Nov 9 Wrexham 3-2 AFC Bournemouth Att: 3105

Last updated : 29 November 2002 By Phil Nesbitt
Whatever, we suspected that we would be frustrated by the away tactics.

Our usual cautious away line up was cuaght out after just 5 mins when a cross from our left found Trundle unmarked at the far post. One nil down and where was Young? Despite this setback we persisted with playing Hayter behind Fletch in a 4-4-1-1 formation and never obtained any possession to mount a real attack on the Wrexham goal.

About 20 mins in Hayter was pushed up along side Fletch and guess what we suddenly got hold of the ball and stared to play a bit. However, Wrexham were still in it and Moss had to make a fine save from Trundle from a one on one. Hayter was looking linely now up front and he managed to get onto a ball over the top and put the ball across the box out of the 'keepers reach and Thomas unmarked in the middle of the goal 6 yards out managed to get the ball stuck under his feet and ended up sitting on it. As he scrambled to try and put it in 2 defenders and Hayter also had a hack and it somehow ended up in the back of the net with Thomas claiming it though an own goal gets my vote.

Soon after this we reverted to Hayter playing in a withdrawn role and we lost any edge we had. Broadhurst was booked for an untidy challenge and the half ended one apiece.

Hayter was booked immediately after the restart for supposedly hauling back a Wrexham player when he was actually trying to get extricate himself from a position the player so he could get past and unfortunately made contact. It is obvious that some refs have never played football when things like this happen. However, he got his revenge 9 minutes later. Fletch and his marker made a mess of a lofted ball and it screwed away from them. Fletch reacted quicker (!) and sprinted (comparatively) onto the lose ball and cut it back to Hayter who took a couple of touches and sent a screamer from 20 odd yards passed a helpless Whitfield onto the inside of the 'keepers left hand post and into the net on the other side of the goal. We were not sure that it had gone in due to James' usual understated celebration but the reaction of the other players soon changed this!!

Wrexham soon made 2 changes and Sam and Paul Edwards came on for Thomas and Holmes (not Deadly). They were now in effect playing with 2 wingers and 3 up front and we sat back in almost panic. We responded in the 68th min by replacing our Thomas with Ridgewell who went to left back with Purches moving slighty forward. In the 69th min a cross from Carlos Edwards, who had been causing Purches problems all match, was put in at the near post by Morrell who made a well timed run across Carl Fletcher. Ridgewell had made a good start allowing this cross! The match now opened up and sporadic moments of good football (usually involving O'Connor and Hayter) were more than matched by the Wrexham attacks. Moss had to make several good saves from one on ones and Broadhurst made a superb last ditch tacle on Sam to prevent another shot at Moss.

Surprisingly for this season we went for it with 9 mins to go and brought Feeney on for Elliott. Why he went to play wide right and not Hayter is beyond me but 4 mins later the speedy Edwards went down our right and Young showed him inside expecting the cover Elliott usually provides. Feeney was in attendance but is no defender and was poorly positioned. Edwards screamed inside and beat oss from a narrow anlge. Moss obbviously was expecting a cross and went down far too early, one of only a couple of blemishes to his performance. Holmes now came on and we went for it with 4 strikers ( Fletch and Holmes included) but made no impression in the little time remaining.

A disappointing result. We are easily good enough, even with our injury problems, to impose ourselves on matches by playing our style of football. The management need to believe this as if we attacked away from home we would scare many a team and whilst we may lose some games we would win many more. Confidence in our ability is required. By defending in this match we played into wrexham's hands as they must have the best attacking options in the division with Trundle, Morrell and Sam and also speedy wingers. They looked far from comfortable when attacked and we should have kept our more attacking formation throughout the game.

Neil Moss. He had far more to do than he should have done and did most of it well. Ridgewell did not look the part today and was done for pace a couple of times. There does not seem to be much point keeping him on loan.

AFCB: Moss, Young C Fletcher Broadhurst Purches, Elliott O'Connor Browning Thomas, Hayter, S Fletcher
Subs: Ridgewell for Thoms 68, Feeney for Elliott 82 and Holmes for Young 87. Unused Tardif and Narada.
Phil Nesbitt, Reading