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WREXHAM 0, Everton 3. For what it is worth, the scoreline hardly reflected the reality of the match.

WREXHAM 0, Everton 3. For what it is worth, the scoreline hardly reflected the reality of the match.

For 70 minutes, neither goalkeeper had anything to do. Of course Whitfield had to pick the ball out of his net in the 25th minute, but apart from this, he was a spectator just like the rest of us.

The Toffees' two late strikes emphasised their quality in front of goal, but most neutral observers would probably have agreed on 1-1 as a more appropriate final scoreline. And given the excellent late efforts on goal from Carlos Edwards and Trundle, it almost turned out that way.

I was interested in the performance of several Reds players on the big stage. Keeper Whitfield was thrust into the limelight and he looked entirely competent in his kicking, throwing and all-round glove work. If Andy Dibble's coaching sessions have helped to increase the youngster's confidence and composure, it is all power to the ex-Stockport man.

On Tuesday night I overheard many fans raving about the display of veteran Carey. After weeks out of action, he rose to the occasion magnificently against a quicksilver opposition frontline. However well the Roberts-Pejic-Bennett combination has been performing - and it has been gaining plaudits from everyone - it is reassuring to know that seasoned defenders like Carey, and Lawrence, are waiting in the wings to deputise.

I have also become intrigued by the 2002-3 performances of utility man Whitley. The ex-Man City performer ran away with the player of the year award last season, but on the evidence of the past couple of months, I doubt very much whether he will be in contention this time around.

Playing at right-back in the second division, he seemed to know exactly what his job was, and executed it with skill. In defence he tackled hard, but also exhibited great poise and touch on the ball. However, playing as a midfielder in the third division, and against Everton, the man from Zambia has looked slightly lost. His passing seems to have declined in quality, and on occasions his positional play also looks slightly awry. Overall, I would argue that he has yet to find his feet in the centre of the park.

Is Whitley more at home at right-back or is he having trouble adapting to the new 3-5-2 formation? All I know is that, compared to last season, he is now a far less influential figure than he was.

Wrexham might have exited the Worthington Cup on Tuesday night, but it was fantastic nevertheless to witness a near-capacity crowd at the Racecourse.

It was also very good to see Denis Smith receive his manager of the month award for September. Let's hope the curse of the trophy does not afflict the Dragons' league performances in October - the games that really matter.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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