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REVIEW | Wrexham AFC 2-0 Newport County

The 5,719-day wait is over

24 December 2023


REVIEW | Wrexham AFC 2-0 Newport County

The 5,719-day wait is over

24 December 2023

The STōK Cae Ras saw its biggest crowd since 2007, as Wrexham claimed victory in the Welsh derby over Newport County.

With the Exiles spoiling promotion hopes at Wembley in 2013 and thumping the Red Dragons in an Emirates FA Cup Second Round Replay in 2018, Wrexham would finally get their revenge over the side from mid-Wales this time around. 

Blusterous conditions swept across the STōK Cae Ras, with the wind stunting any tiki-taka football. 

This was felt particularly in the first half, as Wrexham failed to create any meaningful opportunities. 

It was in-fact the visitors who looked the most likely to grab the lead, with a plethora of chances falling their way midway through the first 45 minutes. 

However, Arthur Okonkwo was back between the sticks following his injury sustained at Harrogate Town, and there were no signs of rustiness.  

The shot stopper answered any questions laid at his door, with the pick of his saves coming in the 28th minute, when he pushed Seb Palmer-Houlden's header onto the post to prevent a certain goal. 

Max Cleworth also made his return to the side, as he was drafted in as a last-minute starter due to Eoghan O’Connell pulling up in the warm-up, with Parkinson later confirming that they didn’t want to risk the centre back after his calf tightened up. 

Cleworth too showed no signs of being off the pace, as he excelled in the right centre back position. His clearances doubled-up as constant through balls for Paul Mullin up top, with the County forwards having a difficult day against the youngster. 

There was to be a marked difference in how the second half played out. Wrexham caused their blows from set-pieces, including the iconic long-throws.

Hammering home chance after chance, the decibels echoed around the ground after each opportunity that the Red Dragons had. 

Elliot Lee’s thunderous strike from almost thirty yards out cannoning into the post and Sam Dalby’s shot on the swivel brushing past the same stick were amongst the abundance of shots on goal. 

Mullin was somewhat starved at the top though. Whether the number ten was on the ball or making runs off the ball, arms grabbled around his body to stunt his cause. The lack of any action against these wrestling tactics was slightly bewildering. 

Nevertheless, pressure can only build up so much before it must be released, and this came from James Jones right in front of the Temporary Kop. 

With 64 minutes on the clock, Dalby rose highest to flick on Ben Tozer’s long throw, seeing the ball rebound off Elliot Lee and Ryan Delaney into the path of Jones, who swept home an easy finish. 

It was less than twenty minutes after the restart, but never had a goal felt so long coming.  

As previously said, Tozer’s long throws have been more successful of late and coupled with the swirling, windy conditions, County just couldn’t cope.  

As tension started to build with the single goal lead, a carbon copy of the first throw-in for Jones’ goal took place late on. 

From an identical position in front of the Wrexham Lager Stand, Tozer’s throw landed perfectly onto the head of Elliot Lee as he fended off James Clarke. His header saw the ball nestle into the bottom corner and the win was sealed. 

The victory will see us sit in the automatic promotion spots for Christmas, level on points with Barrow. 

The long journey to Swindon Town on Boxing Day is the next challenge to overcome, with the Robins suffering three losses in their last three league games. 

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