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REPORT | Colchester United 1-2 Wrexham AFC

Wrexham climb into second place after spirited comeback victory in Essex

6 April 2024

Match Reports

REPORT | Colchester United 1-2 Wrexham AFC

Wrexham climb into second place after spirited comeback victory in Essex

6 April 2024

Max Cleworth’s 85th minute header completed an inspired comeback, as Paul Mullin scored his 100th goal for the Club, on a day when Wrexham AFC moved up to second place in the Sky Bet League Two table.

A low-key first half performance meant that chances were few and far between at the JobServe Community Stadium, as Wrexham failed to register a shot on target. 

John Akinde opened the scoring nine minutes into the second half, as his low strike nestled into the net to give Colchester the advantage. 

However, Mullin fired back just eight minutes later, as he headed home a crucial equaliser to bring the Red Dragons back into the match. 

Cleworth then scored late on into the second half with time running out, as the young centre-back netted his first goal of the season, earning a vital three points for Wrexham. 

Phil Parkinson decided to make four changes to the Starting XI which faced Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night, as he brought in Ryan Barnett, George Evans, Jacob Mendy and Steven Fletcher. 

That meant a much-needed rest for Elliot Lee, who has played the most minutes of any player in the Wrexham squad this season. 

Parkinson made his managerial debut for the U’s, and gained promotion into the Championship with Colchester in 2006. 

However, with the battle for promotion heating up and coming into the final strides of the season, there wasn’t much room for any sentimentality in Essex. 

United got the game underway, but it was clear to see that it was going to be a difficult occasion for the Red Dragons. 

With pitch issues causing problems for the hosts in recent weeks, the EFL granted approval for the pitch dimensions to be altered. 

However, the surface at the JobServe Community Stadium was still clearly not in the best shape, following drainage issues which had caused a number of postponements in February and March. 

Colchester had a penalty shout waved away after 14 minutes, as Jay Mingi went down under pressure from Mendy, but referee Tom Reeves pointed for a corner and ignored the hosts’ appeals. 

Just a minute later Paul Mullin seemed to be through on goal with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock, but the pitch held up a quick through ball and stuttered Wrexham’s progress into the final third. 

Mullin still managed to get a shot away, but when he did it was just wide of Goodman’s goal, as the search continued for an opener. 

In an end-to-end battle, Danny Cowley’s side almost managed to land a breakthrough blow to the Red Dragons, as Connor Hall fired over in the 17th minute. 

Wrexham were handed an unfortunate blow, as Mendy struggled to deal with an earlier knock picked up at the JobServe Community Stadium.

As a result, Lee was soon enough called into action though, as Mendy couldn’t continue and Parkinson was forced into making a change after 34 minutes. 

Mullin and Eoghan O’Connell had chances late on in the first-half, but neither could be capitalised on as Parkinson’s side headed into the break level. 

The U’s came out strongly for the second-half, as John Akinde started to cause problems with his physical presence up top. 

A warning shot in the 49th minute from Colchester’s number 24 set the tone, before his low strike from outside the box just five minutes later broke the deadlock. 

Okonkwo got a hand on the effort, but it wasn’t enough as Akinde’s effort rose into the net. 

Just as Ollie Palmer and Jack Marriott looked set to come on though, Wrexham struck a breakthrough against their stubborn hosts. 

Barnett and Andy Cannon had linked-up well down the right, and eventually the wing-back found himself in a good amount of space after 62 minutes. 

The wing-back delivered an impeccably timed ball towards Mullin, who made no mistake in heading it past Goodman for his 100th goal in a Wrexham shirt, at a crucial point in the game. 

Celebrations were a touch subdued, but with the importance of all three points in a tightly-contested promotion race, it’s no surprise that Wrexham’s talisman ran straight back to the halfway line for the restart.

Time started to run out in Essex, but come the crucial final moments, Wrexham’s famous character was there in full abundance for all to see as they completed an emphatic comeback with five minutes to spare. 

Once ahead, nothing was going to stop Wrexham from claiming a crucial win on the road, as the Red Dragons saw out the final moments expertly to ensure they’d be travelling back to North Wales with all three points. 

Wrexham AFC: Okonkwo, Cleworth, O'Connell, O'Connor, Barnett (Bolton 83’), Evans, Cannon, McClean, Mendy (Lee 34’), Mullin (C) (Marriott 83’), Fletcher (Palmer 65’).

Subs not used: Howard, Tozer, J.Davies.

Colchester United: Goodman, Iandolo (Fevrier 66'), Hall, Dallison (Jay 88'), McGeehan, Hopper (Ihionvien 88'), Read, Anderson, Mingi, Akinde (Tovide 66'), Smith (Chilvers 80').

Subs not used: Hornby, Kelleher, Jay. 

Match attendance: 8,432 (1,278 Away)

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