Wrexham scored twice in injury time to complete an astonishing comeback against Swindon Town, after having been four-one down at half time.
After the first win of the league season at home to Walsall earlier in the week, hopes were high that the winning ball was rolling for the season, and this was the case for the first ten minutes at least.
The Red Dragons had started with the urgency and relentlessness that had served them so well in the past.
The visitors survived this pressure though, and pounced in the 17th minute.
Wrexham failed to clear the ball on three simultaneous occasions, giving Remeao Hutton another opportunity to stand a ball into the box. Charlie Austin calculated the trajectory impeccably, allowing himself to head the ball back across the box to Jake Young, who’s subsequent header was enough to beat Ben Tozer on the goal-line.
The Robins would strike again ten minute later through Austin, after another cross coming from the right-wing. Jacob Mendy was dispossessed by Hutton, but recovered well to prevent the wing-back from crossing. However, in Elliot Lee’s effort to help win the ball back, Dan Kemp was left free on the inside. He was then able to feed a ball into the danger zone to an onrunning Austin, who beat a stranded Ben Foster off his goal-line.
The one shining light amidst the chaos was Jake Bickerstaff, who was once again proving to be a nuisance for the defenders. His ability to use his body to gain control over the ball had caught out the Swindon defence on a couple of occasions and so too just two minutes after the Robins’ second.
After beating Frazer Blake-Tracy on the left-wing, Hutton somehow failed to clear the ball as the second line of defence, allowing Bickerstaff to put his foot behind the ball and shift his body in front of Hutton. The number 27 then ran through the box to smash the ball into the near-post to beat Murphy Mahoney in goal.
The 10,258 fans at the STōK Cae Ras had no time to settle after this goal, as the visitors reasserted their two-goal lead through Kemp, after Lee was pushed off the ball in the midfield.
A calamity of errors in the 34th minute allowed Jake Young to grab his second of the afternoon, and the hope that the Bickerstaff goal had given was seemingly washed away within five minutes.
Most managers and players would have been worried at the halfway mark, but Phil Parkinson spoke post-match of his confidence in the players to respond, a trait seen numerous times over the past two years.
Intensity flourished through the veins of Wrexham’s play and they were rewarded with a penalty in the 50th minute, when Ollie Palmer was wrestled to the floor during Elliot Lee’s corner. The number 38 made no mistake scoring from the spot, to mark a goal for himself in each of the last three games.
As the saying goes, you wait ages for a bus and then two come along at once. In this case, the Red Dragons were praying for a comeback four-one down at half-time, and were within one goal by the 55th minute.
A splendid showcase of pass and go in a one-two between James Jones and Elliot Lee saw the former poke the ball over an outrushing Mahoney to add a third for Wrexham, causing an eruption in the STōK Cae Ras, as Jones was sent tumbling.
Wrexham’s pressure and chances were met with a stern reminder that the visitors could easily extend their lead again. The Robins followed through on this threat in the 71st minute, when Kemp made it a double for the game, after a piercing shot from just inside of the box.
The Red Dragons’ revival effort was running out of breath, even with the substitutions that Parkinson had brought in to affect the game.
Pressure from Wrexham is almost impossible to defend though, and the same goes for a hungry Mendy. He breezed past a sleepy Austin on the edge of the Swindon box to kick the ball into the ground towards goal. This turned into the perfect assist, as Jones could divert the ball with his back to goal and beat Mahoney from close range.
Even with three minutes remaining, the unthinkable was very much on the minds of all at the STōK Cae Ras.
Referee Charles Breakspear awarded a free-kick to Wrexham right on the edge of the Swindon box in the 95th minute, after a handball from the away side in a melee.
Luke Young’s strike into the empty corner was pushed out by Mahoney onto the foot of Sam Dalby, who invertedly passed the ball back across the box. The Swindon wall were rooted to the spot and were no match for Elliot Lee’s hunger to stab the ball into the net to tie the match at 5-5.
Two accidental assists in added time, but two very aware midfielders, to salvage a point.
“If you put on a Wrexham shirt, you never-ever give in, and that is a requirement.”
These were the words of Parkinson after the 5-5 draw against Swindon Town, but the Wrexham manager was more than aware of the work needing to be done on the training ground, as the Red Dragons prepare for their second away trip of the season to Barrow-in-Furness.