The goal of the year by new signing David Jones helped Wrexham secure a 2-2 draw against promotion rivals Solihull Moors on the opening day of the Vanarama National League.
Solihull started the match much the better side and it was Joe Sbarra who gave the home side the lead in the 18th minute, as he curled a screamer into Christian Dibble’s top corner.
Paul Mullin found a way back into the game for the Red Dragons, as he won and scored a penalty, after being brought down by Marcus Dewhurst in the 25th minute. Jones then ran onto a half-volley and scored one of the greatest goals in the club’s history to give Wrexham the lead.
Sbarra was an alarming threat all game and he broke Wrexham hearts in the 95th minute to score another screamer and level the scores at 2-2.
Wrexham made two changes to the side that beat Curzon Ashton in their last pre-season friendly, as Cameron Green and Liam McAlinden made way to the bench for Max Cleworth and Tyler French. New signing David Jones moved into midfield, as Cleworth and French lined up in defence.
A number of Wrexham players made their league debuts for the Club, including Aaron Hayden, Jones, Jake Hyde and Mullin, while Cleworth's start marked his Wrexham league debut.
The first five minutes of this fixture can only be described as tense and nervy. Jamie Reckord surprisingly showed Ryan Barnett onto the inside of the Wrexham box, where he was given acres of space to shoot from 18 yards. The effort was straight at Christian Dibble and should have been easily collected by the Wrexham keeper, but the ball slipped underneath him on the greasy surface and was streaking agonisingly towards the goal-line, before Hayden raced back to clear the ball away.
Joe Sbarra was the Moors man to step over the ball for a dangerous free-kick 20 yards out from the Wrexham goal. He curled his effort past the wall, but the ball curled centrally into Dibble’s arms, where this time he was able to secure the ball safely into his chest with nine minutes on the clock.
Wrexham had somehow survived the first ten minutes without conceding and in regard to the score-line, that was all the mattered. Wrexham’s talisman Paul Mullin was able to finally get onto the ball in a dangerous area in the 11th minute, where he squared the ball across the box to Jordan Davies, who’s eyes flashed at the opportunity, as he leant back and blazed his shot over the bar.
Solihull’s dominant start to the first half was rewarded with a goal in the 18th minute, as the dangerous Joe Sbarra ripped an outrageous curled effort into the top corner, giving Dibble absolutely no chance.
Sbarra was again causing problems in the 25th minute, as he drove at the Wrexham defence and slammed a low-driven thunderbolt at Wrexham’s goal. The ball skidded off the turf and wide of the post, with Wrexham looking shaky.
Wrexham had to find something to dismantle the Solihull Moors pressure and a penalty was a fine way to go about it. Mullin nipped ahead of keeper Dewhurst to win the ball in the Moors’ box and was subsequently brought down going seemingly nowhere. The League 2 Player of the Season stepped up to take the penalty and slammed the ball, with copious amounts of inertia, straight down the middle of the Solihull goal to level the scores with 26 minutes on the clock.
Its safe to say that the away end housing Wrexham fans was rocking, as Wrexham banished their nerves by means of attack. A notoriously dangerous Hall-Johnson ball was headed out all the way to Mr. David Jones who couldn’t not shoot as the ball teed up to be slammed out of the ground. However, Wrexham’s latest signing, as a player-coach, fizzed the ball from his left foot. Wrexham fans arose as the ball gained altitude, before it whistled into the top corner of the Solihull net, to give Wrexham the lead and cap off “the best goal in the history of association football.” – Ollie Williams 2021
Wrexham’s second goal in the 28th minute sent the Wrexham faithful wild. The game subsequently calmed down u the 43rd minute, where Solihull striker Danny Newton fired a shot to Dibble’s near post, but the Wrexham keeper flew off his spot to push the ball out.
A feature of the Wrexham vs Curzon Ashton pre-season friendly was Hall-Johnson’s crossing to Jake Hyde’s head. This was again evident in the 45th minute when Hyde scooped down low to head into the bottom corner, but he was flagged offside, much to the dismay of the Wrexham fans.
Half time was greeted with a dangerous level of decibels, as Parkinson’s Wrexham eleven had come from behind to lead 2-1.
The start to the second half was most certainly quieter than the first, but Hall Johnson sprung Wrexham into life in the 58th minute, as he pushed the ball onto his right-foot and shot a bullet, which deflected and dipped alarmingly over the Solihull net.
Hall-Johnson lunged into a 50/50 with a Solihull man, already on a yellow card and was second to the ball. The force that went into the ball was evident to the naked eye and Hall-Johnson was down for a lengthy period of time, before he was worryingly stretchered off in the 75th minute, as Harry Lennon came on for his debut.
An outstanding through ball by Mullin slipped through substitute Liam McAlinden, who went through on goal on the angle. He slammed his left-foot through the ball, as it teased Dewhurst’s bottom left corner, but eventually bobbled wide of the far corner in the 82nd minute amidst a quiet second half.
Captain Luke Young flew on the halfway line to prevent a Solihull counterattack, and in a Robin Van-Persie esque fashion, headed the ball away from danger, however the clearance shapeshifted into a through ball as Mullin went through on the right angle. He blazed his effort with venom at Dewhurst, but the striker was denied by the keeper’s fingertips in the 89th minute.
Sbarra was a noticeable threat all game and his goal in the first half wasn’t enough for himself, as he went on to score another screamer in the 95th minute to break Wrexham hearts, leaving the final score at 2-2.
Solihull Moors: Dewhurst, Williams, Storer ©, Howe, Sbarra, Maycock, Barnett (Hudlin 72’), Boyes, Dallas (Donawa 85'), Preston, Newton
Subs not used: Clayton (GK), Cranston, McNally, Donawa
Wrexham: Dibble (GK), Hall-Johnson (Lennon 76’), French, Hayden, Cleworth, Reckord, Young ©, Jones, Davies, Hyde ((McAlinden 70’), Mullin
Subs not used: Szczepaniak (GK), Green, Angus
Referee: Steven Copeland
Solihull Moors Bookings: None
Wrexham Bookings: Hall-Johnson 59’ (foul), French After Full-Time (dissent)
Wrexham Man of the Match: Aaron Hayden