Enter The Dragon

As debuts go, that really wasn’t bad!

Elliot Lee’s signing was greeted eagerly by Wrexham fans, who hoped he would bring a creative X factor to our attacking play. Having missed a chunk of pre-season through injury, expectations were probably lowered when he came on last Saturday. Would we have to wait to see him at his best?

Absolutely not.

Lee came on in the 63rd minute of a match which was grinding its way to an unhappy conclusion. Eastleigh were cynical opponents, and the referee, Scott Jackson, tied himself in a knot trying to handle their underhand dealings.

By adhering to the absurd unspoken rule that referees shouldn’t book players in the first half hour or so of a match, Jackson made a rod for his own back. Eastleigh’s time-wasting, play-acting and provocative behaviour went unchecked, and a tone was set for the match.

To make matters worse, they had the audacity to score off a long throw, which is supposed to be our thing! Their final pre-season friendly had been played against a side which uses long throws, to prepare them for Tozer’s rockets, but ironically they took the lead from such a manoeuvre.

This gave them a boost and they fought hard to defend their lead, through fair means and foul. A side which had come looking for a clean sheet had been gifted a goal, and was energised by that unexpected turn of events.

Wrexham responded by doing all the right things, monopolising possession and grinding away at the cliff face of Eastleigh defence. The problem is, erosion takes time, and although they were driven deeper in the second half, they didn’t lose their discipline. They defended the area well, and set pieces seemed our best hope of a goal.

Enter Lee.

Elliot Lee’s reputation is for spontaneous creativity, and that was exactly what we were screaming out for. Boy, did Lee deliver!

While his first touch resulted in him losing the ball, he was trying to execute a difficult turn and, in doing so, created a loose ball which resulted in a Paul Mullin shot.

Next, he set off on a mazy dribble down the left. I have to admit that I have reservations about players who look fancy on the ball but then don’t deliver. Fancy Dans with no end product irritate me, and I admit I harboured concerns that Lee might fall into that category.

I felt considerably better when Lee next got the ball. He set off on a similarly meandering run, but capped it by bursting past the right back and dinking in a lovely cross to the far post, while Ollie Palmer headed over.

Soon afterwards he’d equalised, capping a lovely move with a fine early finish which beat the keeper before he had a chance to set himself.

The winner was, like the first, the culmination of confident approach play, a confident first touch and intelligent movement. The way players wanted to link up with him reminded me of when Glen Little would come off the bench and inspire the players around him.

Little, of course, was at the end of his career and wasn’t able to start games regularly. Lee is a different kettle of fish. He’s offered us a tantalising first glimpse of his quality, and I can’t wait to see if he can produce such magic consistently over 90 minutes.

2 thoughts on “Enter The Dragon

  1. Hi Mark I love listening to your podcasts on YouTube but can I ask how can I listen to your game commentary’s for this season as I can’t find you on Calon radio anymore. Regards Phil Preest.

    1. Hi Philip!

      Thank you – that’s very kind of you.

      The commentaries are free on the club’s website: on match day, click on the “Match Centre” link, and about 20 minutes before kick-off a link will appear for the commentary. You’ll have to register with the club website, but that’s free and only takes a moment!

      If you want to use your phone, download the iFollow app and you’ll find it on there if you search for Wrexham.

      I hope that’s helpful: I post a graphic showing how to do it on match days on Twitter if you have any problems – I’m @markgriffiths92

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