Bath City 0-2 Wrexham FC

Reporter:

Rich Williams

DEAN SAUNDERS picked up a much needed victory in his 100th competitive game in charge of Wrexham against Bath City.

Goals from Andy Morrell and Christian Smith secured a second victory of the season at Twerton Park as Saunders notched up a century of games in charge of the Reds on a high note.

Morrell, who was a constant threat throughout and worked tirelessly, netted the 99th league goal of his career while leading marksman Smith took his tally for the season to three goals - the same amount he scored throughout the whole of the previous campaign.

Although Wrexham produced an improved performance in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Barrow, it meant they had gone four games without a win, taking two points from a possible 12.

Under-fire Saunders has come in for renewed criticism from supporters after seeing Wrexham slip to 20th in the Conference table ahead of the trip to Bath following their poor sequence of results.

Wrexham needed to get back on track after their poor start to the season and they secured a first away win of the season in convincing fashion.

The Reds were on top throughout, enjoying the majority of possession and creating a number of decent scoring chances.

The most pleasing thing was seeing Wrexham go on and score a crucial second goal to kill the game off after dominating.

At 1-0, Wrexham were still not comfortable as Bath had not thrown in the towel despite their defence being put under the cosh for large periods.

The second goal finally put the game beyond Bath as Wrexham savoured victory for the first time since the opening day success over Cambridge United, and it could have been by a bigger margin.

Wrexham, who dominated the midfield battles, were well worth the three points which will lift some of the pressure on Saunders.

After seeing Wrexham fail to beat sides expected to struggle this season, supporters can be forgiven for thinking the Reds would not be able to sustain a promotion challenge.

Whether they are able to do that remains to be seen, but Wrexham's position looks a lot better after sinking Bath.

There is still work to be done but at least Wrexham go into Sunday's Welsh derby at Newport County unbeaten in three matches.

Saunders made three changes from the side that drew against Barrow in the previous outing.

Right-back Curtis Obeng was drafted in for his first appearance of the season in place of Declan Walker, while Christian Smith was recalled to the midfield in place of David Brown who dropped to the substitutes bench.

The other change saw Kevin Gall handed a first start of the season in place of the injured Andy Mangan, with Saunders keeping faith with a 4-3-3 formation.

Both sides got into promising positions during an open start to proceedings.

Jay Harris latched onto Smith's header forward after eight minutes but his shot was easily saved by keeper Ryan Robinson.

Bath's response was immediate as Sido Jombati and Lee Phillips presented Hector Mackie with a scoring opportunity but his effort was cleared off the line by Neil Ashton, while Adam Connolly's low drive fell wide of the post as the home side kept pressing.

Back came Wrexham and Marvin Andrews' volley from Dean Keates' corner was cleared from under the bar, and Ashton's throw-in fell nicely for a well placed Gall but his 16th minute shot from inside the area was deflected wide of the target off Jombati for a corner, with appeals for handball turned down.

Mackie also fired wide but it was Wrexham who opened the scoring in the 28th minute.

Obeng delivered a long throw-in and Morrell rose unchallenged to head past Robinson from six yards.

Morrell also volleyed wide from Gall's centre as Wrexham continued to threaten but despite dominating the opening period, they had to be content with just the one goal lead at the break.

Although Bath had failed to threaten a goal after going behind, they came close to equalising two minutes after the re-start when Mackie crossed from the right flank for Lee Phillips whose close range shot was brilliantly saved by Scott Shearer.

After weathering that early second half pressure, Wrexham were soon back on top and they scored a second goal in the 57th minute following a foul on the lively Morrell who chased down a ball which looked a lost cause.

Keates delivered the free-kick from the left-flank and Smith found the back of the net with a free header from eight yards.

Determined to kill the game off, Wrexham continued to probe and another Smith header from Keates free-kick was heading towards goal but struck team-mate Nat Knight-Percival.

Wrexham were bossing the game and Knight-Percival scuffed his shot with just keeper Robinson to beat after he was put through on goal by Harris.

Adrian Cieslewicz replaced Gall in the 71st minute and he soon played in Harris whose driven cross was almost turned across the line from close range by Knight-Percival.

But Bath substitute Jake Reid was left unmarked at the other end and he somehow failed to hit the target with a close range header from Phillips' centre.

Jamie Tolley replaced Andrews with ten minutes remaining, meaning Smith switched to the centre of defence, while Gareth Taylor was also brought on for the injured Cieslewicz four minutes later.

Bath hadn't given up and Shearer did well to save Danny Webb's close range shot while Taylor was unable to keep his header down at the other end.

But there was no way back for Bath as Wrexham ran out convincing winners.

See full story in the Leader

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