MATCHWINNER Andy Morrell could not hide his delight after registering his first goal since joining Wrexham for the second time in his career.
The 35-year-old striker, who turned down the offer of a new contract at League Two outfit Bury in favour of returning to The Racecourse, scored the only goal as Wrexham defeated Cambridge United 1-0 on the opening day of the new Conference campaign.
And although he failed to find the back of the net in pre-season, Morrell admitted he was not concerned but did hope to mark his second Wrexham ‘debut’ with a goal.
“I am absolutely delighted to score,” he said. “I was thinking about it last night lying in bed, can I score a goal, I did and it was the winner. It feels great and the team was really pleased.
“To be fair I have never really did great in pre-season, it is just all about fitness and that’s what I try and work on. Hopefully the goals will come.”
Morrell, who scored 34 league goals during Wrexham’s 2002-03 promotion campaign, was asked if scoring was a weight off his shoulders.
“Not really – I just want the win and I don’t care who scores,” he said. “If I can help and contribute then that is my job done so I am delighted.
“I have not got a target for the season but I am top goalscorer now!”
Morrell, who went on to play for Coventry and Blackpool after leaving Wrexham, believes his game has improved since his first spell with the Reds: “Scoring 30-odd goals a season doesn’t happen very often and I haven’t done it since, never mind playing at a high level,” he said.
“But I have scored goals wherever I have been and my aim is to get in there and try and score as many as I can, and set up as many as I can.
“I am a better player than I was last time I was here I feel, maybe not quite as fit and quick. But I am a better all-round player and hopefully I can add to the team.”
Morrell believes he and his team-mates will benefit from the creativeness in the Wrexham side.
“The midfielders’ first thought is to look forward and see if we can play a pass and that is great for a striker because you know it is coming,” said Morrell.
“It looks like we are going to create some chances so hopefully we will get a few goals between us.”
Morrell is one of 11 summer signings made by manager Dean Saunders and believes the added experience will stand Wrexham in good stead.
“I think the gaffer has made the average age a little bit higher than it was last year and there are a few old heads who have been there and done it, and know what it takes to win promotion,” said Morrell.
“We are delighted and hopefully we can maintain that now. We have got a good, close knit squad – not massive but there is people fighting for places and if you are not doing it you won’t play so that is how it should be.”
While he received the plaudits for scoring what turned out to be the winning goal, Morrell was full of praise for the way his team-mates dug in to deny Cambridge an equaliser as they put the pressure on Wrexham in the second half.
“We have played with a few different formations and it seemed to work today,” said Morrell. “We did okay.
“Cambridge are a good side, we did not get the chance to play and pass like we would like to but when you have got Andy Mangan in the team, his pace, that outlet is fantastic.
“We utilised that and could have had a couple of penalties as well.
“The defence was smashing, they headed and blocked everything when they needed to. We rode our luck a little bit, but you have got to in this league.”
Wrexham now turn their attention to tomorrow night’s clash against Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn.
“We were thinking if we get a win, the pressure is off and we can push on then,” added Morrell.
“The games come thick and fast. We have got seven in 16 days or something stupid so we move on to the next one straight away.”
Delighted with the pass from Dean Keates that put Morrell though for his goal, Saunders said: “When Dean Keates came in from the right and threaded Andy through, we have not seen that since that at the club since I have been here.
“That type of pass where you say ‘go on, go and score that’.
“There are lots of decisions being asked out there from experienced players.”