Debut-day delight for Eoghan O’Connell, as his late goal handed Wrexham all three points.
Wrexham’s winning form in the league continued, after a difficult affair at the J. Davidson Stadium.
With the unfortunate injuries to Aaron Hayden and Jordan Tunnicliffe, Phil Parkinson would have to call upon the trusty Max Cleworth and new signing O’Connell to join the back three with Ben Tozer.
Similar to the first half against Gateshead, Wrexham lacked an urgency to their play. Loose crossfield passes were constant and things just simply didn’t click.
Jordan Hulme would also be a live wire for the Robins, having two glorious chances in the first half to put the home side ahead. Wrexham would have the crossbar to thank for the score remaining goalless at half-time.
With the comparison to the Gateshead game, Wrexham made a marked improvement in the second period.
Any holes in the backline were plugged, giving a foundation for the attacking phases.
Elliot Lee was once again instrumental, notably picking up the ball on the left-wing to weave through and around defenders to create opportunities and in turn, the first goal.
Carefully stalking forwards against Danny Cashman, Lee whipped in an inverted cross into a packed Altrincham box. The ball would find Lewis Baines’ head, but fall sideways onto the foot of Ollie Palmer. After an outstanding first touch to keep the ball in front of him, he easily volleyed the ball into the back of the net with his left foot.
Once again, Parkinson’s men scored on the hour mark. A healthy habit to say the least.
After doing so well to snuff out any Altrincham attack in the second half, Wrexham’s intensity would fall short for one moment, allowing the home side back into the game.
In the 81st minute, a simple sideways pass to Miles Welch-Hayes would see the defender’s eyes light up, as he found himself in room on the edge of the Wrexham box. Lee tried to scurry across the park to close him down, whilst Jacob Mendy was stuck between a rock and a hard place, marking his man inside the box. Welch-Hayes blasted a right-footed shot, which was only destined for the side netting of Mark Howard’s goal and Altrincham would draw level.
With the recent FA Cup game and upcoming replay, a draw against a midtable side would fit the narrative for so many. To see Wrexham drop points in the title race, with their full attention not on the league…
Up step Eoghan O’Connell.
Luke Young would find substitute Sam Dalby at the front-post from a corner, whose header would slam against the near-post and back out to him. Trying his luck again, Dalby would slip shooting on the half-volley, forcing Oliver Byrne to push the ball back into the danger area.
Wrexham’s ability to punish teams failing to clear the danger has been a feature of their season and O’Connell understood the assignment, as he blasted home the loose ball into the Altrincham net to claim all three points for the Red Dragons in blue.
The unwavering attitude to find a way to win was ever-present.
Three points now separate Wrexham from top spot, but Parkinson’s side have two games in hand on Notts County in first place.
Focus will shift once again to the FA Cup, as the Red Dragons travel to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United in the Fourth Round Replay.