Wrexham Fans travelled to Chester this morning for their biggest match of the season against bitter rivals Chester Supporters FC.
The Red Dragons’ arrived early, despite heavy traffic throughout Chester, as Mercedes after Mercedes drove into Kings School. Jack Scott, driver of the third vehicle kindly let a pupil cross the road who was dressed in shiny black shoes, a well ironed shirt and tie, and a green blazer more often seen at Wimbledon Tennis Championships every summer in the UK. You wont see kids like that in Wrexham.
Our changing rooms had to be opened, the end room of the cabin was the designated area for the Wrexham fans to get out of their training clobber and into their matching PUMA kits, the ones worn by Wrexham FC last season. What a privilege it is to wear the famous Wrexham red and white. Sadly for the team, the room provided was pretty basic, no one knowing where the light switch was, which meant 13 lads got changed in the dark.
Everything was fine, except for Jack Scott somehow forgetting to put his Wrexham shirt on. The team ran out full of adrenalin, noise and claps of the roaring ultra crowd.
A brief warm up converting footballs through rugby posts defiantly showed the Welsh tradition and spirit of the successful Grand Slam winning national side.
As the team finally arrived onto the match pitch, vice captain for the day Dyfan Jones lead the warm up. It was refreshing to see everyone at the touch line ready to warm up. In games gone by, it has always been a struggle for some members of the squad to stop lashing the ball high and wide of the goal from 20 yards, and instead warm up with the rest of the team.
As the ref wanted an earlier than scheduled kick off, this meant Wrexham’s warm up session was cut short. And so, even the pre-match team talk back in the changing rooms had to be knocked on the head. This was it. Time for kick off. The biggest international league derby in the world.
Both teams started brightly. Chester piling down the Wrexham left, whipping in crosses which were dealt with by Wrexham’s new centre back pairing of Dyfan Jones and Jason Richards. Between them they managed to keep Chesters strike force away from goalkeeper Nathan Williams’ area.
The Wrexham side had started well, obviously the team were up for this one, and soon created their first opportunity when a neat one two between Jack Scott and playmaker Steve Garnett lead to a fine diagonal ball for the blistering pace of striker Aaron Jones to run on to. His pace caused the Chester full-back a whole host of problems, as Jones managed to get to the by-line for a cross each time he received the ball. It was a tactic which Wrexham had obviously had pre-planned, proving what a great tactician manager Matthew Thomas has become.
Wrexham’s first shot on goal came on 19 minutes, as a throw-in out wide found its way to Josh Tinney. The bustling ginger warrior found himself deep in midfield, and tricked his way through two incoming Chester midfielders, taking a wicked bounce off one of the Cestrian’s knee, Tinney looped it, first time and almost catching out the goalkeeper in the home end. It ended up being a top drawer save by the Chester ‘keeper as the shot was heading for the top corner.
Wrexham took the following corner, as the ball ping-ponged it’s way around the goalmouth, the ball finally bobbled out to Dyfan Jones, who found himself on the edge of the penalty area striking a sweet half volley. The shot was destined for the net, only for the ball to smash into the last defenders face. It was brave defending from the Chester defender, as Jones’ wonderful strike was on its way to breaking the net.
The Wrexham side were on-top as the match approached half time, as every member of Thomas’ squad was proving their worth, and showed their passion for the badge. If anything, the referees half time whistle came too soon for the boys in red, as Wrexham piled on the pressure with two corners in stoppage time.
Matthew Thomas lead his side into the changing rooms for his half time talk, where our insider told us that it was his inspiring speech that geed everyone up for the biggest 45 minutes of the players career. The last time Wrexham played Chester, young Wrexham debutant David Jenkins was still in Primary School. These matches don’t come around often, and with the close proximity of the two teams, the Wrexham Chester matches always throws up something out of the ordinary.
And this game was no different. After a serious amount of pressure coming from the home side following two substitutions, the deadlock was finally broken on the 68th minute. Wrexham won the free kick just inside the Chester half after Jack Scott was upended. Josh Tinney, Wrexhams designated free-kick taker clipped in a beautiful ball, which found the feet of David Jenkins, who took control of the ball, turned, and stroke the ball with his right foot across goal into the bottom left corner. 1-0 the the Dragons!
Chester made more substitutions, throwing everything they could at the Wrexham goal. This was one way traffic. Unbelievably the Wrexham defence held tight. The pitch didn’t help matters, as Dyfan Jones who’s new centre back partnership with Jason Richards suffered what he claimed the worst cramp he’d ever experienced. With no substitutions suitable to replace the vice captain, player manager Matthew Thomas forced the experienced stopper to carry on.
The Chester attack were relentless. They didn’t want to lose this, and going so close on two occasions. Wrexham rode their luck. Chester couldn’t capitalise their dominance.
The referee finally blew full time, and the Wrexham squad fell to their knees in sheer delight and exhaustion. They did however manage to drag themselves off the muddy ground and shook the hands of their rivals following a superb contest.
Thomas was ecstatic with the victory, but also a clean sheet for his new look defence was the cherry on top.
FT – Chester 0 – 1 Wrexham