KEATES HAS DRAG­ONS BREATH­ING NEW FIRE

The Non-League Football Paper - - VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE - By Mark Cur­rie

WREX­HAM came from be­hind to notch a vi­tal three points in Satur­day’s tele­vised Race­course en­counter with Eastleigh.

The Drag­ons trailed at the break but de­liv­ered a fine sec­ond half per­for­mance that earned the praise of their man­ager Dean Keates.

Ad­mit­ting that the first half was some­thing a damp squib, he said: “We needed to be brighter and sharper and when we did cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties, no-one wanted to take a shot and de­cided in­stead to go for the pass.

“In the sec­ond half the play­ers showed a bit of char­ac­ter and proved they are a good team. In the first half the ur­gency and the tempo just wasn’t there, but they were on the front foot af­ter the break.”

The early pres­sure came from the vis­i­tors with Ben Wil­liamson bring­ing a fine save at the ex­pense of a cor­ner from Luke Cod­ding­ton af­ter only four min­utes be­fore Craig McAl­lis­ter fired wide from a promis­ing po­si­tion.

But when the home side hit back through Paul Ruther­ford his cross was met by Mar­cus Kelly, whose low drive re­bounded off the foot of a post with keeper Ross Fl­it­ney beaten.

Un­for­tu­nately much of the re­main­der of the first half was a litany of hefty, mind­less clear­ances, poor pass­ing and medi­ocrity in abun­dance and things took a turn for the worse when the vis­i­tors some­how manged to break the dead­lock a minute be­fore the break, Wil­liamson con­vert­ing Gary McSh­ef­frey’s low cross at the near post. Wrex­ham’s re­vival owed much to the in­tro­duc­tion of sub­sti­tute Jack Mack­reth on 57 min­utes – the tricky winger al­most im­me­di­ately set­ting up Scott Bo­den for a shot that was de­flected be­hind for a cor­ner. The equaliser came in the 73rd minute thanks to skip­per Shaun Pear­son, who headed home Mar­cus Kelly’s cor­ner to regis­ter his first goal of the cam­paign. Bet­ter was to come as the Drag­ons pressed again and Chris Hol­royd typ­i­fied the new –found spirit with a fine chal­lenge to win the ball be­fore driv­ing a de­flected shot past Fl­it­ney and into the net. Spit­fires’ boss Richard Hill was not happy with the out­come, say­ing: “We were not good enough in the sec­ond half, it’s as sim­ple as that. “We knew Wrex­ham would come at us af­ter the break and we didn’t do our jobs.”

PIC­TURE: Alun Roberts

THAT WILL DO NICELY: Chris Hol­royd smashes home Wrex­ham’s win­ner af­ter the Welsh side had fallen be­hind

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