Altrincham 1 Wrexham 1
THE Dragons are still searching for the first away win of the campaign after having to settle for a share of the spoils from a scrappy encounter that served as another reminder of the harsh realities of the Blue Square Premier, writes Paul Wheelock.
After the free-flowing football that characterised the home victory over Oxford, Brian Little’s side were made to battle for every ball on Bank Holiday Monday by a limited, but extremely hard-working Alty team who were clearly determined to claim the scalp of the division’s big guns.
The visitors matched their part-time hosts for effort and fought back from Chris Senior’s early strike through Jefferson Louis’ third goal of the term.
But effort alone is not enough and, as a frustrated Little conceded, too many players failed to match their performance of four nights earlier to warrant a first victory on the road.
The Wrexham boss, who kept his players in the dressing room for half-an-hour after the final whistle, said: “There’s no denying it wasn’t a good performance. We started poorly and gave a bad goal away.
“Everybody was trying out there but, for me, there was only Tom Kearney really playing. He was the only one who put his foot on the ball and tried to pass it around.
“I can’t explain why we were so poor but we still had a few chances from which we could have won the game and perhaps we should have done.”
Little, who named an unchanged XI to the one that had swept aside the U’s, would have been fuming at the way Altrincham – looking for their first win at Moss Lane – were handed the initiative.
Roared on by a travelling support that made up more than half of the 2,619 crowd, the Dragons started at a high tempo and nearly went ahead in the very first minute when Sam Aiston’s left-wing cross was turned just past his own post by Warren Peyton.
But they shot themselves in the foot four minutes later when they failed to clear a cross, allowing Anthony Danylyk to get in a shot that was going wide until the unmarked Senior headed it past the stranded Gavin Ward.
After Stuart Coburn turned over Kyle Critchell’s 25-yard drive, Wrexham should have levelled when the otherwise out-of-sorts Aiston – who was replaced at half-time by Simon Brown – powered through midfield and played in Louis, whose first-time effort sailed horribly over.
But the big striker redeemed himself in the 38th minute when he headed in a free kick delivered by the sweet right foot of captain Kearney.
Louis was denied a second by a superb saving block from Peyton before Alty – for whom former Racecourse favourite Marc McGregor impressed at the back – went close through Colin Little.
But the best chance of the second half came when Louis headed Carl Tremarco’s cross into the path of strike-partner Shaun Whalley, who, with the goal at his mercy, fluffed his half-volley.