>Clutching At Straws

>Last Saturday reminded me of an epic match in our not so distant past, and as I started researching the column I was surprised to find that the two games were played on the same date. Coincidentally, our match against Dagenham and Redbridge on Easter Monday took place exactly eighteen years after a titanic clash with Colchester United.

The two games shared a lot of similarities. In March 1990 we were adrift at the bottom of the table, staring The Conference in the face. We were desperate for goals in the second half and, driven on by a strong wind and a snowstorm at our backs, we penned the opposition into their own half.

Sadly, that’s where the similarity ends.

We were 2-1 down to our main relegation rivals but took advantage of the elements to fight back, win 3-2 and catapult ourselves away from danger. Our inability to put Dagenham away in a similar manner leaves us with a mountain to climb.

I’m really struggling to think of when we last dominated a team so comprehensively, or created so many good chances in one match. As for when we last created so many good chances and took none of them, well I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen!

So can we escape the drop? A look at the table suggests not, but I’m going to try to make a case. After all, once you give up there’s no point in going on.

Firstly, there are two main barometers of a team’s health in my eyes; are they conceding goals and are they creating chances? There have been long stretches this season when Wrexham’s answer to both was in the negative. Brian Little has worked hard to ensure that we no longer leak goals, a fact which is proved by the fact that Gavin Ward has conceded just ten goals in thirteen league games for us.

Furthermore, you can level plenty of criticisms at Monday’s performance, but you certainly couldn’t say that we didn’t create chances! I suggested last week that we’d developed the attacking wherewithal to haul ourselves out of trouble, and I feel the Dagenham game bore that out; the problem was no-one applied the finish to the good attacking play.

If we continue to fulfil these two criteria then we still have a chance. We have games in hand, albeit difficult ones, and we do have games against our three main rivals for survival, so it’s in our hands! But we’re running out of time and have to start winning, probably tomorrow. Barnet are a mirror-image of us. They’re young and inexperienced, capable of catching fire and walloping a side, but equally likely to fall apart if things don’t go their way. We’ve got to make sure that the latter scenario unfolds. We probably would have taken four points from last Monday and tomorrow. To keep our survival hopes alive we just have to do it in the reverse order to how we thought we would.

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