In the week he scored on his senior debut, Jake Bickerstaff netted twice as the youth team started the National League Under-19 Alliance season by beating City of Liverpool.
Bickerstaff scored either side of Gerard Courtney’s equaliser, before Kyle Robinson-Murray added a third. Ryan Mason pulled another back for the visitors at Colliers Park, but Wrexham ensured they started with a win.
Fresh from starting the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup third round win against Ayr United, Bickerstaff and Max Cleworth were among the players named in an experienced Wrexham team.
Cian Williams, Matty Jones and Bobby Beaumont – who also made their first-team debuts at the weekend – started as did Callum Huxley and Robinson-Murray, who had been unused subs.
Lewis Parry – the other unused outfield sub at the weekend – was among the Wrexham substitutes at Colliers Park too.
Bickerstaff had the first chance of the game too, within a minute, heading wide from Robinson-Murray’s right-wing cross.
City of Liverpool moved the ball well in possession, however, and Ben Tinkley had to be out quickly to close Tyler Magee down after good work from Mason.
Osian Hughes did well to read a quick free-kick on seven minutes, releasing Huxley before running onto the return ball in the area, but his shot was blocked.
Hughes then crossed for Robinson-Murray a minute later, but the winger volleyed wide from inside the area.
Wrexham thought they had broken the deadlock on 20 minutes, when Huxley volleyed in off the bar from Bickerstaff’s flick-on, but the linesman had spotted an offside in the build-up.
At the other end, Haci Olly cut inside Cian Williams in the area but shot wide across goal from a difficult angle.
Wrexham began to take charge, however, and Pat Jones ran onto Matty Jones’ flick on 31 minutes, took the ball in his stride and beat his man, but shot wide across goal.
A minute later, Bickerstaff intercepted a poor pass to set up a well-worked passing move, but Huxley’s final cross was behind Robinson-Murray who could not steer it goalwards.
Still Wrexham pressed, and Bickerstaff found space on the edge of the area on 33 minutes and unleashed a fierce shot which clattered the underside of the bar and bounced to safety.
The pressure told on 37 minutes, however – Williams’ excellent pass released Matty Jones into space, who slipped in Huxley. The winger’s shot was blocked but Bickerstaff fired the rebound into the bottom corner from outside the area
Bickerstaff could have doubled his tally just seconds after the restart, when Pat Jones’ intercepted and crossed low, but he shot wide first time with only the keeper to beat.
Huxley then had a free-kick chance from 20 yards on 43 minutes, after Cleworth drove forward and was tripped, but Leo Weissenberger saved his curling effort.
City of Liverpool were level on 44 minutes, however – Ryan Mason drove at the defence and found Gerard Courtney, who curled in an unstoppable long-range effort.
There was still time for Wrexham to go close twice more in first-half stoppage time.
First, Cleworth and Huxley linked well as the centre-back drove forward again, but is left-footed shot was saved at the near post.
Then, Pat Jones released Robinson-Murray behind the defence but, one on one with Weissenberger, he shot wide right-footed.
Wrexham got straight onto the front foot after the break too, and Huxley shot just wide across goal on 47 minutes after Pat Jones’ cross was deflected clear by Weissenberger.
Jac Humphreys’ inch-perfect through ball then released Huxley in the 49th minute, but the winger was slow getting his shot away and it was blocked well.
At the other end, Michael Speed’s mazy run set Magee up on 51 minutes, but the striker’s long-range effort failed to trouble Tinkley.
Wrexham were back in front on 55 minutes, however – Bickerstaff coolly converting from the penalty spot after Huxley was pushed in the area.
Robinson-Murray then side-footed in Wrexham’s third on 61 minutes, after Pat Jones’ brilliant turn of pace and low cross left him with a back-post tap in.
City of Liverpool pulled another back on 76 minutes, after a lengthy delay due to Weissenberger needing treatment – an incisive counter-attack ended with Speed squaring for Mason to side-foot in.
Sam Williams could have restored Wrexham’s two-goal lead on 79 minutes, after Bickerstaff’s clever turn and through ball, but his first shot was charged down and he volleyed over from the rebound.
Williams then turned provider, crossing for fellow sub Parry on 85 minutes, but he could not get a clean touch on it. Moments later, Pat Jones shot wide across goal after a direct run.
It was Williams who crossed again on 90 minutes, but Bickerstaff’s near-post effort deflected wide and – from the resultant short corner – Cleworth’s shot was saved.
Wrexham stood firm, however, holding on to ensure they did not rue their missed chances as they started the season with three points.
Wrexham: (4-1-4-1): Ben Tinkley, Jamie Nash, Max Cleworth, Bobby Beaumont, Cian Williams, Matty Jones, Kyle Robinson-Murray (Sam Williams 67), Osian Hughes (Jac Humphreys 17), Pat Jones (Ryan Austin 88), Callum, Huxley (Lewis Parry 62), Jake Bickerstaff.
Subs not used: Billy Nichols.
City of Liverpool: (4-3-3): Weissenberger, Griffiths (Wynne 45), Grace, Hesketh, Partington, Amankwah, Courtney (Bahula 66), Speed, Olly, Magee, Mason.
Subs not used: Mullaney.