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The Bank Holiday game against Rochdale was a horror show from first minute

The Bank Holiday game against Rochdale was a horror show from first minute to last.

Granted, Steve Thomas scored a nice goal and Andy Morrell netted with a spectacular Van Basten-like volley, but these were the only glimmers of light on a very dark day.

The fixture produced so much controversy and incident that I almost lost track of the score at one point. It was that kind of game.

Unfortunately, the man of the match was the man in black. Late in the game when the Kop sang, "5-2 TO THE REFEREE", they weren't too far away from the truth.

I don't know if Mr P Rejer from Worcestershire has booked his holidays yet, but if I was him, I'd stay well clear of North Wales. He made a series of extraordinary decisions during the first half, and the two penalties he awarded to the away team were almost impossible to comprehend.

But that said, manager Smith, and Reds fans more generally, would be kidding themselves if they blamed the match officials, exclusively, for the horrendous result. In my view there were guilty parties all over the pitch.

At the back Dibble was to blame for at least one of the first-half goals and looked uncertain throughout. The new keeper has had an excellent start to the season, but the honeymoon period is now officially over. With tongue firmly in cheek, the travelling supporters chanted, 'THERE'S ONLY ONE ANDY DIBBLE'.

The Dragons had conceded just two goals before the Rochdale catastrophe, but you wouldn't have known it from the way the centre-halves and wing-backs measured up. At times, the defending was just plain comical.

Shaun Pejic received a Wales under-21 call-up last week, but against Dale he looked tentative and vulnerable. Even skipper Lawrence - Wrexham's very own Renaissance Man - had a poor game. Just before half-time he hit a tame back pass that almost gifted the Mancunians another easy goal.

There were also problems further upfield. The midfield lacked creativity and the approach play, in general terms, was of an embarrassingly low standard.

To cap it all, the strikeforce - if the term doesn't flatter Messrs Trundle, Morrell and Sam - was almost totally non-existent.

Star man Trundle was the worst offender. In his first months at the Racecourse, the Scouse centre-forward was viewed by some as a living deity - such was his outrageous skill and goal-getting record.

It could be argued that since then he has evolved into a fairly ordinary lower-divisions striker, and on Saturday he looked even less than that. His passing and link-up play was shoddy and he engineered little of any real substance in the opposition penalty box. But it would be unfair to blame Trundle alone - Morrell and Sam also lacked poise and potency.

Ahead of the Rochdale game, all the talk was of Wrexham claiming the three points and going top of the league. Such thoughts were premature in the extreme.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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