Almost exactly a year since Wrexham ran out 1-0 winners down in Newport last season, that same youthful look to the Wrexham came up trumps for the Reds once again. A 1-0 win against 13th placed Cambridge United courtesy of Jay Colbeck’s second goal of the season.
With seven changes to the team that slumped to a poor defeat at Woking at the weekend, there was a fresh look about the team, with an influx of the youth players, showing why they deserve a look in. No Riley, Westwood, Harris, Keates or Stephen Wright, in came Rushton, Clowes, Colbeck and a substitute appearance from Rob Evans.
Declan Walker also retained his place in the team along with Chris Maxwell and Adrian Cieslewicz was brought back in for a start. Then there was Johnny Hunt on the bench. All in all, that counts 8 of the 16 squad last night that had progressed through the youth ranks at Wrexham, a credit to the work of Andy Davies and Joey Jones respectively.
A first home start in the league for Clowes and Colbeck and just their second league starts ever for the Dragons, they proved more than up for the challenge in key positions.
With 3 points needed to secure a play-off spot, this wasn’t a nothing to play for game. But the youngsters did their job sublimely. With centre back partnership of Artell and Clowes the defence looked solid, despite the fact that the two hadn’t played a first team together and the fact Artell was coming back from injury.
Despite a slightly shaky start, Clowes grew into the game and by the end of 90 minutes had thrown his body in the way of the ball, made powerful headers away and let’s not forget some crunching tackles!
Jay Colbeck was magnificent in the middle of the park. Playing first time balls to start attacks quickly, not shying away from a tackle, and leaving his man for dead many a time with some cute little turns into space. It was his goal that separated the two sides after 4 minutes after following up his own shot which could only be parried by Nicholas Pope in the Cambridge goal.
Rushton and Walker combined well down the right, threatening at all times. Both weren’t afraid to take on a man and Nick Rushton nearly got lucky when he sped past McAuley into the box but his cross was over hit. Walker provided the crosses that created danger, as well as a cheeky nutmeg on Andy Pugh in the second half!
Then there was the appearance of Rob Evans from the bench. Only his second league appearance as well (both off the bench) plus an FA Trophy appearance against Rushall Olympic back in November, but, like Colbeck, played with real maturity. Sitting deep and starting attacks with pin point passes, and bursts from midfield, Evans proved a handful for Cambridge. Like Clowes and Colbeck, he didn’t shy away from a challenge either! Andy Morrell said how impressed he was with Evans in the post match interview commenting on how much of a “tidy footballer” he is and that he has a “huge future ahead of him”.
So a successful night all round for Wrexham, 3 points, play offs guaranteed for a third successive season, and a fantastic performance from the youngsters given a chance. With the key members of the squad rested though, suddenly the youngsters have got something to shout about. Breathing down the necks of the regulars in the team, the kids are our future!