Was This Parky’s Best Win?

Was last Tuesday the best performance Wrexham have managed under Phil Parkinson?

Quite possibly: this was a sumptuous display which laid bare exactly what the manager has been looking to achieve with this squad.

I’m bemused by claims that Parkinson is too defensive, an accusation levelled at the manager by a disgruntled minority as recently as our last home game. We scored three goals in that match, though, and started in scintillating manner.

We couldn’t sustain that level though, because the opposition has a right to put in a good performance, and that’s exactly what a battling Gateshead did. Since then we’ve managed to maintain those standards and put in two superb attacking performances.

The 5-0 at Dorking was spectacular, but the beating we handed out to Dagenham and Redbridge was another level again.

The passing and movement was so fluent, so well-grooved. It was incredibly easy on the eye, and my one complaint is we didn’t score more. To be fair, though, Dagenham keeper Elliott Justham was a major factor in keeping the score down: he was utterly superb in the midst of Wrexham’s bombardment.

Elliott Justham adds to his string of great saves.

Every player clicked, and interacted effectively with those around him. Jacob Mendy and Anthony Forde were immense on the wings, and the complementary movement of the midfielders and centre backs on their respective sides of the pitch – Jordan Davies and Max Cleworth on the left, James Jones and Aaron Hayden on the right – was smooth, natural and devastating.

In midfield, the trio of Davies, Jones and Luke Young dominated the game completely. It’s a resounding commendation of the levels of excellence achieved by the side to consider Young and Davies in particular: each of them put in the sort of performance which would rank alongside their best performances in a Wrexham shirt, but remarkably they didn’t really stand out because every player was at that level!

Up front, of course, we had the dynamic duo at their very best. Paul Mullin and Ollie Palmer chipped in with two goals each and utterly tormented the Dagenham defence. I wonder how many times, in the 750 league games he’s taken charge of, Parkinson has had to explain to two players why he subbed them when they were on a hat trick!

Mullin flitted around, dragging defenders into areas of the pitch they weren’t comfortable in. One minute he dropped deep and made some ambitiously creative first time passes, the next he was sprinting in behind the back three and threatening Justham’s goal.

The beleaguered back three didn’t know if they were coming or going, but they did know that they couldn’t wait to be going.

Alongside Mullin, Palmer was magnificent. I don’t think we’ve seen the technical side of his game expressed quite as emphatically as it was on Tuesday as he dropped into midfield and played some lovely passes which required both vision and guile. Yet it was a performance of sheer physical excellence too. Dagenham’s defenders just couldn’t cope with Palmer’s policy of shock and awe as he bullied them relentlessly.

Palmer’s fabulous form can, I think, be summed up with one simple statement. We bought Mullin to stack up the goals against defences who weren’t able to cope with his quality, and he is delivering in full, yet so far this season Palmer is matching him at the very least!

So, was this Parkinson’s finest hour and a half so far?

It certainly exceeded this season’s 5-0 beatings of Maidstone and Dorking. The glorious flow we achieved was superior to anything we managed in those games, and we sustained it for most of the match.

Also, the opposition was stronger. Despite Dagenham’s poor start to the season, I think we’ll see by the end of the season that they’re a better side than they appeared at The Racecourse. They’ve retained the majority of the players who entered the final day of the last two seasons tilting for a play-off place. They’re no mugs, but we made them look like innocents abroad.

I’m inclined to favour the 3-0 battering of Stockport County last season. That was a glorious walloping of a side which had sustained superb levels of performance throughout the season, and were clearly outstanding in the context of the National League. I suppose I could say the same of the 2-0 win we managed against them a few weeks earlier as well, although we had to rely on some excellent saves by Christian Dibble in that match before we took control.

There have been some spectacular wins at Kings Lynn and Aldershot too, plus delightfully comfortable home victories over Altrincham and Barnet. The sheer aesthetic effect of Tuesday’s performance, married to the efficacy of our play, means only those Stockport wins can be considered to be superior.

I’m not sure whether to describe what we did to Dagenham as a demolition or a dismantling. Forget the semantics though, and enjoy the realisation that, if we continue as we’ve started, we’ll be pondering whether we’ve just witnessed our best performance under Parkinson on a regular basis over the next 8 months!

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