Well, if Kevin Wilkin didn’t have a good idea of the job in hand, he does now.
It usually takes more than one training session to make a difference and it was a good job Wrexham’s fans remembered that. It has to be said that if we’d played like this at home to a team that hadn’t won or scored in four games and has an awful away record while we were under Andy Morrell or Billy Barr, portions of the crowd would have been baying for blood. I hope the crowd remain as patient with the new manager and give him a chance to develop the club in his own image.
This wasn’t Wilkin’s squad, and he wisely opted to select the same starting eleven as last Tuesday, partly because he saw them do well against Hereford, partly because to drop a player after one training session would run the risk of immediately rocking the boat, but mainly because he’s hardly had time to wipe his feet on The Racecourse welcome mat before being hurled into his first match.
If any reasonable questions can be raised about the calls Wilkin made during his first day on public show, they would be posed over the changes he did make, among the substitutes. Selecting a bench which consisted of a goalkeeper, two centre backs and two strikers tied his hands and made it more difficult to carry out alterations when the game was slipping from Wrexham’s grip. Having both Dave Artell and Steve Tomassen in reserve seemed a little unnecessary as the versatile youngster would be able to cover an injury at centre back or right back, and the chances of having to, or wanting to, replace both central defenders in one game are slim. With Andy Bishop replacing Rob Ogleby at half time, one would assume due to an injury, there was only one attacking option left, and without the likes of Robbie Evans available to freshen up the midfield we had lost, there was little Wilkin could do to change things from his bench beyond making a like-for-like substitution. Again, if Morrell or Barr had left his first tactical substitution to the 81st minute in a match like this, there would have been mutiny in the air.
The first half wasn’t too bad after a scrappy start. From early on City enjoyed more possession and territory than Wilkin would have wanted, their switch to three at the back allowing them to occupy our back four with two strikers and match us up in the centre of the park. But in a game of few chances Clovis Kamdjo’s daft concession of a penalty set us up nicely and we were in control for the last quarter of an hour before the break. Well, except for the final seconds of the half. A sloppy equaliser, as Stuart Sinclair was allowed to much space to measure a cross and Kamdjo was able to get across his man to score, cost us and we spent the second half digging in for a point.
On the positive side, we defended well in the second half, with Danny Livesey outstanding. On the negative side,we had to. Wilkin surely can’t wait to put his stamp on this side, and neither can the rest of us.
Wrexham (4-3-3): Coughlin; Carrington, Livesey, Wright, Ashton; Harris, Keates, Clarke; Ogleby (Bishop 46), Ormerod (Anyinsah 81), Hunt. Subs: Mayebi, Artell, Tomassen.
Salisbury City (3-5-2): Puddy (Bittner 83); MacDonald, Clarke, Brett; Amankwah, S Sinclair, Wilson, Kamdjo, Frear; Fitchett, McPhee (Sheringham 65). Subs: White, Lewis.
Referee: Wayne Barrett
Wrexham Player Man of the Match: Danny Livesey
Miscellaneous: Kevin Wilkin’s first game asWrexham manager; Dean Keates’ 150th Wrexham appearance; Jay Harris’ 150th Wrexham league appearance