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Feature

REVIEW | Coventry City 3-4 Wrexham AFC

The giant killers strike again

8 January 2023

Feature

REVIEW | Coventry City 3-4 Wrexham AFC

The giant killers strike again

8 January 2023

Wrexham made the Fourth Round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2000, after one of our best away days in recent history.

To see an away section fill up so early before a game is a rare sight in British football, but one that occurred at the CBS Arena. 

The scenes at full time were also a sight to behold, as the entire away section stood in harmony, with cheers for the Wrexham players ringing out. 

There is always the fear that the occasion can get to players, but Wrexham are blessed with an abundance of players who have played in the higher leagues of English football. A few have even played at Coventry’s very stadium and so any signs of nervous football were non-existent. 
This is also helped by having a captain with the ability to lay the ball on a plate for our strikers. 

Just 11 minutes in, Sam Dalby leaped like a salmon to thud the ball into the back of the net to scenes of jubilation. Nerves, if there were any, evaporated in an instant. 

The midfield trio of Luke Young, Tom O’Connor and Elliot Lee made the contest in the centre of the park that bit easier for Wrexham. The Red Dragons were able to play their football and not be penned back in their own box. 

Second balls were being won by Wrexham and it felt as if the Red Dragons were the Championship side and not the Sky Blues. 

The second goal was more than a shock though. Lee whipped in an inverted cross on his right foot on the left wing to see the ball beat every player and into the back of the net. The debate of whether it was a cross or a shot was muted after the game, when Lee spoke about the focus on directing crosses towards the back-post for this exact eventuality. 

Before Wrexham fans could even settle into the game, they were 2-0 up. 

There was always going to be a response from the Championship side though, after their disappointing start to the game. 

The Sky Blues would find space when offensively overloading Wrexham on the break and this would ultimately lead to their first goal with 36 minutes gone. With our wing backs pushing high, the likes of Kasey Palmer would be afforded more time in and around the Wrexham box. His square cross would find the toe of Martyn Waghorn ahead of the retreating Reece Hall-Johnson, leaving Ben Sheaf to pelt the ball into the back of the Wrexham net.  

In contrast to the midfield, City were beginning to win a lot of the second balls in and around the Wrexham box. 

Angst slowly crept into Wrexham hearts and was confounded when the fourth official raised seven minutes of added time.  

Ben Tozer’s long throws would be a menace at any level and in the 45+6th minute, after some header pinball in the city box from a Tozer throw, the ball would fall invitingly onto the head of O’Connor, who restored Wrexham’s two goal buffer.  

An overhead kick against York City, a match winning free-kick against Solihull Moors and now a headed goal for O’Connor certainly portrayed his array of goalscoring abilities. 

The first half would have also been a significant confidence boost for Dalby. Phil Parkinson showed faith in the young striker and was rewarded with the number 18 picking up a goal and an assist for the third goal. 

The 3-1 scoreline at half time was mesmerising enough, but Paul Mullin couldn’t help but add to it via the penalty spot, as he continued to be the tournament’s top scorer this season. The red card from Jonathan Panzo for the spot-kick was undoubtedly correct too, as the defender raised his hands to block an effort on goal from point blank range. 

The stage was set for Wrexham, with half an hour left on the clock. 

A short pass back from Callum McFadzean under pressure from Kasey Palmer would allow the number 45 to run through into the Wrexham box on goal, before he squared a tap-in for substitute Viktor Gyokeres.  

Just over five minutes later, Kasey Palmer would sweep the ball in from a 20-yard free-kick, conceded by Young in a tussle on the edge of the box. 

The Red Dragons certainly had their backs up against the wall, but there is a belief in this team to see games over the line, with the added help of the number of goals being scored at the other end. 

Although coming under immense pressure, primarily from the right-wing, Wrexham withstood the City pressure to claim victory over the Championship side. 

Tenacity, desire and character were all on display, enabling the forever memorable post-match celebrations. 

There was luck in terms of Coventry hitting the post three times in the match and failing to convert their chances in the final 15 minutes, but Wrexham deserved the victory. A clinical edge in front of goal, matched by a pure defensive desire at the end of the game is what saw Wrexham put their name in the hat for the FA Cup Fourth Round. 

The players proved that they could play well and win against opposition three leagues above them. O’Connor mentioned that focus will inevitably turn to away form when home form is perfect, and so this was a brilliant result in proving Wrexham’s might away from home against difficult opposition.  

Parkinson and his team will now face Sheffield United at the Racecourse Ground at the end of January, as we look to topple another Championship side. 


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