The last time Nuneaton scored, on the final day of last season, it was Louis Moult who hit the net. Today Moult scored again in a Nuneaton match, but it was a bitter moment for the visitors, who haven’t beaten an opposing keeper for 297 minutes, as their erstwhile hero’s goal condemned them to defeat.
Moult’s first Wrexham goal came in the fourth minute, a sharp finish as he shaped the ball inside the right post from the edge of the box after a spell of fast-paced pressure by Wrexham’s created a loose ball in a dangerous area.
The home side had come out of the traps swiftly, eager to make amends for the midweek home defeat to Gateshead, and ought to have taken a decisive lead by the time the game was ten minutes old.
After Moult’s goal they continued to create chances: Joe Clarke lashed in two vicious shots, one of which was bravely blocked by Gavin Cowan’s face, while the other was pulled just wide.
Elliot Durrell was also frustrated not to hit the target after a superb eighth minute break which he started and nearly finished. It began when he broke up a Nuneaton corner on the edge of the area with a neat lay-off to Clarke. The midfielder drove a fine diagonal to Moult on the left flank while Durrell embarked on a lung-busting run which ended six yards out, where Moult’s measured cross picked him out. His first touch was immaculate, but with keeper Reice Charles-Cook and Connor Franklin hurling themselves at him he squeezed his shot narrowly wide.
Durrell would have another close range chance in the second half, when an unselfish Connor Jennings pull-back offered him another chance, but he took a touch when perhaps he ought not to have done, and his subsequent effort was blocked.
However, he was withdrawn to a standing ovation, his tireless work on and off the ball having earned the crowd’s gratitude and epitomised an energetic display of pressing by Kevin Wilkin’s side.
Wrexham’s opportunities, and their control of the game, diminished as the first half wore on, although the visitors created no chances to trouble Andy Coughlin, making his first appearance of the season.
A misheader back to his keeper by Town skipper Gareth Dean nearly allowed the other Nuneaton old boy Wes York to cap an energetic showing with a goal, and Connor Jennings was narrowly off target with a flick header from a Neil Ashton free kick, but Wrexham went into the break with that uneasy feeling that they might be punished for failing to capitalise on their domination with more goals.
As it turned out the defence continued to hold firm when required in the second half, the only Nuneaton opportunity coming when their outstanding player Ben Hutchinson lashed in a terrific free kick when Coughlin did well to push over the bar, exhibiting very strong wrists.
Wrexham were the better side after the break, but failed to make many chances. After Durrell’s effort was denied they had plenty of pressure but only really created once Theo Bailey-Jones had come on in the closing stages. His close range header was blocked after Blaine Hudson had nodded Mark Carrington’s cross into the goalmouth, and then Bailey-Jones latched onto a fine ball by Moult and whipped a good ball to Jennings on the edge of the box. His side-footed half volley back the way the ball came from was well executed, but Charles-Cook did well to change direction and make the save.
Wrexham saw out the win to claim a valuable win and the first clean sheet of the season. Despite their attachment to the visiting club, it was an outcome which Kevin Wilkin, York and the excellent Moult conspired to achieve and will have drawn great satisfaction from.