A MAN-of-the-match display by debutant Joe Allen helped Wrexham to three points over a lacklustre York City at the Racecourse on Tuesday night.
Allen – who signed just hours earlier on a month’s loan from Swansea City – dazzled the visitors with an arsenal of neat touches, energetic running and a display of quality passing before rifling home the opening goal.
A 5,173-strong crowd was there to welcome a new era, led by fledgling boss Dean Saunders, but it was Allen who stole the show and he’s looking forward to putting in more stirring performances over the coming weeks.
“It’s been a busy day, I’ve signed the papers, gone out there and am happy we’ve won,” said Allen, who looks certain to start Wales’ vital under-21 match with England on Friday.
“Back at Swansea there was a lot of competition for places. I really needed to get a game so this is the perfect move for me. I was just happy to be part of the squad and am delighted things have gone so well.”
And what about that goal? A blistering 20-yard drive that gave former Dragons keeper Mike Ingham no chance.
“I’m not really one for scoring goals but I’m happy with that,” said Allen.
“The manager has brought me here and I’m hoping to do well. Dean was a massive player in the game and is still well-renowned and respected.
“To play for him is an honour and a pleasure, this is a great team and I’m pleased to be part of it.
“Wrexham is too big a club to be in the league it’s in when you look at the facilities, the ground and the staff. I want to be part of a winning squad and help them get back up to the Football League where they belong.”
Saunders’ first home game in charge brought triumph and expectation to fans who’ve been given very little to shout about in past seasons. His experience and enthusiasm are already paying dividends, but the assistant Wales boss, who was set to travel to Cardiff after the York victory, says there’s plenty more to come.
With goals coming from the Welsh triumvirate of Allen, new captain Neil Taylor and striker Marc Williams – all of whom have been selected for Friday’s U21 game – he’s building on solid foundations.
“It was a great goal from Joe and Marc score a good one as well – they all worked their socks off,” said Saunders, who has two wins from two matches as Dragons manager.
“Joe showed class and I have to thank Roberto Martinez and the team at Swansea for letting us have him. He’s shown what a top player he is, together with (Andy) Fleming in midfield, who I thought showed plenty of endeavour.
“His showing can only be a good thing and will help other players in training.
“I’m pleased we won and we now have a week of training to sharpen things up. I’m just looking at Crawley – we have to catch them.”
As well as Allen, Saunders plans to bring other players into the squad in the near future.
“What players am I looking at? Well I’ve thought about trying to sign Thierry Henry!” he said.
“There are loads of people I’ve got in mind. I want to bring really good players here who can improve us.
“We need a certain pattern of players. There is no use five of them being on AM and six on FM – they must all be on the same wavelength.
“For now I’m delighted with the result, and the crowd reaction was great. I’m proud to be Welsh and they way my team plays reflects me. The players got me that round of applause – they were superb.”