This wasn’t half bad: pity it doesn’t really mean much. Obviously that’s partly because we had nothing to play for, and also because the assumption is that come August our team will look very different from this.
So conclusions drawn from a match against a side hit by injury should be tentative, especially as our key moments of incisiveness came when an on-loan teenager provided the pace and quality we’ve lacked over the last few weeks.
However, it was interesting to see Kevin Wilkin do something he’d suggested he’d turn to with reluctance and start with a 4-3-3. This squad is clearly best suited to that shape, and it looked more at home in probably the best Wrexham performance Wilkin has seen.
Admittedly the deficiencies which have dogged the season were still evident. Forest Green’s goal was far too simple: a single straight ball through the heart of our defence which left Andy Coughlin horribly exposed.
However, in other regards we were better than we had been for some time. Our ball retention was impressive, although on the first half we failed to do much with it, the slowness of our passing and movement meaning we never really managed to penetrate. Wilkin has already made it plain that he wants to inject some pace into the squad: Theo Bailey-Jones was clearly recalled not so much because of what he can do as the qualities he offers in theory. Bradley Reid brought the pace in this match, and it didn’t hurt that Joe Williams is developing into a tidily efficient targetman who can hold the ball up and buy time for the rest of the team to get close to him high up the pitch.
The improvement came before then, though, as our passing got snappier and we dominated the second half. With Jay Harris energetic in midfield and Dean Keates getting the ball moving, we actually looked quite good. How many of these players remain to try and build onthis next season is a moot point though.
Forest Green Rovers: Russell (White 65); Oshodi, Oliver, Bennett, Hodgkiss ;Jordan, Barry (Taylor 70), Green, Norwood; Hughes, Rodgers (Wright 86) Unused subs: Martin, Walker.
Wrexham (4-4-2): Coughlin; Carrington, Livesey, Artell, Ashton; Clarke (Reid 66), Keates, Harris; Bailey-Jones, Anyinsah (Williams 81), Hunt Unused subs: Wright, Tomassen, Ogleby
Attendance: 1,630 Away: 270
Wrexham Player Man of the Match: Jay Harris
Miscellaneous: Johnny Hunt’s 100th league appearance; Joe Clarke’s 125th Wrexham appearance