REPORT I Wrexham 1-3 Stoke City

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Wed 17 Jul 2019

Wrexham's pre-season preparations continued tonight when they entertained Championship side Stoke City at the Racecourse.

Nathan Jones gave youth a chance with his starting eleven, and they got the dream start in the fifth minute when Tyrese Campbell met a cross from the left and headed in from five yards.

Ninety seconds later, the Dragons were unlucky not to be on level terms when Mark Harris stretched to meet a JJ Hooper cross, only to see the ball driven down into the turf and bounce over the bar.

As to be expected, the Potters enjoyed their fair share of possession in the opening quarter, however a focussed Wrexham defence limited their chances. Wrexham, to their credit were not daunted by their opposition, pushing forward at every opportunity.

The first 20 minutes passed with neither team creating any further chances of note, however it was nevertheless a compelling contest.

On the 25 minute mark, continued pressure from Wrexham paid off, when goalkeeper Adam Federici was caught in a mix up with his defenders, and having come out of his box was dispossessed on the right wing. Hooper's pinpoint cross found the the waiting Bobby Grant, who made no mistake, beating a defender to head into an open goal from the centre of the box.

Grant was in the centre of the action eight minutes later, when his effort just indie the box was blocked at point blank range by Indi.

The Dragons were growing in confidence, and their possession was almost rewarded again when Akil Wright received a long diagonal cross, but he was unable to direct the ball on target.

Just before half time, Grant found himself in the referee's notebook for reacting to a challenge just outside his own box.

Half time 1-1

The second half started in the same vein as the first, with both teams maintaining a lively pace to the game. It was the visitors that once again enjoyed the early chances, and James Woods' effort would have tested Dibble had it not been blocked from five yards.

Wrexham found themselves under a period of sustained pressure, and Dibble was forced into a number of sprawling interceptions.

On 58 minutes, Nathan Jones changed his team wholesale, bringing on every remaining outfield player on the bench, including such names as Joe Allen, Sam Vokes, and Ryan Shawcross.

Stoke immediately changed up a gear, and on 68 minutes, Afobe broke into the Wrexham box. Keeper Dibble dived bravely at his feet, but Sam Vokes capitalised upon the spilled ball, slotting home the ball into an empty Wrexham net.

On 74 minutes, McIntosh replaced Mark Harris. A minute later, Grant floated a lovely cross from the right to Jennings, who tried a quick exchange with Hooper, but the eventual effort was tame and easily gathered by Federici.

Wrexham were undone again after 78 minutes, when Afobe's cross from the right went over the head of Rutherford, only to be met by Vokes, who placed the ball past Dibble's left hand.

The visitors were in cruise control now, the combination in class and ten fresh players proving compelling. Wrexham found themselves pinned back in their own half for minutes at a toime, with only the occasional break forward.

 However, the game played out with no further score, and both managers will have been pleased with their squad's performances.

For Wrexham, there were plenty of positives, and Bryan Hughes' men acquitted themselves well against a very organised Stoke side.

Wrexham: Dibble, Jennings, Pearson, Lawlor, Summerfield, Grant, Rutherford, Barton, Wright, Harris (McIntosh 74), Hooper.
Subs: Trialist (gk), Young, Oswell, Carrington, Sargent, Tharme, Thorn.

Stoke City: Federici, Edwards (Smith 46), Ward (58), Batth (58), Indi (58), Gregory (58), Verlinden (58), Campbell (Jarvis 43 [58]), Sorensen (58), Woods (58), Dunwoody (58).
Subs: Davies, Allen (58), Lindsay(58), Vokes (58), Afobe (58), McLean (58), Shawcross (58), Clucas (58), Cousins (58), Powell (58).

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)
Attendance: 3,196
Away: 744

Bookings-
Wrexham:
Grant (45)

Report by Richard Griffiths

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