Macclesfield Town
Posted:Mon 28 Dec 2020

For a second league game in a row, Wrexham put in an under-par first half display and then improved massively after the break. Unlike the visit to Weymouth, though, The Dragons were unable to find a way back into the game and suffered defeat at the hands of County.

Dean Keates made one change from the Weymouth game, with Jordan Davies replacing Jamie Reckord on the left. The opening exchanges were even, with Wrexham enjoying some good spells of possession, but it was The Hatters who posed a threat on goal.

County went close to opening the score in the third minute when Richie Bennett turned and hit a shot from the edge of the area which clipped Shaun Pearson’s heel and hit the outside of the left post. The subsequent corner found Lois Maynard in the goalmouth, but he was unable to get a proper touch as the ball fizzed in behind him.

Wrexham had another let-off when Shaun Pearson missed his back header and Bennett, one-on-one with Rob Lainton, was denied as the keeper raced off his line to block his shot.

The reprieve would not last long though: within a minute Connor Jennings started a superb move down the right flank which ended in a quick exchange of passes to tee Bennett up for a simple finish.

Things got even worse two minutes later. A left-sided corner was met powerfully by Jordan Keane, whose header flew into the top right corner.

Wrexham managed to restore a sense of equilibrium to the game for ten minutes after that, without threatening the County goal, although Alex Reid ought to have done better when, having lost his man, he headed over from close range after Mark Kitching’s wicked corner had picked him out.

He would have a similar opportunity from a corner later in the half, meeting the ball firmly this time, only for Lainton to acrobatically touch it onto the bar, and when Lois Maynard drilled a shot in from the edge of the area, Jordan Davies was able to clear off the line.

Wrexham thought they’d found a way back into the match when a terrific diagonal ball by Harris picked out Jordan Davies on the left side of the box. Macauley Southam tangled with him from behind and brought the winger to the ground, but to the astonishment of the visiting players and bench, the referee didn’t give a penalty, or the red card which inevitably would have followed.

The half closed with another Wrexham shout for a penalty, albeit a less convincing one, as Reece Hall-Johnson complained that Maynard had pushed him to the ground as they jostled to meet Jordan Ponticelli’s cross.

Still, the two penalty shouts didn’t mask the fact that Wrexham had failed to pose any real threat on Ben Henchliffe’s goal in the opening period.

No changes were made at the break, and Wrexham came out with a more aggressive intent, drilling two crosses into the Stockport box in the opening minute. Three minutes after the restart they carved out a terrific chance: Davies’ excellent pass opened the pitch up and Kwame Thomas beat Hogan to Hall-Johnson’s cross to find Ponticelli clear on goal, but his lob cleared the bar.

From the restart Ponticelli looked to make amends, flicking a great ball out to the flank to send Hall-Johnson away, but his cross was too close to the keeper, before a clever lay-off from Bennett put Reid in on goal, but his shot was saved low to the left by Lainton.

An excellent passage of passing and movement by Wrexham ended in a free kick on the edge of the box, which Davies struck sweetly but Hinchliffe was able to get across and hold it.

Wrexham continued to dominate the second period, and Keates added fresh legs half way through when Adi Yussuf and Dan Jarvis replaced Thomas and Elliott Durrell.

Immediately Hall-Johnson swept a vicious ball into the goalmouth which was just too high for Yussuf, and a tempting Ponticelli cross was also just beyond Yussuf’s reach soon afterwards.

The substitutes combined nicely as Jarvis did well to win the ball high up the pitch and feed Yussuf, who brought the ball down and hit a snapshot which Hinchliffe was able to hold onto.

As we entered the final 10 minutes, Keates made his final switch by bringing Paul Rutherford on for Jay Harris, and moments later Wrexham went close again as Davies picked out Luke Young, whose driving run ended with a shot which deflected onto the top of the bar and behind.

Davies’ corner was clawed away by Hinchliffe, sparking a superb break which ended in Jennings squaring to Reid, who shot wide from the edge of the box.

Jennings was the next player to have a chance to score on the break, drilling in a powerful shot which Lainton saved acrobatically, and the keeper also had to parry a late Bennett shot as Wrexham took risks to try to pull themselves into the game.

The second half performance was heartening, but clearly Wrexham need to find a way to avoid the slow starts which have bedeviled recent away games.

Stockport: Hinchliffe, Stott, Hogan, Kitching, Keane, Southam-Hales (Minihan 68), Croasdale, Maynard, Jennings, Bennett (Britton 90), Reid (Williams 85).
Unused Subs: Barnes, Gilmour.

Wrexham: Lainton, Hall-Johnson, Vassell, Pearson, Kelleher, Davies, Durrell (Jarvis 67), Harris (Rutherford 82), Young, Thomas (Yussuf 67), Ponticelli.
Unused Subs: Dibble, Horsfield.

Referee: Steven Copeland (Wirral)

Bookings -
Stockport: None
Wrexham: Hall-Johnson (59, foul)


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