Forest Green Rovers 2 Wrexham 3
THE Dragons twice came from behind to snatch a last-gasp victory in rain-swept Glou- cestershire on Saturday to ensure Dean Saunders’ reign got off to a thrilling start.
Jefferson Louis denied Marc Williams the first hat-trick of his senior career when he turned in his strike partner’s goal-bound effort in injury time to kill off a Forest Green side that looked set to end their six-match winless run.
Rookie Saunders, who became Wrexham’s fourth boss in 22 months when he was named as Brian Little’s successor last Thursday, said: “After a few minutes of management I was thinking what’s all this about? We gave a terrible goal away but to come from behind twice and win, especially in those conditions, made me very proud.
“If we’d got beat today then I could not have asked for any more in terms of effort or how we tried to play.”
The legendary Wales striker must have had second thoughts about taking his first steps into management when his new charges fell behind for the ninth Blue Square Premier match in succession.
There was just four minutes on the clock when Mike Symonds won an aerial challenge with Nat Brown before playing a ball over the top for Andrew Mangan, who took full advantage of Steve Evans’ hesitancy and goalkeeper Gavin Ward’s decision to race from his line.
But the Dragons, after going close through Shaun Whalley, equalised in the 29th minute when Louis laid off for left-winger Neil Taylor – recalled along with Evans, Wes Baynes, the impressive Andy Fleming and Louis – to deliver a peach of a cross that was brilliantly headed home by Williams.
Saunders’ side always looked susceptible to balls through the middle, though, and had Ward not made a super save Mangan would have had his second.
That duly arrived seven minutes after the restart, however, when the Liverpudlian curled in from the edge of the area after Louis shot just wide from distance.
But back came Wrexham – for whom Simon Spender and Carl Tremarco missed out through injury and for whom Darran Kempson, Christian Smith and Simon Brown were dropped – in the 65th minute when man-of-the- match Williams latched on to Louis’ knockdown to coolly slot in his third of the campaign.
And there was better to come when substitute Michael Proctor cleverly played in Williams, whose cross-shot was finished off by top- scorer Louis for his eighth of the season, despite protests for offside by his former club.
Saunders said: “Thierry Henry would have been proud of Marc’s first goal. It was a great cross from Neil and a great header from Marc. It wouldn’t have looked out of place on Match of the Day tonight.
“His second goal was a great goal, too, before the big fella went and robbed his hat-trick off him!”