Ŵell that was better, but it still encapsulated how we’re just falling short this season.
The positives first. After the defeat at Luton we needed to respond, and we did. To be honest, it was pretty much impossible to not improve on what we did last Saturday, but still, we showed character on a stinking day in an exposed ground and ought to have won it.
The negatives, quite simply, are that having been the better side, we really needed to polish off the job and actually win the match. Heartening away draws aren’t the worst thing in the world, but our league position requires us to get something more than a warm feeling and a point out of games we dominate for long periods. And again, we conceded a soft goal. It must drive the bench crazy to contemplate the number of avoidable goals we’ve conceded, and consider where we’d be in the table if we’d cut them out as we have done so successfully for the last four seasons.
The bench can’t really influence individual lapses in concentration but they can take some responsibility for the team’s mindset going into a game. Having decided to essentially make a long weekend of it and travel early yesterday, Morrell and co were rewarded with a massively improved preformance from a team which looked determined to make amends for what I can only bring myself to call The Kenilworth Road Affair.
Despite losing Jay Harris and Dean Keates to injury, we dominated midfield. Rob Evans had the quality and character to rise to challenges like these, and he and Joe Clarke gave good energy to a midfield which featured an interesting little tweak. Johnny Hunt played at the sharp end of the triangle, behind the strikers. Purists would call it the Jamie Tolley role, no doubt. He was a threat, quite apart from his fine right footed strike (yes, that did say RIGHT footed! Having already had a very strong shout for a foul in the build-up, Welling had even more cause to feel aggrieved about his goal when he saw his once-in-a-lifetime-Hail-Mary option bear fruit) with Brett Ormerod having a game which was essentially his Wrexham career in microcosm – sporadic, high quality involvement – and Andy Bishop making a good fist of occupying two big, strong centre backs, we carried a threat up front.
Interesting, we broke with more pace than usual, and an equally diverting matter to consider was the role of Rob Ogleby. After a couple of games on the bench, he was the one striker given the full ninety minutes, and he provided the X Factor which led to our greatest threat in the first half when we got our service right, looking to get behind the defence as we used the slight wind against us and a mushy pitch to play balls behind their back four for him to chase.
At the back, apart from failing to mark a tall striker for a free kick from the half way line, we were solid. Again, we lost a centre back to injury, again Leon Clowes showed why the departure of Junior Ntame is no loss. The Welling scorer Guthrie was a threat cutting in from the right but nothing we couldn’t handle, his goal notwithstanding, and Welling’s day was summed up by their target man Lafayette, who held the ball up admirably but offered no real danger to us in the box.
Welling might have snatched a win with the last kick of the game, as Andy Coughlin and Hunt performed heroics from a goalmouth scramble, but a draw was a bit of a travesty. A defeat would have been as hard to swallow as The Kenilworth Road Affair.