So am I the sort of person who pushes people to ensure they get better results, or just an old misery?
That’s a question which has been in my mind for the last few days as I contemplate my reaction to Wrexham’s last couple of wins, because frankly I’ve been out of step with what everyone else seems to think.
Let’s get the incontestable facts sorted first, before we go into how I’m interpreting matters. We beat Gateshead 3-1 at home in the league, and then won 2-0 at Weston Super Mare in the FA Cup. So far so clear, but how I saw those performances hasn’t tallied with the reaction I’ve read and seen since.
The reaction to the Gateshead win was pretty euphoric. Everybody was happy that we’d scored three goals, ending a spell in which we’d struggled to score – we’d scored twice in only two of our previous nine games.
I wanted more though. The goals were a motley bunch, an own goal, a catastrophic marking breakdown and a deflected injury time goal when Gateshead were pushing for an equaliser. I’ve no problem with scruffy goals, but we didn’t really create any other chances, which was why I didn’t feel I could really get carried away. Don’t get me wrong – it was a solid performance. I just didn’t see it as the cause for celebration everyone else seemed to.
I felt the same on Sunday. We deserved to win, were the better side, and I’m never one to turn my nose up at a result, having travelled to some tiny clubs only to see Wrexham collapse in the past. It was good to get some winning momentum going, and maintain our unbeaten run.
Still, I didn’t feel satisfied. We’d got into good attacking positions regularly, but failed to convert enough of them into good chances, and when we did create opportunities, we weren’t clinical enough.
We were clearly a different class from Weston Super Mare, but didn’t put two goals worth of clear water between us and them until the 81st minute. We really ought to have been more ruthless in a match where we got our game plan right, and through judicious pressing exploited the home side’s desire to pass the ball out from the back on a pitch which was cutting up.
Both victories made me happy, but left me with an uneasy feeling. Stronger opponents than Gateshead might be able to hold us at arm’s length; stronger opponents than Weston Super Mare might be able to punish us for not putting our chances away. Don’t assume I’m just a whinger too quickly though. Although we’re top of the table, the only way we’ll stay there is if we challenge ourselves. By demanding increasingly higher standards, we’re likely to keep improving.
They say if you stand still, you’ll be overtaken. Let’s be restlessly demanding this season, and always look to keep moving forwards.
Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.