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The Review: Wrexham 4-0 Macclesfield FC

A taste of what’s to come.

31 July 2022

Wrexham fans returned to the Racecourse in what was the biggest attendance for a Wrexham pre-season friendly since playing Liverpool in 2007.

Red, blue and white shirts were donned all across the stands, as all three Wrexham kits were paraded around the oldest international stadium in the world. 

The makeup of the Wrexham starting 11 was of a familiar suit to what the home fans are used to. Phil Parkinson went forth with his preferred three at the back formation, seeing Aaron Hayden, Ben Tozer and Max Cleworth reunited, after the trio formed such a successful partnership last year. 

New signings Mark Howard and Anthony Forde would make their debut at the Racecourse, much to the pleasure of the returning supporters. 

Parkinson remarked after the game how impressed he was with Wrexham’s newest keeper, as a quiet afternoon in net would highlight the success of his distribution. One or two misplaced passes are expected, and Howard’s calm reactions to resolve danger is what illuminates his attributes as an experienced goalkeeper. 

As Forde was the newest of all the signings, extra focus would have been placed upon him from the 4,000+ in the crowd and the standing ovation he faced when being substituted towards the end of the game was a testament to his performance. 

The versatile Irishman was asked to play at right wing-back in this game and what was most notable about his performance was his ability to cross with precision, whilst running at full steam. Attacking forte such as this is made intensively easier with the speed and positioning of Hayden, who sat comfortably next to him. 

Starting Luke Young, James Jones and Tom O’Connor in the middle of the pack would have looked slightly defensive from the offset, but O’Connor’s adaptability to play in most positions was showcased by his goal in this match. 

Jones’ fitness has never been questioned, especially during the dreaded bleep test in pre-season training, and the box-to-box midfielder displayed such abilities running the Silkmen's midfield ragged. This was especially evident when he charged on after a Paul Mullin 20-yard shot to safely put home the rebound, after Marcelo Pitaluga parried the initial shot into the danger zone. 

No goals for captain Young, but two assists from corners would see him named Man of the Match, when competition for places in the three-man midfield intensifies.  

Jones noted that Macclesfield’s ethos to ‘play from the back’ placed severe importance on their press and this would ultimately start with Ollie Palmer and Mullin. Both looked sharp when hunting in packs to try and win back the ball off then men in blue. 

Palmer’s success with a goal and multiple efforts at Pitaluga’s net seemed to make Mullin’s eagerness to add to the scoreline stronger. It wasn’t to be for the top goalscorer of the National League last season, but by no means did the fan favourite look rusty. 

There were also run-outs for Liam McAlinden, Jake Bickerstaff and new signing Jordan Tunnicliffe, as the Red Dragons easily won the match four goals to the good, just a week before the opening game of the season against Eastleigh. 

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