Wrexham found themselves away at Stoke ramblers this weekend on a sunny yet cold, rainy, ‘halestoney’ and windy morning in Staffordshire.
And just like the weather, this match had it all.
Wrexham player manager Thomas found himself short on numbers for this game. The Wrexham side, just twelve players strong had Jack Scott out through Wedding commitments (not his own wedding ladies, breathe!), Thomas Campbell who was Wrexham’s MOM on their previous outing, out with a sprained ankle. Young Player of the Season candidate Gaz Davies was out – instead he donned his whites for a game of willow and leather. Lee was a late casualty, as was Josh Tinney, Callum Jones, and Craig Davies.
It was Stoke who best got to grips with the game and the rapid switching of weather conditions, as they found running down the hill to be a little easier than the hike uphill their Welsh opponents found themselves having to make every time they entered the Stoke half.
Stoke flirted with the edge of the box during the first 20 minutes. They managed to get a few shots off, but nothing that troubled the Wrexham goalkeeper.
The Dragons’ goalkeeper was brought into action soon after, as the lone Stoke striker, who’s movement all game was terrific, got himself in between Dan Sear, and Dyfan Jones, but Nathan slowed the nippy forward at his feet with a diving save. It was a wake up call to the Wrexham side, who were soon to find themselves a goal down.
The first goal of the game went Stoke’s way following a uncleared corner. Pinball in the Wrexham goalmouth saw the ball stuck back into the mix from the edge of the box. It fell nicely to Ben Steadman, who unmarked cooly slot home from 6 yards. It was a disappointing goal to concede, Poor organisation from the set piece again resulting in a goal against the Dragons’.
Wrexham didn’t really threaten the Stoke goalkeeper at the top of the hill. The pitch played a huge part in the Reds’ inability in playing the fluid passing game player manager Matthew Thomas is instilling into this team.
The Wrexham midfield battled well, Joey; who was back in following a spell out from giving his misses the beans, won all of the high balls with his ginger hair-doo, and claimed to be struck by an arm raised to his face. The referee, let both players off with just a warning. Soon after, more handbags followed. This time it was the same Stoke player, this time on another ginger Wrexham player who felt he took one in the face. The ref duly booked the Stoke player in question.
Half time whistle sounded, saw a number of frustrated Wrexham players who were outraged with the referee, made sure the referee knew how they felt towards a few ‘meaty’ challenges he let go, and the soft free-kicks he gave against the Redmen.
It was all heat of the moment stuff.
The start of the second half went without incident, and not much to report. Stoke dug in well to defend their slender lead, and Wrexham couldn’t break them down.
More to follow….