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REVIEW | Wrexham AFC 4-1 Barrow

Wrexham break Barrow’s 14 league match unbeaten run!

2 January 2024


REVIEW | Wrexham AFC 4-1 Barrow

Wrexham break Barrow’s 14 league match unbeaten run!

2 January 2024

Steven Fletcher’s hat-trick inspired a comeback victory for Wrexham at the STōK Cae Ras, beating Barrow in a top of the table clash.

The Bluebirds, like Wrexham, have been one of a few teams constantly swapping places just below Stockport County in first position, and so yesterday’s fixture had a lot riding on it. 

So too did the Boreham Wood match in April, and just like that, Phil Parkinson’s men got off to the worst possible start. 

With 20 seconds on the clock, Wrexham were attempting to slot back into their defensive shape, after being dispossessed from a throw-in. However, they were too slow and Elliot Newby was able to whip-in an inverted cross. 

The ball glanced off the chest of Ben Whitfield, falling through to Kian Spence, who couldn’t miss so close in front of Arthur Okonkwo’s net. 

Wrexham are no strangers to a comeback at the STōK Cae Ras though, and so the goal didn’t cut quite as deep as one would have expected. 

Wrexham went on to dictate possession in the first half, but chances didn’t spring from this. 

Due to the Bluebirds’ lead, they quite happily sat deep behind the ball, starving Wrexham of avenues to drive into. 

The likes of Anthony Forde and James McClean were forced to cut inside across the visitors’ 18-yard box to no avail. 

Barrow’s excellent defensive display came as no surprise either, due to only shipping in twenty league goals before the start of play; a league second best.  

David Worrall’s injury in the first half, who has now thankfully been discharged from hospital well, meant that there were to be 14 minutes of first half added time. 

With loose passes starting to frustrate Wrexham amidst controlling the possession, it felt as though one would have to wait until the second half for a revamped performance. 

With that being said, Fletcher and Paul Mullin combined beautifully in the ninth minute of added time to force the Barrow defence deeper into their box. Now closer to goal, Fletcher stabbed Mullin’s return pass into the bottom corner past Paul Farman to equalise. 

Something had now clicked, and Wrexham were able to find those crucial passes to hurt a now out-of-sorts Barrow defence. 

Just over a minute after the equaliser, Tom White chopped down Elliot Lee before the midfielder was able to burst through the box, giving Wrexham a chance to curl a free-kick in. 

From a similar position to his first goal against Boreham Wood, Mullin decided to shoot from the set-piece instead. 

Steve Parkin confirmed post-match that the number ten had been working on his free-kicks in training in the build-up to the game, with taking a bit off his strikes as the point of emphasis. 

This enabled Mullin to guide his free-kick off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of Farman’s net, to signal lift-off at the STōK Cae Ras, as Wrexham came from behind to lead in the blink of an eye. 

The goals didn’t stop there, as Fletcher headed home his second of the afternoon in the 13th minute of added time from James McClean’s corner to cap-off a quite astonishing few minutes. 

Before the set-piece was taken, it was a four-v-four just inside the Barrow box, but for some reason, three Barrow players decided to make the run with Lee and Tom O’Connor to block them off at the front-post. With George Ray holding off Ben Tozer, Fletcher then had all the room in North Wales to glide through to the back-post and thud home his header, as Wrexham entered the changing rooms for half time with a two-goal lead. 

As Barrow couldn’t now sit behind the ball, one would have thought that pressure would ensue onto the Wrexham backline, but this just didn’t come to fruition. 

The Red Dragons controlled the game superbly, and a fourth goal eventually came. 

Elliot Lee’s run through the Barrow half in the 67th minute captured the attention of a few too many defenders, meaning Fletcher once again had never-ending space to run into their box. Forde’s resulting cross then found the head of Fletcher, who towered over a none-the-wiser James Chester, as the Scot secured his first Wrexham hat-trick. 

Aside from Dean Campbell hitting the post in added time, the side from Cumbria continued to stumble in their response to Wrexham’s lead, meaning Parkinson’s men claimed a much deserved three points. 

On a day where Stockport County lost 2-0 to Mansfield Town, the top four in Sky Bet League Two became even tighter.

For Wrexham, it’ll become even more congested next weekend, as the Red Dragons take the short trip across the border to Shrewsbury Town for the Emirates FA Cup Third Round, whilst the likes of Barrow and Mansfield Town play in the league. 

The scheduled trip to Milton Keynes will have to wait for another day, as the old grudge match with the Salops awaits. 

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