No two ways about it: this was an excellent performance and a wonderful day. From the determination of the fans digging themselves out of the snow and getting themselves to Wembley, to the character of the players, there was a lot to make you proud to support Wrexham. And Richard Brodie missed a penalty too. You couldn’t make it up.
But in actual fact the admirable nature of the occasion cut both ways. Grimsby distinuished themselves, even if they weren’t able to match us on the pitch.
If it hadn’t been for James McKeown we could have won by four or five goals. Watching the highlights on S4C really brought that home: he made more terrific saves than I thought he had, and I thought he’d made a hell of a lot of them! It was interesting in post-match conversations to find a massively diverse range of opinions when it came to discussions on which save was the best: he made so many good saves that it was hard to agree on the best one!
Yet in other respects Grimsby were winners too. Craig Disley’s dignified and honest response on Twitter to Dean Keates’ magnanimous behavour after his 12th challenge on him was admirable. McKeown’s heart was massive. And the way their fans responded to our performance was humbling. On their forums and in the hotel bars afterwards the tone was one of respect: Grimsby’s fans accepted we were deserving winners and congratulated us. Defeating such dignified opponents and receiving the credit we deserved for it made the day all the more gratifying. I hope we meet again in League Two next season.
On the pitch, things clicked increasingly as the match went on. The entire back four was excellent throughout, the midfielders had got a grip of the middle of the pitch by the half hour and never relinquished it, and the strikers revelled in the increased service they enjoyed as the match progressed. The trio who came off the bench all made important contributions too. Far from freezing on the big occasion, the entire unit functioned. And that bodes well for the challenges which are to come.
Wrexham (4-3-3): Maxwell; S Wright, Westwood, Riley, Hunt; Keates, Harris, Thornton (Clarke 89); D Wright, Morrell (Cieslewicz 61), Ormerod (Ogleby 77) UNUSED SUBS: Coughlin, Little