It was a day to forget at the Wham Stadium for Wrexham, with Accrington Stanley forging a 2-0 victory in Sky Bet League Two.
Phil Parkinson’s men had enjoyed an eleven-game unbeaten run up until this fixture, winning the previous five in all competitions.
The real feat amongst this record was the up-turn in performances away from home.
The win at Meadow Lane against Notts County was quickly followed up by an Emirates FA Cup victory against Mansfield Town, who are still unbeaten in the league. Two impressive results and performances.
The display against Accrington Stanley however, didn’t quite fit into the same bracket.
The first half at the Wham Stadium was good viewing for the 2,587 travelling Wrexham fans, with the Red Dragons having a multitude of shots on goal, linking well in their build-up and denying the home side the opportunity to dictate how the game would be played.
The pick of the chances being Sam Dalby setting Anthony Forde, whilst already pointing for the ball to be played into Elliot Lee just outside of the Stanley box. Forde obliged with a first-time sweeping ball, to which Elliot flicked on to the on-running Paul Mullin. A pelting shot then met the epicentre of the crossbar, before thudding away.
These chances weren’t taken and Wrexham entered the changing rooms the more disappointed of the two sides.
The persistent denial that Wrexham showed in the first half in not letting Accrington dictate the play was hindered in the second half, as the home side took control of the game for the second 45.
When playing from the back, John Coleman’s men were effective in their squeeze on Wrexham, forcing the ball into the tight corridors near the by-line on the wings, leaving Mullin and Dalby to feed off scraps.
The home side still had to find a way to penetrate our defence though, and were given a helping hand by referee Neil Hair just a few minutes after the restart.
As a Stanley corner was taken, there were two incidents to address. Half time substitute Will Boyle seemed to be putting Brad Hills under some clumsy pressure before the number five trundled to the floor, whilst Jordan Davies next door had his arm succumbed to a clamp by Matt Lowe, before the Accrington man misjudged the flight of the ball and collapsed to the floor.
It was unclear for which incident Hair awarded the penalty from, but he seemed to divert his signalling point from the spot to Davies.
It was a confusing moment, but the finish from Tommy Leigh from the spot was decisive, sending Arthur Okonkwo the wrong way.
Even though only by one, the lead was instantly strong and would take a spirited comeback from the Red Dragons to overturn.
With credit to Parkinson, he gave it his best effort, changing formation to four at the back in the 67th minute by trading defender Aaron Hayden for striker Ollie Palmer.
Sadly, Okonkwo fumbled Jack Nolan’s long ranged effort just five minutes later, with the shot bouncing just before it was due to nestle into his gloves. Korede Adedoyin then scooped the ball across goal before Okonkwo could smother the ball, and Rosaire Longelo bundled the ball in under pressure from Boyle.
The comeback was yet to take its first breath, as Stanley doubled their lead.
Wrexham did eventually find the territory in Accrington’s half, but the chances made in the first half just couldn’t be replicated.
Davies found some joy down the left-wing, filling in at wing-back for the absent Jacob Mendy and James McClean, both on international duty, but his low crosses made no connection with wilful Wrexham boots.
The Red Dragons were provided with the chance of scoring a consolation goal in the tenth minute of added time, after George Evans was smashed into mid-air by Lowe, but Mullin’s strike was once again magnetised to the middle of the crossbar, and there would be no luck of it deflecting over the goal-line.
Wrexham just had no answers for Stanley’s game plan on this occasion, and the loss saw us drop to fourth in the table, with all the teams around us winning.
As Parkinson said post-match, it’s a hard one to answer whether having to wait a week for another fixture is better than just a few days to right the wrongs, but nevertheless the team will have the full week to prepare for Morecambe’s visit to the STōK Cae Ras.