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REPORT | Wrexham AFC 4-1 Barrow

Red Dragons claim an impressive victory over the Bluebirds on New Year’s Day

1 January 2024

Match Reports

REPORT | Wrexham AFC 4-1 Barrow

Red Dragons claim an impressive victory over the Bluebirds on New Year’s Day

1 January 2024

Steven Fletcher’s first hat-trick in a Wrexham AFC shirt inspired Phil Parkinson’s side to an emphatic 4-1 comeback victory over Barrow on New Year’s Day.

The visitors opened the scoring after just 34 seconds through Kian Spence in North Wales, but an injury-time double from Steven Fletcher and a sublime free-kick from Paul Mullin quickly turned the game around.

Fletcher completed his hat-trick in the 67th minute, securing a vital three points against the Bluebirds – who are also battling away for the top three Sky Bet League Two places.

The Red Dragons now sit third in the league table, just two points behind leaders Stockport County with a game in hand on the Hatters.

Fresh off the positive news that Mullin and Elliot Lee have extended their stays in North Wales until 2027, there was an air of positivity on New Year’s Day around the StōK Cae Ras.

Phil Parkinson elected to bring Fletcher into the starting line-up for the first time since the ex-Scottish international returned from injury, while George Evans returned into the side following his three-match suspension.

Barrow got proceedings underway, and it took Pete Wild’s side just 34 seconds to hand Wrexham an early blow in North Wales.

The Bluebirds quickly shifted the ball up the pitch, finding Elliot Newby on the left-flank who delivered an early cross into the path of Ben Whitfield.

Having reacted quickly to the chance, Barrow’s number 34 calmly chested the ball across goal and found Kian Spence, and he wasted no time in firing his side ahead from close-range.

Wrexham attempted to search for a leveller, as Andy Cannon, Fletcher and Mullin all registered efforts in the opening stages of the match, while Barrow also remained a threat on the break too.

There was an extended break in play, as the referee had to bring the game to a halt following a serious injury to David Worrall – which forced him to be stretchered off in the 21st minute.

Arthur Okonkwo made an important double save after 38 minutes, as Barrow tested the 22-year-old in their pursuit of a second goal.

In truth, Barrow looked like a side who were holding onto a lead under pressure – after 40 minutes they recorded a pass completion under 60% and looked to soak up time where possible.

The fourth official indicated a minimum of 14 minutes injury time to be played at the STōK Cae Ras – giving the Red Dragons an extra boost as they looked to draw level with their high-flying rivals.

Wrexham seemed to find another gear in added time, and they drew level through Fletcher in the 54th minute.

He played an incisive one-two with Mullin inside the box and propelled himself towards goal, smashing the ball home on his right foot into the bottom corner to draw Parkinson’s side level.

Mullin shifted from provider to talisman, as he stepped up to take a free-kick from 25-yards just two minutes after Fletcher’s equaliser.

The 29-year-old curled his right-footed effort with extreme precision towards goal, leaving Farman with no chance, although replays showed that the keeper got his fingertips onto the effort which clipped the crossbar.

All it took was another two minutes and Wrexham managed to firmly take control of the match, as they doubled their advantage at the STōK Cae Ras.

Fletcher was yet again at the heart of the move, and he doubled his tally for the afternoon, as he was unmarked from a corner.

The number 26 rose highest to emphatically head home James McClean’s corner at the back post - completing the Red Dragons’ quickfire turnaround.

Neither side managed to record any real chances of note in the opening stages of the second half, but there was another unfortunate delay in the match as Luca Stephenson was also stretchered off the pitch.

In-form Fletcher completed his hat-trick after 67th minute, as the forward continued to dominate his aerial battles and he headed home from Anthony Forde’s cross at the back-post to all but secure three points.

Forde went close to recording Wrexham’s fifth goal of the day, but his effort from Mullin’s cross forced Farman into a fantastic save after 89 minutes.

Dean Campbell struck the post in added time for Barrow, but it didn’t matter as Wrexham held on for an impressive win in front of a season-high home crowd at the STōK Cae Ras on New Year’s Day.

Wrexham AFC: Okonkwo, Cleworth, Tozer (C), O'Connor (Boyle 100'), Forde, Cannon (Jones 78’), Evans, Lee (J. Davies 87’), McClean (Mendy 70’), Fletcher (Dalby 70’,) Mullin (Barnett 97').

Subs not used: Howard, Boyle.

Barrow: Farman, Ray, Canavan (C), Worrall (Stephenson 21’) (Ogungbo 57’), Spence (Telford 81’), Newby, White, Foley, Chester, Acquah (Proctor 72’), Whitfield (Campbell 72’).

Subs not used: Lillis.

Match Attendance: 12,323* (1,018 Away).

*Highest attendance at the STōK Cae Ras since 2007, against Boston United.


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