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REVIEW | Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Wrexham AFC

A dominant victory in Birkenhead

4 September 2023

Wrexham ran out comfortable winners away to Tranmere Rovers, to claim their first away victory of the season.

Phil Parkinson opted for Ollie Palmer and Sam Dalby up top, and coupled with the centre back trio of Aaron Hayden, Ben Tozer and Will Boyle, the hosts would have many problems to face at set pieces. 

The Red Dragons had struggled to dominant a full match so far this season, but that streak certainly changed against the Rovers. 

From the first minute, urgency and hunger swept through Wrexham’s play, as opposed to the uninspiring play of the home side. 

There was an effortless connection between James McClean and Elliot Lee on the left-hand side of the pitch, with their link-up play constantly catching out the right-hand side of the Tranmere team. The combination looks to be a real threat, and one that all teams in the league will be wary of.  

Looking to the other side of the pitch, Tranmere’s new full-back Dan Pike really struggled against Ryan Barnett. The constant stepovers and change of direction proved too much for Pike, as Barnett got in-behind to cross on numerous occasions.  

Chances were being scuppered in the box though, and many were left bewildered at how the score remained nil-nil at half time. Tom Davies and Jordan Turnbull’s last-ditch defending had ultimately kept Tranmere in the game. 

Patience is a virtue and Wrexham were rewarded with a goal just ten minutes after the restart. 

The height threat that Wrexham possessed and the abundance of corners proved too much for the Rovers. In his first league start of the season, Hayden effortlessly ran clear of his man to meet Tom O’Connor’s pinpoint corner with a glancing header, leaving a furious Luke McGee rooted in goal with the ball in the back of his net. 

Hayden’s goalscoring prowess was truly a sight to behold last season, before his injury against Sheffield United at home ruled him out for the rest of the campaign, and so to see him back in the line-up and picking up where he left off in front of goal is a joyous sight for all at Wrexham. 

Opportunities for Wrexham remained constant, but so too the wasteful nature in front of the Tranmere goal and one wondered whether the home side would make Wrexham pay. 

However, the Red Dragons’ dominance in the midfield, and Tranmere’s less than impressive play, meant that the back three had little to deal with.  

An impressive calmness seemed to be at bay and that started in goal with Mark Howard, who made light work of the few times he was called upon.  

This enabled Wrexham to see out the one-nil victory, leaving the away end in full voice. 

Slight disappointment may be held in the fact that Wrexham didn’t score more goals, but three points and a clean sheet in a derby cannot be argued with. 

Deadline day signing George Evans also got a run out, as the strength in depth that Wrexham possess continues to grow. 

The victory leaves Wrexham on nine points with three other sides, four points off the top. 

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