Delighted Wrexham AFC manager Phil Parkinson said Sunday’s FA Cup Third Round derby win away to Shrewsbury Town was one for the supporters.
The Red Dragons were roared on by a sold-out away end at the Croud Meadow – 1,659 in attendance – and Parkinson was delighted to deliver derby-day success for them, and the supporters who watched at home on S4C or ESPN+.
Tom O’Connor scored the only goal of the game after the break, and Parkinson was delighted to add yet another FA Cup upset to the Club’s proud history in the competition.
“First of all, it was a day for our supporters today – I said that to the lads after the game, it’s a day they deserved,” Parkinson said.
“Obviously 15 years ago, when we lost our league status, we lost a game here against Shrewsbury that was very damaging and it’s great for our supporters to go home happy today – not just the ones who are here, but the ones watching on TV.
“It was a tough game and it was always going to be. They had a great win against Fleetwood Town on New Year’s Day and I thought they played very well.
“At times, in the first half, we gave ourselves our own problems – we were a little slow playing out from the back and we invited that press onto us – but I felt as the game wore on we got stronger, and we always felt the sting and energy of that press would die to a certain degree and we’d get more control of the game.
“The game was more or less how we thought it would be, but we probably didn’t make the right decisions in that first 10-15 minutes. We got better in the first half, just mixed our game up, and we started to bring the control and the performance and I thought in the second half we stepped it up brilliantly.
“The FA Cup is a bonus for us, we know that, but we represent a Club that has a great tradition in this competition and every time we go into a game I remind the lads of that. We’ve sent the supporters home pleased today, and the lads should be very proud of the performance.”
After beating eventual EFL Championship play-off finalists Coventry City and taking Premier League-bound Sheffield United to a replay last season, the match saw Wrexham add another chapter to their storied FA Cup history.
And Parkinson was pleased to see his players step up to the plate against a higher-level opponent once again.
He added: “That was a hard game, a really hard game – these are a powerful League One outfit. It was a great test for us, and I thought we stood up to it really well.
“I can only reiterate what I said leading up to the game – I don’t think Shrewsbury are necessarily the best footballing team in League One, but they are a powerful team.
“As you go up the leagues, players get more powerful – they’re quicker, they’re sharper in everything they do – and it was interesting to see if we could cope with that. For the first 10-15 minutes, it looked as if it caught us out a little bit. As the game wore on, physically we got stronger, and technically we improved as well.
Parkinson also hailed the impact of goalscorer O’Connor and midfielder George Evans, who was among the key performers in a dogged win.
“George put in an outstanding performance today, in all aspects – headers, tackles, regains – but obviously passing the ball and switching the play, we work on it a lot in training and he is instrumental in that. He was really good today,” Parkinson exclaimed.
“Tommy is a good finisher. He hasn’t got the goals this year, but he will. The ball has a habit of dropping to him in the box.
“ It was a nice touch of calmness from Sam as well, just laying the ball back to him, and if you hit the target it’s always got a chance. Yes it got deflected, but it’s Tommy’s goal.”
Wrexham will learn their FA Cup Fourth Round opponents on Monday night, with the draw set to be made at approximately 7.50pm (GMT) ahead of Wigan Athletic’s clash with Manchester United.