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REPORT | Wrexham AFC 2-0 Gillingham

Red Dragons claim important victory over play-off hopefuls

11 November 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Wrexham AFC 2-0 Gillingham

Red Dragons claim important victory over play-off hopefuls

11 November 2023

Ollie Palmer scored Wrexham’s quickest goal of the season alongside a 71st minute goal from Ben Tozer to secure a 2-0 victory over play-off hopefuls Gillingham in North Wales.

Phil Parkinson understandably made changes from the youthful line-up that started against Port Vale in midweek – although James McClean and Paul Mullin missed out due to suspension. 

Wrexham were welcomed by their biggest crowd of the season, as 10,268 supporters travelled down to the STōK Cae Ras on a sunny Saturday afternoon. 

It meant opportunities for Anthony Forde and Sam Dalby, who entered the starting line-up, while Jacob Mendy was shifted across to his favoured left side as a result. 

Gillingham got the game underway, but it was a dream start for Parkinson’s side who took the lead within just 55 seconds – Wrexham’s quickest goal so far this season in all competitions. 

The Red Dragons quickly dispossessed the visitors in North Wales, with Mendy picking up the ball down the left-flank as he drove towards goal. His initial delivery into the box caused trouble for the Gills’ backline and found Dalby, only for the striker to see his shot blocked. 

Much to Wrexham’s favour the ball fell to Ollie Palmer from six-yards out, who quickly stepped up and fired home on his right foot to get his side off to the perfect start. 

Despite falling behind early on, Gillingham more than proved their own credentials with how they reacted to the set-back, testing Wrexham twice in the space of minutes as they searched for an equaliser. 

Ex-Wales International Jonny Williams, who signed for Gillingham in the summer, was the first to force the Red Dragons defence into action. 

Williams, who often causes trouble with his diminutive stature and tricky footwork, saw a shot blocked just wide of the post after 12 minutes. 

That was followed up just a minute later as Stephen Clemence’s side continued in their pursuit of a leveller. 

Shadrach Ogie spurned a golden opportunity for the Gills, having latched onto a ball from Dom Jefferies, but Ogie fired wide inside the box and wasted any chance of bringing his side level. 

After 32 minutes, Dalby collected the ball from Elliot Lee and quickly turned to fire the ball through Gillingham’s defence. Palmer, who made a smart run through on goal, picked up the ball with ease, but his left-footed effort drifted wide of the post. 

The sides continued to battle it out in the first half, but neither managed to find the second goal of the match as Wrexham went into the break with a slender lead.  

James Jones started the second period for the Red Dragons, who picked up where they left off with both sides providing an entertaining end-to-end in North Wales. 

George Evans tested his luck from distance after 52 minutes, with Jake Turner clearly out of position and back-tracking towards his goal. 

Although audacious, Evans came relatively close to the near-impossible from 40-yards out as his effort was eventually caught by the outstretched Gillingham keeper. 

Seven minutes later, Palmer almost doubled Wrexham’s lead as Parkinson’s side continued in their search of an important second goal to give the Red Dragons some much-needed breathing space.  

Mendy found Palmer at the back post with yet another excellent delivery – Wrexham’s number nine did everything right as he directed his header towards the top left corner. 

It seemed certain to give Wrexham an extended advantage but for the heroics of Turner, who shifted across goal excellently to deny Palmer with his fingertips.  

Eventually, Wrexham were handed the goal that their efforts fully deserved after 71 minutes at the STōK Cae Ras. 

Yet again, it was Mendy at the heart of the move, providing another fantastic cross which found Ben Tozer at the front-post. 

Tozer finished on the volley with the technique of a veteran number nine, deftly flicking his effort past Turner in front the STōK Cold Brew Coffee Stand. 

Wrexham continued to push for a third goal in the closing stages of the match, but a resolute showing from the Gillingham backline late-on restricted the hosts despite a plethora of chances. 

Parkinson’s side saw out the remaining minutes in added time, claiming yet another important league win to solidify their position in the Sky Bet League Two promotion places. 

Wrexham AFC: Okonkwo (GK), Hayden (Tunnicliffe 83’), Tozer (C), O’Connor, Forde, Jones, Evans, Lee (J.Davies 88’), Mendy 

Subs not used: Howard (GK), McAlinden, Cannon, Boyle, Bickerstaff. 

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Malone (C), Masterson, Ogie, Coleman, Mahoney (Lapsilie 75'), Jefferies, J. Williams (Nichols 75’), Clarke (Dieng 63’), Bonne. 

Subs not used: Morris, Clark, Ehmer, S. Williams.

Match Attendance: 10,268 (1,148 away)

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