Wrexham climbed up to second in the Blue Square Premier courtesy of a resounding 6-1 hammering of struggling Nuneaton Town. Rooted to the bottom of the division, Nuneaton looked overawed as Wrexham, who barely moved out of second gear, coasted to their highest league victory of the season and their first at the Racecourse in two months.
After a sluggish opening 20 minutes, during which there was little creativity or invention on show, Wrexham took the lead through a moment of genius and inspiration courtesy of veteran striker Brett Ormerod. Ormerod, on the edge of the 18-yard box and with his back to goal, received a pass from Johnny Hunt before flicking a delicious reverse pass to Hunt, who, receiving the ball inside the penalty area, fired beyond Adam Smith to give the home side the lead in their first meaningful attack of the game.
That moment of genius and inspiration transformed both the home side and the game itself. Wrexham went on to carve out chance after chance, dominating the midfield and keeping Nuneaton firmly on the back-foot. The second goal came just 10 minutes later after the away side failed to clear a Dean Keates corner. The captain’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Neil Ashton before player-manager Andy Morrell supplied the finishing touch, scrambling the ball home from barely six yards.
The goals breathed life into Wrexham’s play and as the half wore on they looked increasingly composed and confident, completely changing the complexion of a dour opening to the game. With Wrexham continuing to look lively and create chances at will, it was no surprise that they added a third before the break. Nuneaton failed to heed the warning when Ashton was allowed a free-run from the corner for the second goal, and this time the left-back himself profited, guiding Keates’ near post corner into the back of the net.
Having failed to claim a league home win in over two months it was a welcome relief for the Racecourse faithful to be treated to a scoreline that the first-half performance had merited; Wrexham were dominant and their extra quality appeared likely to open the floodgates in the second half.
However, as the match meandered in the second half, Morrell made full use of his squad’s strength in depth, depth illustrated by the fact that it had shared the goals out between 18 different players. The attacking duo of Rob Ogleby and Adrian Cieslewicz profited from a triple substition that showcased Morrell’s desire to spread the goals out amongst the squad.
Ogleby added a fourth for the home side on 73 minutes, calmly slotting past the goalkeeper after being played through by the tireless Jay Harris. Harris was outstanding throughout and proved central to some of the best football that Wrexham produced during the game. Though his play deserved a goal, he would not begrudge the stunner that Cieslewicz created in the 84th minute.
The Pole cut inside from 35 yards out before firing a thunderous 27 yard strike beyond the hapless Smith; it appeared to be the crowning glory of Wrexham’s performance, but the goals continued to flow, and at both ends.
Nuneaton had been reduced to half-chances throughout the match, unable to break through a stubborn Wrexham back-line. Joslain Mayebi was rarely called upon as the away side proved rather wasteful with the chances that they did create. However, as the clock ticked down substitute Wesley York provided the away support with a well-taken goal that belied the lack of composure of his team-mates, yet it could not even be described as a consolation, so dominant were their opponents. The late goal put a dampener on Wrexham’s performance; they have now failed to keep a clean-sheet in the league since the end of September.
Yet the scoring wasn’t finished there as Dean Keates, full of running, earned his side a penalty deep into stoppage time. Ashton bagged his second of the game, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way in the process (video below – available in 1080p HD!).
Morrell may be disappointed that his side conceded such a soft goal at the end, but, the final scoreline will do much to increase the side’s confidence ahead of a busy festive period. With just four points now separating the top six, goal difference, as Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United could testify, could prove crucial come May.
A first league victory at the Racecourse since early October has propelled Wrexham to second in the table with a goal difference of +20, the joint-highest in the league, an accolade they share with their next opponents, a side they trail by a point; Grimsby Town.
Tomorrow on Wrexham.com : Post match thoughts from Andy Morrell!