Words by Brian Flynn
It was déjà vu for Altrincham as Wrexham inflicted the same score line as last season, whilst the Robins were left to reflect on a promising opening half hour that was undone by two goals in as many minutes from the Dragons’ deadly striking duo, Paul Mullin and Ollie Palmer, both into double figures in terms of National League goals for the season.
Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel’s team had the better of the first third of the game, without really testing Mark Howard in the home goal, before a quite stunning overhead kick from Mullin and a tidy finish from Palmer turned the match on its head, as the Robins once again continued the frustrating habit of conceding two goals in very quick succession.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with the men in blue having plenty of possession in the opening twenty minutes, without being allowed to seriously threaten by a resolute, disciplined and well-organised display from Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin’s side, who were impressive throughout and on the evidence of this game looked more likely title winners than Notts County, Chesterfield or Solihull Moors.
A fine move down the left in the sixty sixth minute ended with Palmer turning smartly from a neat McFadzean feed, to score his second and the North Walians third from about 12 yards, with Ollie Byrne only able to push the ball into the bottom corner.
The sweetest move of the game produced the final goal, Luke Young and James Jones each involved twice before Jones slotted home with a well-placed diagonal low shot.
Oddly enough, Howard was the busier keeper, making two good saves to deny Chris Conn-Clarke and holding on to Marcus Dinanga’s well-struck effort from just outside the area.
Ryan Colclough was always a threat and at 2-0 set up a great chance for Elliot Osbourne, who miscued from ten yards.
Last season’s Easter Monday clash was the first to break the ten thousand threshold at The Racecouse and there was a season high again, with 10,107 in attendance, just 323 less than saw Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League victory at Bournemouth!
Whilst the score-line was the same as on Easter Monday, the performance was much stronger in all areas of the pitch, but the simple facts are that there is night and day between the two clubs and we can console ourselves that it will be a long time before we face such a challenging fixture.
- Mark Howard, 5. Aaron Hayden, 4. Ben Tozer, 6. Jordan Tunnicliffe, 7. Jordan Davies (22. Tom O'Connor (69'), 3. Callum McFadzean, 14. Anthony Forde 30. James Jones, 8. Luke Young (c), 10. Paul Mullin (38. Elliot Lee (76'), 9. Ollie Palmer (18. Sam Dalby (81')
Subs: 31. Rory Watson (gk), 17. Bryce Hosannah
- Oliver Byrne, 22. Ross Barrows, 23. Jake Cooper, 26. James Jones, 2. Eddy Jones, 10. Elliot Osborne, 8. Josh Lundstram, 31. Dan Malone (33. Egli Kaja (75'), 11. Ryan Colclough (c), 16. Chris Conn-Clarke (18. Ben Pringle (77'), 30. Marcus Dinanga (9. Jordan Hulme (69')
Subs: 21. Matt Gould, 17. Brad Jackson