Scoring two outstanding goals, Wrexham flexed their muscles to beat Chesterfield 2-1 at the Racecourse Ground.
This game had been a long-awaited fixture in the National League calendar, and the dire form of the Spireites in the lead-up to the game took nothing away from the immense atmosphere that engulfed the Racecourse Ground throughout the 90 minutes.
Elliot Lee and Paul Mullin’s partnership wreaked havoc against Dorking Wanderers and they picked up where they left off inside the first four minutes.
Instead of trying to beat his man in the middle of the park, Lee threaed a ball into Mullin, envisaging the return at the end of his run. The importance of Mullin’s first touch to pivot and face the goal cannot be understated. He therefore had the vision to play the ball forwards to Lee who swiped the ball first time past Ross Fitzsimons from 20 yards out.
The perfect start for Wrexham in one of the biggest games of the season. A fast start which Steve Parkin touched on in his post-match interview.
Despite the Spireites having the majority of the possession and settling better into the game, Wrexham were still creating dangerous opportunities.
Mullin’s one-on-one on the half hour mark with Fitzsimons was the best of these chances, as the striker arguably telegraphed his desired side a little too much, leading to the save on the half hour mark.
This was perhaps a wake-up call to Chesterfield to start creating substantial chances and two glorious chances came through Ryan Colclough on the left side of the box.
With just five minutes separating the two identical moments towards the end of the half, Paul McCallum failed twice to tap home from point blank range in front of the goal.
Credit must be given to Jordan Tunnicliffe in his pressure of McCallum to help quell the first chance, but also his performance throughout the game in being a main obstacle preventing any Chesterfield comeback.
With the visitors failing to pounce, Sam Dalby would take the game into his own hands as seen against Dorking Wanderers.
Lee would send the ball down the right wing for Dalby to take a hold of in the first minute of additional time in the first period. Running at captain Jamie Grimes, he shaped inside once he’d entered the box. With the defender’s body weight matching, Dalby instantly cut back the other way to create acres of room for himself in the goalmouth, where he smashed the ball in on his right foot.
Wrexham’s ability to punish sides for failing to capitalise on their good periods was evident here, as it has been all season.
It also meant a goal and an assist for Lee in the first half, with the number 38 looking as frightening as ever.
The standout moment in the second half was undoubtedly Rob Lainton save. Liam Mandeville’s cross from the right wing found the head of Colclough, who’s run into the box was timed perfectly. Heading the ball into the ground, Chesterfield should have had a goal back, but Lainton’s reactions shone bright, as he tipped the bar onto the crossbar with his left hand.
Points accumulated due to high-profile stops from goalkeepers are always looked back on at the end of the season, and although two goals clear at this point, the importance of this save for the remaining half an hour of the game cannot be understated.
Sadly for Lainton and the Wrexham defence, the clean sheet would be snatched away in the last minute. Another well timed run across the edge of the box, would give Colclough the platform to curl the ball past Lainton in the 96th minute.
The three points remained for Wrexham though, and the Red Dragons thus overtook Notts County with a game still left in hand.
The battle will once again kick-off on Saturday though, as Wrexham will play the later televised 17:20 match, facing Maidenhead live on BT Sport.