You can’t really say we didn’t deserve to win this match: after all, the only chance we created apart from the own goal Grimsby scored for us was a flick-on from a long throw which was going wide but was fumbled by the keeper. But it was terribly harsh how the defeat came about, and probably said more for our depressed current state than anything else.
We defended well, especially in the second half when Grimsby pushed us back with the wind at our backs, and when the breakthrough came with three minutes left it was pretty much out of the blue. The 95th minute third was plain cruel.
Wrexham’s defence hadn’t looked so secure in the first half, with the centre backs struggling to judge the ball as the wind held it up and Steven Wright getting caught out by balls played in behind him. However, they adjusted well and when the defence was breached Andy Coughin was there to make three good saves.
There were even signs we might get a grip on the match when, having survived an extremely rocky opening ten minutes, we enjoyed the upper hand until Scott Nielson’s 22nd minute opener. Joe Anyinsah was a nuisance for Grimsby’s defenders and our wide men were starting to get into advanced positions as they did at Hereford. Neilson’s goal changed the dynamic of the game, but when we were rewarded for our best spell of pressure in the game with Shaun Pearson’s own goal, and then got away with some sloppy defending in the closing moments of the half, mainly through Coughlin’s alert save from a deflected free kick, you wondered if we might kick on.
We didn’t and once more the lack of strikers suited to playing a 4-4-2 looked obvious, especially after Anyinsah went off just before the hour. His influence had waned as the game wore on and he looked to be hobbling slightly as he left the pitch.
Still, we defended well as the game went on and it looked like we’d hold out until Aswad Thomas finally got into an overlapping position to take on Steve Tomassen and deliver a killer cross for Craig Disley. That was game over: we hadn’t looked capable of threatening the keeper in the second half and throwing Dave Artell up front wasn’t about to change things.
You’ve got to feel sorry for Billy Barr. Leaving Jay Harris out was a big call; throwing him on to stiffen midfield for the closing stages made sense, with Dean Keates playing behind a lone striker. I’m not sure he could have done much more, but when things aren’t going your way you just can’t catch a break.
Grimsby Town (4-4-2): McKeown; Hatton, Boyce, Pearson, Thomas; Rodman (McLaughlin 89), Thanoj, Disley, Neilson; Jennings (Hannah 86), John-Lewis (Cook 72). Unused subs Bignot, Kerr.
Wrexham (4-3-3): Coughlin; Tomassen, Wright, Livesey, Ashton; Carrington, Clarke, Keates (Artell 90), Hunt; Anyinsah (Ormerod 59), Ogleby (Harris 81). Unused subs Mayebi, Reynolds.
Referee: Jason Whitley
Attendance 3,506 Away 81
Wrexham Player Man of the Match Andy Coughlin