Thankfully it doesn’t happen very often, but there are some games where you just want to leave after ten minutes. This was one of them. In fact, scrub that: why didn’t the clubs just get together beforehand and agreed to call it a 1-1 draw? Nobody would have really minded, and the few of us who turned up would have promised to keep the lack of a match a secret. We’d even have turned up and made crowd noises for an hour and a half to fool any passing Conference officials into thinking a game was going on. The ref wouldn’t have noticed: Conference refs notice nothing.
Instead, we stupidly went ahead with the game, and look what happened.
I did genuinely want to leave after ten minutes. Danny Wright’s injury had hit us all like a punch in the guts, and there was a horrible air of gloom around the ground as everyone pondered what it meant to our chances on the play-offs. My eye was drawn to Andy Morrell as Wright was stretchered off the pitch, his hands on his head in despair. I’ve never seen him so downbeat in the post-match press conference either. It was impossible to escape that feeling of dread: our one reliable finisher has hit his last shot of the season.
It had all started so well too. The first five minutes were terrific. Braintree started with the abandon of a side with nothing to fear, we responded with Morrell’s outstanding chip to open the scoring, and Ben Wright nearly equalised a minute later with a shot almost worthy of comparison to Morrell’s, only to be denied by a worldy from Chris Maxwell, tipping a curler onto the post with his top hand. Then Danny Wright got injured and it all turned sour.
Not that there weren’t positives. The young lads excelled again, with Rob Evans impressive in a holding role, Leon Clowes rock-solid at the back and Bradley Reid looking like in the space of just three days he’d absorbed the lessons of the Kidderminster game. Quick learners tend to go far in this game.
The old guys were impressive too: Morrell played as well as he has for some time while and Brett Ormerod was lively. Jay Harris got through ninety minutes too (well, seventy-six: I think the fact that we waited for him to be treated for so long rather than bring on a sub showed our priorites as we valued pitch time for a key player ahead of the game in hand.)
But the game was over-shadowed by what happened to Wright, and what it means for our prospects in the next couple of weeks.
Wrexham (4-3-3): Maxwell; Stephen Wright, Artell, Clowes, Ashton; Harris, Evans, Hunt; Danny Wright (Reid 8), Morrell (Adebola 88), Ormerod. Subs not used: Walker, Colbeck, Ogleby.