The rampant Wrexham youth shrugged off the challenge from Solihull Moors, with a 5-2 victory to progress to the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup.
Bobby Beaumont set the tone for the Reds, as his thumping header gave his side an early lead against the Moors.
Max Cleworth was next to score from a corner, before Callum Huxley gave the Dragons a three goal lead at the stroke of half-time, with a smart, composed finish.
Huxley added to his goal scoring tally again in the second half, whilst substitute Lewis Parry buried home a fifth for this promising youth side.
The Reds began the game on the back of a 3-2 win against City of Liverpool in the previous round, which manager Dan Nolan believed to be a poor performance, even though the young lads came out on top.
What with the departure of Pat Jones to the Huddersfield Academy, it was time for the other players to show off their own attributes, as Nolan picked a 4-3-3 formation headed by Jake Bickerstaff, Jac Humphreys and Huxley.
Beaumont captained the side in the centre-back role alongside Cleworth, as they aimed to kick-on after their impressive displays against Ayr United in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup.
After a lively start from the away side, Wrexham started to show their composure on the ball. Humphreys and Huxley began to link dangerously in the first ten minutes, looking like seasoned striking partners.
Wrexham had their first real chance in the 11th minute through a corner, as the captain Beaumont rose highest in a pack of players to bury the ball home to give Wrexham an early lead. This seemed to be a real-tone setter for the cup tie, due to the jubilant celebrations.
Ben Tinkley looked well-suited to the Racecourse goal, after making some early saves and leaping high to catch a dangerous free-kick under heaps of pressure, from the Solihull centre-backs in the 14th minute.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Wrexham doubled their lead through Cleworth from another corner. A tussle in the box saw the Wrexham centre-back forcing the ball over the line. Mikkel Boone attempted to clear the ball off the line, but the linesman was assured in his decision that Wrexham had in fact gained a 2-0 lead.
The competing mascot for Wrexham’s Red Dragon had arrived back at the Racecourse, following the first team’s win against Ebbsfleet United. The referee however decided to stop play, as he thought the seagull’s life was in danger. The seagull defied all odds and toyed with the referee around the pitch for a lengthy five minutes, whilst the players took refreshments.
The interruption proved to be unhelpful for Wrexham, as the tempo understandably dropped, but this only lasted for five minutes, as the Reds were rampant until the end of the half.
Huxley and Bickerstaff linked again, as Huxley found himself free on the wing. However, his first-time curling effort flew off his boot into the night sky and dipped into the hands of Tom Allsopp, with 30 minutes gone.
Kyle Robinson-Murray was next to find himself free, as his header at the back post untroubled Allsopp in goal. The Wrexham midfielder struggled to generate any power on his header from the cross in the 32nd minute.
The Reds were really drumming up the pressure at this point in the game and Solihull Moors saw little of the Wrexham goal until Praise Chapwanya tried a long ranged effort. The shot bounced awkwardly in front of Tinkley, but he managed to push the ball out for a corner in the 36th.
Wrexham kept moving forward though, not resting on their laurels. The Dragons won a free kick in the Moors’ half with six minutes left in the half, which found Bickerstaff unmarked at the front post, who helped the ball on just past the post.
Matthew Jones immediately continued the push, as his shot from afar was deflected close to the post, teasing the Allsopp in goal.
Jones was constantly linking the midfield and attack, as he won the ball back off a Allsopp goal kick, finding Bickerstaff in front of him. The Wrexham striker had a great chance to make it 3-0, but he fired well over in the 44th.
Well into ‘Seagull Time’, Huxley grabbed a third goal for the Reds in the fourth minute of added time. His ‘one-two’ with Bickerstaff allowed him to dribble past the Moors defender and bring the goalkeeper wide, to finish into the open gap in the goal.
Half time was eventually called and the Wrexham Youth side went into the dressing rooms three goals to the good, with a convincing clean sheet too.
