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REVIEW | Wrexham AFC 2-0 Mansfield Town

Red Dragons stun startled Stags

30 March 2024


REVIEW | Wrexham AFC 2-0 Mansfield Town

Red Dragons stun startled Stags

30 March 2024

Wrexham ran out 2-0 victors against Mansfield Town at the STōK Cae Ras, as the top three in Sky Bet League Two are now separated by just one point.

Paul Mullin netted his 98th and 99th Wrexham goal, one in each half, with the Red Dragons securing a second successive with against the Stags. 

The first goal came off the back of Mansfield Town’s impressive start to the game, where they looked comfortable in and out of possession, as the horrific weather descended onto Wrexham. 

Phil Parkinson added to this post-match: “We had to dig deep, in terms of concentration levels as well as physicality.” 

Nothing could stop Max Cleworth’s ball in the 32nd minute though, where he cut open the entire Mansfield midfield to set away Andy Cannon down the right wing. 

The young centre back had already had a phenomenal start to the game defensively, but this pass showed off what he could offer going up the pitch as well. 

On the back of his two goals at Grimsby Town, Cannon cut his cross through the visitors’ box. Lewis Brunt tried to prod the ball away whilst back-pedalling, but instead poked air, as the ball rolled invitingly onto the foot of Mullin and into the back of the net. 

In such a high stakes game, with a feeling somewhat similar to that of Notts County last year on Easter Monday, the STōK Cae Ras erupted. 

So too did it when Mullin rocketed home his penalty in the 67th minute. Christy Pym had gambled that Mullin would go down the middle, but even he couldn’t lift his hands quick enough to stop the ball from colliding with gumption into the roof of the net. 

It must be said that the penalty came fortuitously for the Red Dragons. Referee Lewis Smith took his sweet time in awarding the decision, after Jordan Bowery had smashed into Luke Bolton on the edge of the box. And on the edge of the box it was, as the contact started five yards outside of the penalty area. 

Even though the linesman had a perfect view, Wrexham gained the decision of the spot-kick, and so Nigel Clough and his men have a right to feel aggrieved. 

The other controversial moment in the game was when former Wrexham player Davis Keillor-Dunn kicked the ball out of Arthur Okonkwo’s hands inside of his 18-yard box. The referee rightfully awarded a foul, but this didn’t stop the protests from the visitors. 

The ninety minutes wasn’t full of chances, but this was heavily down to the performance of the now settled Wrexham back three. 

Cleworth, Eoghan O’Connell and Will Boyle look beyond comfortable as a unit, and the previously most prolific side in the league had no answers. This was made abundantly clear in the final twenty minutes of the game, when the Stags looked deflated in their less than inspiring search for a goal back.  

Parkinson was thoroughly impressed with the entirety of the squad though, and shared insight into how Wrexham prepared for the game: “We worked during the week on blocking the ball into Louis Reed, because he’s a good footballer and we restricted the service into him, where a lot of their attacks start off like that. 

“I was so pleased with that work and that means as much as the goals.” 

The positives didn’t stop there, as George Evans and Ryan Barnett both returned from injury to get a twenty-minute run out on the pitch. 

With the final month of the season hosting six games, the added players available for selection will be a massive boost in the title race. 

A trip to Doncaster arrives in three days as a lonesome Tuesday fixture, with every other Sky Bet League Two team playing on Easter Monday. 

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