Amid news of a potential Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny takeover, Telford United managed to steal a 1-0 victory against Wrexham, after Shane Sutton’s header found the back of the Racecourse net, deep into the second half.
Not a bad word can be said about Wrexham’s performance. They simply just lacked that blunt execution in front of the Telford net, with the few chances that they had.
Wrexham had heaped up some consistent pressure in the Telford half, but a soft free-kick for the away side on the counter led to Sutton glancing in a header into the bottom right-hand corner.
Wrexham began this pre-season friendly on the back of a 4-0 win at the Aggborough Stadium against Kidderminster Harriers. Luke Young, Kwame Thomas, Elliott Durrell and Adi Yussuf all got on the scoresheet, during the four-goal whitewash.
The pre-season friendly just over a week ago at the New Bucks Head Stadium finished Telford 0-0 Wrexham, so Dean Keates would have been hoping for his side to add to their scoring prowess, whilst maintaining their strong defensive record.
Wrexham made five changes from the side that breezed past Kidderminster. Christian Dibble, Reece Hall-Johnson, Jamie Reckord, Jay Harris and Yussuf came in for Rob Lainton, James Horsfield, Mark Carrington, Jordan Davies and Jake Bickerstaff, as Keates wanted a good look at his whole squad.
It looked like The Reds were going to play a narrow 4-4-2 formation, with Durrell and Jeffrey manning the wings, but this occasionally turned into a 4-3-3 with how tight Durrell was getting.
The game started with a ferociously high tempo, as both sides looked to impress in this pre-season friendly. Wrexham’s aggressive pressing was constant throughout the pitch and served them well in retrieving the ball back quickly and counter attacking.
Anthony Jeffrey had the first real chance of the game in the 15th minute, as his poor first touch actually set him up for a volley from outside the box. However, the new Wrexham man could not recreate Peter Crouch’s illustrious strike and he walloped the ball into the WrexRent Stand.
It was clear that The Bucks had done their research on Dibble, as they decided not to socially distance from the Wrexham keeper and put him under heaps of pressure. He remained strong though and managed to punch a looming ball away, which would have certainly been tapped in, with 18 minutes on the clock.
Jeffrey was amongst the Wrexham chances again, as he scaled across the Telford 18-yard box and fired a shot back across the goal. Captain Sutton was on hand to block a very dangerous shot out for a corner in the 21st minute.
The resulting corner found the head of Yussuf, who glanced the ball just over the crossbar. Perhaps he was too close to the goal, as he juts couldn’t steer the ball downwards.
Brandan Daniels’ whipping corner caused even more issues for Dibble, as it was about to sneak under the post, but the Wrexham man was able to get some fingertips on the ball and tip it over the bar in the 38th minute.
The first half ended 0-0, with both sides being massively impressive. For a behind closed doors pre-season friendly, there was a high tempo throughout the half, with really pleasing signs for both managers.
Jeffrey showed off his pace and skill once more in the 53rd minute, as he breezed past the Telford man down the by-line to whip in a ball crying out to be finished. It drifted over Thomas’ head to find Hall-Johnson speeding in at the back-post. The full-back had almost slide tackled the ball and it squirted out from underneath his leg to be smashed away from the Telford goalline.
Elliott Durrell managed to win possession back in the 64th minute after a failed Reckord cross, and he lined up a shot which wobbled and dipped to fall just over the crossbar from 25 yards out.
A soft free kick given by Nick Pratt led to the opener. The Telford cross found the oncoming captain Sutton, who glanced his header past Dibble, who could do nothing to stop the ball ending up in the bottom right-hand corner in the 74th minute.
It was obvious that Keates wanted the starting 11 to have 90 minutes, as he chose to not make any substitutions to spur on a Wrexham equaliser.
Wrexham AFC: Dibble (GK), Hall-Johnson, Vassell, Kelleher, Reckford, Young, Harris, Durrell, Jeffrey, Thomas, Yussuf
Subs not used: Lainton (GK), Cleworth, Horsfield, Carrington, Redmond, Rutherford, Jarvis, Davies, Bickerstaff
Telford United: Griffiths (GK), Vaughan, Streete, Sutton, Meppen-Walters (White 35’), Byrne (McHale 86’), Walker, Cowans, Hardy (Williams 70’), Oswell (Barnes-Homer 77’), Daniels
Subs not used: Bower, Scott, Sweeney, Rawlins
Referee: Nick Pratt