their second-half lethargy, Wrexham were good value for their win as a defensive pairing of Leown Clowes and Stephen Wright looked comfortable throughout.
The opening goal arrived in the 68th minute as Brett Ormerod seized upon a loose ball, after Jason Mooney had parried a Bradley Reid header, and steered the ball into a gaping net.
Tranmere did little to bring the game back to parity, their eyes firmly on the start of their season next weekend. The Dragons duly doubled their lead in stoppage time after a coming together between Bradley Reid and Ash Taylor resulted in a soft penalty. Neil Ashton dispatched, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and putting the gloss on a second-half performance.
Morrell was pleased with the second-half improvement, but noted that his side can not afford to start so slowly against Welling United in two weeks time. Eight of the starting eleven completed the game, and with his side finishing the game much the stronger of the two sides, Morrell can take a lot of heart.
For Bradley Reid this was a good learning curve, pitted against Ian Goodison, a player over twice his age, he demonstrated his raw ability and growing maturity, including an impressive side step in the first half.
There were also impressive performances from the increasingly mature Leon Clowes and Rob Evans. With Karl Parle also playing his part as a second-half substitute, Wrexham fans can be satisfied that the Centre of Excellence is continuing to supply the first-team; their presence could be vital this season.
After the game Morrell confirmed that Andy Bishop sat out the game as a precaution because of a tight groin, so to Mark Creighton, before revealing that a winger will be coming in on trial this week.