One Down, Two To Go

Tuesday night was magnificent, in so many ways. It was the perfect start to a trilogy which could define our season.

Despite Chesterfield’s spectacular loss of form, this was still a formidable test. They fielded seven of the players who faced us in August, which remains the only time this season that our opponents have looked better than us, and that includes three games against Championship sides.

Just glancing down their team sheet was enough to give a reminder of why this was a tough task. Throw in the gruelling schedule Wrexham have endured so far in 2023, and you have a rather tricky proposition.

It was all the more important because the light is starting to appear at the end of the tunnel. Notts County’s surprise defeat last Saturday opened the door for us, and we know once we reach next Tuesday, we’ll have finally ended the sequence of Saturday-Tuesday matches which has been dominating all our lives for what seems likes ages.

Furthermore, we’ll have played our two games in hand on The Magpies, and will be able to have a clear perspective on our real position. If we can repeat Tuesday’s performance twice more, we’ll like that position a lot.

With County facing a difficult away game at Bromley this Saturday, and their manager admitting after their defeat to Dagenham that he was “completely crushed”, the pressure is on them to immediately reacquire the winning habit.

That makes the sequence of games leading up to next Tuesday truly massive for us, and we got off to the perfect start.

The best word I can come up with to describe Wrexham on Tuesday is epic. I don’t mean the team, I don’t mean the coaching staff, I don’t mean the crowd. I mean all of that, and more.

Phil Parkinson asked for the fans to play their part, and they didn’t need asking twice. The atmosphere was incredible, a roaring, broiling valley of commitment. In the first twenty minutes, when Wrexham were attacking with pace, pressing incessantly and tackling fiercely, with Tozer’s long throws raining into the box and the crowd exploding at every touch of the ball, Chesterfield must have truly understood why the cliché calls an away match a sortie into enemy territory.

They also must have regretted swapping ends at the toss. It seemed like a nice idea to deny Wrexham the opportunity to attack the home fans in the second half, but instead it merely unleashed hell on them from the opening minute.

They should have been more than one goal down after 10 minutes, and they surely had to feel some relief that it was only 2-0 at the break.

They’d had their moments, and shown their quality, especially through Ryan Colclough on the left. However, every department of the Wrexham team clicked: Forde and Mendy constantly stretched play, allowing Dalby, Mullin and Lee to wreak havoc in the middle; Young’s energy was at the heart of everything while Andy Cannon showed what a high quality player he is. Tozer, Tunnicliffe and Cleworth were a wall at the back.

Team selection was totally vindicated: by keeping Cannon and Dalby in the side, Parkinson offered a freshness in the midst of the fixture pile-up. Both of them were making merely their third league start of the season for us.

Chesterfield showed heart and no little quality in the second half, but were still second best. Rob Lainton, an alert spectator of the game for the most part, sprang into action with the save of the season to deny Colclough, and although a 96th minute goal cost us a clean sheet, the three points never felt in doubt.

It was a glorious win, and although there are still two mountains to climb, it’s in our hands to make this a momentous week. Maidenhead are a bit of a bogey team, and Dagenham just won on Notts County’s patch, so they are clearly a side to respect. But the stakes are high, and we showed last Tuesday that we like it that way.


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