Macclesfield Town
Posted:Tue 09 Jul 2019

Bobby Grant hit the crossbar and post as Wrexham were narrowly denied a positive result in an encouraging pre-season friendly against Portimonense.

Jadson stole in from a set piece early on to gift the hosts the lead, but Wrexham responded well as they trialled a new 3-4-3 formation.

The attacking system nearly paid off too, as the Dragons stretched the game and created plenty of chances against the Primeira Liga team, but they could not quite snatch a deserved draw.

Portimonense were quick to exert control over the game, with the Portuguese top-flight team fielding a similar mix of young players and first-team squad members to their previous pre-season friendly against Chelsea’s under-23s.

Wrexham were disciplined without the ball, however, happy to let the hosts play ball around their defence as the Dragons adopted their new 3-4-3 formation.

An early set piece proved to be Wrexham’s undoing, however – Bruno Reis playing the ball over the top, for Jadson to break the line and prod beyond Christian Dibble at the back post.

Only minutes after the restart, Reis then fired a low drive from 25 yards, which Dibble saved well low to his right.

Rather than opening the floodgates, however, Wrexham responded well to going behind and began to exert their own style of play.

Bobby Grant was inches away from an equaliser on 17 minutes, turning 30 yards out and unleashing a vicious, dipping left-footed shot which Shuichi Gonda tipped onto the bar.

Gonda was called into action again on the half-hour, denying Paul Rutherford at the near post but carrying the ball behind.

From the resultant Luke Summerfield corner, James Jennings got up highest at the back post but headed the ball well over.

Grant then hit the frame of the goal again on 45 minutes, cutting inside on his left foot and beating Gonda from distance, only for his low shot to bounce clear off the far post.

Portimonense changed their entire starting XI for the second-half, with first-team players like Lucas Possignolo, Paulinho and Bruno Tabata introduced.

Tabata was involved almost immediately too, linking up well with fellow attacking midfielder and firing wide of the far post on his left foot.

Wrexham, by contrast, only introduced Leighton McIntosh for Oswell, sticking with the same formation too.

At the other end, Emmanuel Hackman flashed wildly at Summerfield’s short free-kick, but the ball somehow dropped wide off the unsighted Portimonense goalkeeper.

Tabata and Paulinho were central to Portimonenese’s attack at the other end, and the former fed the latter on the hour but Dibble saved well at the near post.

Wrexham again grew into the half, however, as further changes were made and one of those introduced – Mark Harris – fired a long-range half-volley which the keeper only gathered at the second attempt on 65 minutes.

Two minutes later, Grant linked up well with Rutherford and laid the ball back to Harris, whose shot was deflected just wide.

From the resultant Luke Young corner, Jennings headed high in the air and McIntosh beat the keeper to the second ball with a clever back header, which again dropped inches wide.

Four minutes later, Harris ran at the Portimonense defence again, shooting from long-range, but his effort deflected wide.

Paulinho headed wide from a left-wing cross on 86 minutes, meanwhile, as Portimonense absorbed the Wrexham pressure and looked to see out the game.

Harris pulled back for McIntosh on 90 minutes, however, and was denied a penalty as the ball was bundled behind.

Pearson could not get a clean header to Young’s corner – awarded instead of a spot-kick – and the match ended with just the single goal in it.


Wrexham AFC: (3-4-1-2): Dibble (Trialist A 72), Carrington, Pearson, Barton (Lawlor 62), Rutherford, Summerfield (Young 62), Wright, Jennings, Redmond (Harris 51), Oswell (McIntosh 46), Grant (Hooper 72)

Portimonense SC: (4-2-3-1): Gonda, Igor, Jadson, Rodrigo, Henrique, Pedro Sa, Luqinha, Bruno Reis, Aylton Boa Morte, Iury Castillo, Beto.

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