DEAN SAUNDERS was delighted Wrexham got the rub of the green and took three points from their clash against Darlington.
Wrexham secured a 1-0 victory thanks to a real smash and grab act as an 87th minute goal from Nat Knight-Percival, who scored for the third successive match, sealed the three points.
With Darlington going close on a number of occasions, Wrexham were made to work hard for their second away win of the season which leaves them eighth in the Conference table, just three points away from the play-offs.
And Saunders, whose side’s eight-game unbeaten run came to an end with the midweek defeat at Grimsby, was pleased to see his side grind out the result following that late sucker punch.
“We could have won the Grimsby game if we had scored first, Andy Morrell had a chance in the first five minutes,” said Saunders.
“But we scored the first goal today and ended up winning the game.
“When they are putting balls in our box at the end there, if your luck’s not in it drops to one of them and you lose the lead again, and end up drawing.
“At Newport it dropped to one of them, Chris Blackburn slipped.
“There are fine lines between picking the points up. To get out of this league everything has got to go for you, including the ridiculous refereeing decisions you get.
“But it was a great three points away from home.
“We ground a result out and it was a tough game but I have to say that the spirit and the way we defended when we had to was great.”
Saunders did not think Wrexham were going to score after numerous second half chances went begging before Knight-Percival found the back of the net with a glancing header from Curtis Obeng’s cross.
“Jamie Tolley missed a chance, Knight-Percival headed a corner over the bar from two yards out, Dean Keates hit one over the bar from six yards – and Gareth Taylor got a toe-poke when he went in with goalkeeper Sam Russell,” said Saunders. “I didn’t think we were going to score.
“But it is the same two players again. Obeng has crossed it in and it was a brilliant header from Knight-Percival.
“I thought it was going to be 0-0 but they could have won 1-0 easily.”
And Saunders praised the contribution of centre-back pairing Marvin Andrews and Frank Sinclair for keeping Darlington at bay: “I thought those two were brilliant in the last 15 minutes, just heading the ball out of the box,” he said.
“There were a few little mishaps between them but in the main the back four did well. Curtis Obeng got forward at times when he had to and Neil Ashton made a great header at the end where he got in front of the lad.
“That’s the spirit you need. All of them want to win, you must have heard them when they went back into the dressing room, they are all up for it.”
Darlington had the best chance to take the lead in the opening period following a slip by Marvin Andrews, but keeper Chris Maxwell made an excellent double save to deny Danny Powell and Liam Hatch.
And Saunders said: “It was our own suicide squad again. We tried to pass the ball across the back and you can only do what the other team lets you do.
“To be fair to Darlington, they worked really hard. The front three pressurised us and never gave us a minutes peace.
“If you have got three players up against you, you can’t play football across the back, you can only do what the other team allows you to do.
“We sorted that out half-time. got it forward a bit quicker and did not take as many risks.
“We got away with it first half some of the mistakes we made on the ball.
“Second half it wasn’t pretty but we ground the game out.”
Darlington also had claims for a penalty turned down after claiming Frank Sinclair pulled down Powell.
And Saunders admitted it may well have been a penalty: “From where I was stood I didn’t have a clear view of it and I don’t know if he was in the box even – but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a penalty,” he said.
“But we have not had them this season when we have been on the end of some unbelievable decisions.
“We lost the game at Grimsby when the lad was stood six yards offside and the lineman never put his flag up.”
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