Weymouth 1 Wrexham 3
DEAN Saunders wrote his name into the record books on Saturday as he celebrated his fifth straight league success since taking over the Dragons hotseat.
A sublime strike from debutant Nathan Woolfe and late goals from on-fire front men Jefferson Louis and Marc Williams ensured the rookie has now made the best start to a managerial reign in the club’s 136-year history.
And, more importantly, it kept the pressure firmly on the Blue Square Premier pacesetters as Saunders attempts to lead Wrexham immediately back into the Football League in what is his first shot at being a boss.
The visitors endured a gruelling seven-and-a-half-hour journey to Dorset the night before the match, but Saunders said after it: “It was a bit of a nightmare trip but the win and the record will ensure we will have a laugh on the way home.
“The players deserve the credit because they’re the ones that have won the games for the club. But we can’t get too carried away.
“My goal here is to get Wrexham back into the Football League because that is where a club with our heritage and standing belongs. And I won’t rest easy until we’re back there.”
A predatory striker in his playing days, Saunders is proving to be just as ruthless as a number one as, for the fifth time in his eight-game tenure, he changed a winning team.
In came fit-again left-back Carl Tremarco, suspension-free right-winger Wes Baynes and two of the three signings that arrived on the eve of the match, young midfielders Woolfe and Nathan Fairhurst.
And it was Woolfe, who like Preston North End’s Fairhurst was making the first start of his senior career, who broke the deadlock in the 15th minute with a moment of class in an otherwise forgettable first half.
After Baynes was brought down on the right side of the box, the Bolton Wanderers starlet curled a sumptuous left-footed free kick into the top corner.
That was the last thing troubled Weymouth needed after a week in which manager John Hollins was suspended for an alleged breach of contract. They survived until half-time, however, and came flying out of the traps after the break, with Ryan Williams firing just wide.
But with Ashley Westwood, captain in the absence of Neil Taylor, and Mike Williams once again solid at the heart of the defence, chances were few and far between for the hosts, despite their dominance, and Baynes nearly doubled the advantage when his rising 20-yard drive cracked the bar.
But, after Gavin Ward did well to deny Chris McPhee at the other end, top-scorer Louis killed the contest in the 83rd minute when he raced on to a long clearance and, against his former club, delicately lobbed in his 10th of the season.
Marc Williams got in on the act a minute later as he burst through to slot in his seventh of the campaign, six of which have come under Saunders, who was unable to include new Cameroon striker Patrick Suffo through red tape.
But it was Weymouth who had the final say in injury-time as Stuart Beavon took advantage of a wayward pass from the otherwise excellent Westwood to hammer home.