Wrexham started the half as they ended the previous. Bickerstaff’s clever feet in the box set him up to pull the trigger, but his certain goal was prevented by the leg of a Solihull defender.
Wrexham did however add a fourth goal to their tally in the 53rd minute. Bickerstaff drilled the ball at an angle, but the post cushions the ball back into play. Huxley’s awareness and reactions allowed him to smash the ball home, before any defender could get anywhere near close to him.
Chances were flying left, right and centre, as Robinson-Murray was starting to dictate play.
Jones almost scored a third from a corner, but his deflected shot was successfully cleared by Boone this time with 57 minutes on the clock.
Just one minute later, Robinson-Murray finally had a clear chance to get his goal for the evening, but he drove his shot straight at Allsopp. The midfielder didn’t stop there though and managed to deliver a peach of a cross in a tight area for either Huxley or Bickerstaff to convert. Unfortunately, they made their first mistake of the evening and the ball rebounded off them and out of the box.
The fast paced game seemed to be affected by stoppages and injuries, but the substitutions of Parry and Sam Williams for Robinson-Murray and Huxley seemed to bring the game back to life.
Osian Hughes was the next Wrexham midfielder to bomb forward and his effort at the angle seemed to be drifting wide of the post, however Parry smashed the ball in for his first touch of the game. Not a bad way to enter the field with 72 minutes already played.
Solihull continued to play their way, but their build-up play from the back was being severely punished by the rampant Reds. Parry was put through again, but some last ditch defending managed to squirm his shot off the line, just two minutes after his first goal.
Bickerstaff for all his work, deserved a goal under the Racecourse floodlights. He turned his man inside and out on the edge of the box and absolutely creamed the ball for it to cannon of the crossbar. Agonising groans filled the stand, as the ball seemed destined for the top corner, 14 minutes left to play.
Credit was due to the Solihull fitness levels, as Wrexham kept coming at the defence. Cleworth attempted an acute dink over Allsopp’s head, as he was in no-man’s land after his punch from a cross. Cleworth’s effort drifted just over the bar though in the 78th.
The first defensive mistake occurred on the 80th minute for Wrexham, as Cleworth was tackled at the back by Boone. Tinkley was still awake though, tipping the ball just wide of the post.
Derrick Ikechukwu drove at the ‘Red Wall’ with seven minutes left of play and laid the ball off to Boone. He attempted a curling effort from far, but it landed firmly in Tinkley’s hands.
Wrexham countered this new found Solihull Moors aggression, as Jones wrong footed the Moors keeper. His effort kissed the post and went out for a goal kick in the 84th.
In an attempt to sure of the defence, Ryan Austin came on for Jamie Nash.
The perfect way to end this performance would have been with a clean sheet, but it wasn’t to be as Boone finally took his chance late in the contest, after a fluid move in the 86th.
Harvey Siddall added a second soon after in the 88th, to try and dent the strong performance put out by the Wrexham Youth team.
90 minutes had struck and Bickerstaff was through for one more chance. He seemed to lose his composure, but managed to force a cross at the back post on a plate for Parry. Somehow, the substitute managed to miss the open net.
The cup tie ended Wrexham 5-2 Solihull Moors, with the Reds putting in a dominant display to progress to the next round.
Wrexham: (4-3-3): Tinkley (GK), Nash (Austin 84’), Cleworth, Beaumont ©, Williams, Jones, Robinson-Murray (Parry 69’), Hughes, Humphreys, Huxley (Williams 71’), Bickerstaff
Subs not used: Nicholas
Solihull Moors: (4-3-3): Allsopp (GK), Talbot, Bushaj ©, Chapwanya (Heaven 69’), Hickey, Bennett, Siddall, Ricketts (Ikechukwu 60’), Boone, Simons (Cozens 60’), Scott
Subs not used: Skudder (GK), Jennings, Kite, Bennett
Wrexham Bookings: None
Solihull Bookings: Bennett 62’ (ungentlemanly conduct)
Man of the Match: Matthew Jones