Wrexham moved up to second place in Sky Bet League Two, after a spirited away performance sealed all three points against Swindon Town.
With illness disrupting the players available to Phil Parkinson before the match, the manager called upon the versatile James McClean to lead the line along with Sam Dalby.
From the minute go, the free roaming McClean was causing issues for the Swindon backline, and the number 23’s first Wrexham league goal would soon come.
Ben Tozer’s free-kick was lofted onto the head of Dalby on the edge of the Robins’ box, who deflected the ball into the path of McClean. Wrong footed, Saidou Khan failed to stab the ball away, allowing the quick feet of McClean to poke the ball through the legs of Harrison Minturn and slot the ball into the back of the net.
It felt as though at any moment McClean was ready to pickpocket the Swindon backline, as they attempted to play out from the back, and his goal summed up the hold he had over the Robins defenders.
Swindon did see more of the ball and made more passes in the first half, as one would expect from the home side, but their possession didn’t equate into territory and chances.
Passing it from side to side, the Robins couldn’t muster up any way to pierce through the three-man Wrexham midfield, with their play lacking any edge. As opposed to Wrexham, who were quick and direct, translating into eight first half attempts on goal.
The second half saw a completely different complexion though, as the game started to open up.
Chances flowed for the Red Dragons from the right-wing, and how a second goal didn’t materialise one will never know.
The pick of the bunch being Max Cleworth’s precise cross, flying past a rooted Swindon backline to find Elliot Lee at the back-post in the 48th minute, whereby the in-form midfielder couldn’t head past Lewis Ward with seemingly all the time in the world.
This was Ward’s first start of the league season, following injury to Murphy Mahoney against Tranmere Rovers in the previous game, and the Robins had him to thank for keeping the scoreline at 0-1.
The game would shift yet again though, with 15 minutes of play left, as James Jones was given his marching orders for the first ever time, after a second bookable defence.
Tyrese Shade’s clever one-two with Dan Kemp saw the wing-back about to run through into the Wrexham box, but Jones raised his knee and the minimal contact with Shade was deemed sufficient enough by referee Tom Reeves for a second yellow.
With the single goal lead and a man down, the last 15 minutes were looking bleak for Wrexham.
Parkinson’s men dropped deeper and belief started to flow through the veins of the home side, and the chances followed.
Although the likes of Khan and Jake Young should have scored from their respective chances, Wrexham’s organised defensive display was deserving enough of the three points.
As Parkinson said post-match, Remeao Hutton has the most crosses in Sky Bet League Two and by some distance. Jacob Mendy’s performance to subdue the wing-back was tremendous, and especially prevalent towards the end of the game, when the majority of their attacks spread to Hutton in hope of that all-important cross.
In the end, it was another determined away performance from Parkinson’s men and yet another win with ten-men.
As Stockport County and Barrow shared the points in a 2-2 draw, Wrexham moved up to second, just four points behind the Hatters with a game in hand.
The festive fixtures don’t stop there either, as a closer away trip to Walsall awaits for our first Friday fixture of the season.