Matty Hayward – @MattyHayward96

Matty reports back on the game at the Racecourse Ground


“How we’ll get there I don’t know, how we’ll get there I don’t care,” sung the exuberant non-derelict Wrexham end, moments after Elliot Lee – their latest addition from a League One side, on a three-year deal, sporting a shirt sponsored by three multi-national businesses, watched by a Hollywood-funded documentary film crew – replaced Paul Mullin – for whom they outbid League One’s Cambridge United, the club at which he’d been top scorer the season before. Not all football songs should be taken literally – Jo Kuffour was neither four foot three nor better than Henry; it’s probably a stretch to call Tom Lapslie a “midfield maestro”; Gareth Southgate never really “turned me on” – but Wrexham fans know exactly how they’ll get to the Football League.

It’ll come by signing lots of good players for lots of money, and swatting aside brow-beaten, jaded, TLC-needing football clubs like ours, and like theirs once was. It’ll come, like it did yesterday, by those good players taking their chances, and the opponents missing theirs.

The problem (I mean, not the most significant problem, but *a* problem) with conceding six goals is that people like me start to forget how they went in, and in which order. I’m pretty sure the following recollection is accurate:

– Free header from a corner. So basic. So soft.

– Drilled shot, low, from the edge of the box past Halstead’s right hand. A good finish, for which he had far too much time.

– Mullin’s cross from the right is turned home by another of their striking arsenal: Ollie Palmer. To be fair, a neat goal.

– After a period at the start of the second half where we looked un-terrible at the back, their centre half rose higher than everyone else and, unchallenged, nodded home. So basic. So soft.

– Some sort of counter attack allowed Lee to feed Wrexham’s fourth choice centre forward Sam Dalby to tuck home his first for the club

– The lights were barely out on the fourth official’s injury-time board as the ball trickled along the Gulls’ six-yard box. It remained unclaimed, untouched, untreated, until some other chap who’s probably as hungover as me this morning could prod it past a flailing Halstead.

Well done if you’re still going. There are some positives. We looked relatively good going forward. Aaron Jarvis is a proper centre forward, and at 2-0 his header looped over the home goalkeeper and onto the bar. It looked to me to have crossed the line as it bounced down. The linesman (who, to be fair, is either Welsh or in the employ of Ryan Reynolds) and some Torquay fans didn’t agree. 

We also had a couple of half chances, and looked fairly dangerous with the ball at our feet. On another day, we would’ve scored twice. Then again, they hit the woodwork twice as well, and I sense the Wrexham fan we spoke to on the platform was right when he said they “didn’t get out of second gear.” Crucially, we didn’t score because our strikers aren’t extremely good, and they did because theirs are.


Mark Halstead 6 – We lost six nil, and I thought our goalkeeper did alright. Made some good saves, and looked composed on about 70% of the set pieces he had to claim. None of the goals looked his fault.

Dylan Crowe 6 – Had the advantage of being right in front of me throughout the first half so I could properly appreciate his performance, and there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s a very effective attacking wing back.

Shaun Donnellan 4 – His first twenty minutes were up there with the worst I’ve seen. Clumsy barely covers it. I mean this sincerely, and with the best will to all involved, he made Ali Omar look extremely composed.

Ross Marshall 5 – This goes for all the defenders: I didn’t see anyone especially at fault for the goals. But, as a collective, our defending was appalling. Marshall has to take some blame for that.

Ali Omar 5 – Definitely looks a far far better player than this time last season. Much less like he’s going to soil himself as soon as he gets possession.

Dan Martin 5 – Did alright.

Asa Hall 6 – Looked quite fit. To say he looked threatening would be pushing it, but he did attack with a small amount of purpose at times.

Scott Smith 6 – “Hi mate, yeah, if you could just drive down from Wigan on Thursday, then we’ll drive you all the way back up to Wrexham, and you’ll play in an already stretched midfield against the best team in the league in front of 10,000 noisemakers and we’re absolutely nailed on to lose. Yeah, and that’s your professional debut. You ok with that?”. In the circumstances he did fairly well, and he’s clearly not a totally useless idiot.

Kieron Evans 6 – Clearly relished playing in behind a front two, and looked ok.

Aaron Jarvis 7 – MOTM. See below.

Will Goodwin 6 – definitely a player in there. The two are a good front-line.


McGavin 5 – Did very little of note, good or bad.

Tomlinson n/a



Feels quite insane giving a 7/10 to a player involved in a 6-0 defeat, but Jarvis really impressed. He’s good enough to be what Danny Wright was to us when he first joined. Strong, good feet, big head. 


I mean, they’re extremely good. At this level. Which is a bad level.


The officials weren’t the difference, but also weren’t very good.


It was a 5-3-2, with Hall and Smith behind Evans in the midfield.


It’s not acceptable that we’re in a position where we go to a game, in the fifth tier, and everyone in the ground knows and expects that we’re going to get pumped. It really doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t listen to people who tell you that “we’re just a mediocre non-league club”, it’s bollocks, we mustn’t lie down and roll over and let our bellies get tickled at this level. Things can and should change; they can and should be better.

But, we did go there expecting to get hammered, and, depressingly, our season will be defined by results against Scunthorpe and Maidenhead rather than results against teams at the top of the tree. There were positive signs yesterday, and 6-0 isn’t quite a fair reflection of the game, but it was quite bad, and it needs to improve soon.







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