MATCH REPORT | HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0 WREXHAM 1

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Tue 17 Nov 2020

After yesterday's remarkable events, the good news kept coming as Wrexham returned to action after a 3-week lay-off with a terrific away win.

Elliott Durrell scored the only goal, his first since returning to the club, with a fine strike from outside the box after Wrexham weathered a poor first half to come back strongly after the break.

Dean Keates made 3 changes from the side which started the goalless draw against Barnet before our lengthy hiatus: James Horsfield came in for Reece Hall-Johnson, Paul Rutherford returned instead of Anthony Jeffrey, and Jordan Ponticelli replaced Jake Bickerstaff.

The first half was a scrappy affair, and it was the home side who had the better of things.

Indeed, they had a chance to open the scoring within the opening minute when Molyneux broke in behind the defence on the left flank, but his shot was blocked.

Wrexham’s first opportunity came in the tenth minute. Kwame Thomas, who consistently held the ball up when he received good service, fed the ball into the box for Paul Rutherford, whose angled return pass allowed the striker a chance to shoot. However, his powerful effort was well blocked and Pools broke swiftly, a dangerous ball to the near post being well intercepted by Jamie Reckord as he covered around the back of his central defenders.

Molyneux, a consistent threat down the left, had a glorious opportunity to score when Hoolihan’s excellent cross found him unmarked at the far post, but his header scraped the bar.

Hartlepool hadn’t worked Rob Lainton at that point, but in the closing quarter of an hour of the half he had to be at his best to repel the home side’s efforts.

First he was quick to parry an effort from a swift break, before making an excellent parry from a Crawford drive.

He was powerless when Molyneux cut in from the left flank and, from the corner of the box, hit a wicked shot which clipped the far post, but he was called into action in the final minute of the 45 when Crawford’s powerful 25-yarder seemed to be arrowing into the bottom left corner, only to be denied by a strong right hand.

Straight from the restart, Wrexham looked much more competitive, and before long a decent chance hd been created. Young sent a good pass to the edge of the area, where Thomas teed up Ponticelli. His shot from the edge of the area with the outside of his foot was too straight to trouble the keeper, however.

In the 55th minute Wrexham's improvement was rewarded with the only goal of the game. Again the excellent Thomas was involved, nodding the ball down to Durrell whose clean strike ripped inside the right hand post from 20 yards.

Almost immedately Hartlepool threatened to equalise. A highly controversial free kick awarded against Durrell, who seemed to have ushered the ball out for a goal kick legally, and Featherstone's effort whistled just wide of the top right corner.

Wrexham continued to push on, and might have doubled their lead in a frantic period 20 minutes into the second half. A loose ball fell kindly just outside the six-yard box but Durrell and Ponticelli got in each others way as they tried to capitalised. The ball was cleared, but Wrexham swiftly won it back and Young surged into the box before unleashing a typically vicious 15-yard shot which was well blocked.

The final quarter of an hour saw Hartlepool work up some momentum, forcing a series of set pieces and making Wrexham defend their penalty area. Parkhouse pulled a shot well wide after a nice Molyneux touch and Hoolahan's driving run into the box saw his shot from a tight angle deflected into the side-netted.

The closest they came to an equaliser came with five minutes left. A corner into a crowded six-yard box led to a scramble which ended with the ball rolling against the post. The danger seemed to have passed, but Hartlepool managed to regain possession, and Ofosu's shot was blocked with Lainton stranded off his line.

However, Wrexham stood frm under a late onslaught, and earned a superb three points.

Wrexham: Lainton; Horsfield, Kelleher, Vassell, Reckord; Rutherford, Harris, Young, Durrell (Hall-Johnson 89). Thomas, Ponticelli (Yussuf 72) UNUSED SUBS: Dibble, Cleworth.

Hartlepool United: Ravas, Johnson, Magloire, Cass, Ferguson, Molyneux, Donaldson (Oates, 64), Featherstone, Holohan, Crawford (Ofosu, 74), Bloomfield (Parkhouse, 5) UNUSED SUBS: Odusina, Shelton 

Booking: Hartlepool: None

Wrexham: Horsfield, Young, Rutherford

Referee: Lewis Smith

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