Hayes and Yeading 0-3 Wrexham FC

Reporter:

Richard Williams

WREXHAM finally came alive in the second half at Church Road to overcome Hayes and Yeading 3-0 on Saturday.

There was little to talk about in a scrappy first period that lacked goalmouth action.

Neither side troubled their opponents’ goal or looked like scoring as only a couple of half chances were created.

And when Wrexham did get into some good positions they lacked quality with the final ball into the box.

But the Reds showed great character to grind out a result after the break as they ran out deserved winners.

The first goal arrived on the hour mark and although Hayes and Yeading never gave up, Wrexham kept pressing in an attempt to add to their tally and kill the game off.

With Hayes pushing for an equaliser, they left gaps at the back and Wrexham made it 2-0 with five minutes remaining, while a third goal arrived in stoppage time to seal a welcome victory – a first in three matches.

Although it was not a great performance, Wrexham will have to dig in at places like Hayes and Yeading to make sure they get a result, and they did just that.
It was a dogged display and in the end the result is all that counts.

Wrexham produced arguably their best performance of the season in the previous outing against AFC Wimbledon but ended up losing 2-1 after failing to take their chances.

Dean Saunders’ side never played anywhere as well as that on Saturday against a Hayes and Yeading side that also had a few chances in a much-improved second half to trouble the scoreline.

But Wrexham were able to go on and secure a win while playing nowhere near their best and that bodes well for the rest of the campaign.

Victory means Wrexham have moved up to eighth position in the Conference table, still three points away from the play-offs.

While not yet in the top-five, it was important Wrexham got back on track after suffering the disappointment of not even getting a point against Wimbledon.

They did not want to fall further behind the pacesetters and remain in touch with the likes of Fleetwood and Luton.

The Reds take a break from league action when they entertain Southport in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round, but when they return to Conference action in just under a fortnight they will be looking to sustain their promotion bid with three points at Histon.

Saunders named the same side that started the defeat against AFC Wimbledon the previous weekend.

The only change to the squad was on the substitutes’ bench where the fit again winger Nat Knight-Percival took over from goalkeeper Scott Shearer.

It was Hayes who had the first effort on goal in the eighth minute when midfielder Jamie Hand volleyed over the bar from the edge of the area following a corner.

Just three minutes later came Wrexham’s first opening when Andy Morrell latched onto a Jay Harris pass but the striker was denied by advancing keeper Josh Lennie and the ball went out for a corner.

Chris Backburn also saw a long range drive sail wide of the target but Hayes began to come more into the game and Wrexham were given a warning as Lee Brown’s dangerous low drive across the six yard box only just evaded two team-mates.

Back came Wrexham as Morrell raced into the area in the 24th minute and only an excellent block by Adam Bygrave prevented the striker from testing Lennie.

Hayes did not lack confidence and continued to press at every opportunity, keeping the Reds’ defence on its toes.

Neil Ashton headed over the bar for Wrexham following Curtis Obeng’s long throw-in, while Gareth Taylor fed Andy Mangan who decided to roll the ball across the six yard box instead of going for goal and a team-mate was unable to capitalise.

It was no surprise it remained goalless at the break, but within three minutes of the restart Hayes brought a first save out of Chris Maxwell when Bradley Pritchard laid the ball off for Andy Yiadom who was thwarted by the Reds’ keeper.

But Wrexham went on to make the breakthrough after creating their best chance of the game on the hour mark.

Mangan got the better of Lewis Ferrell after being played in by Taylor down the left flank and his cross from the by-line was converted by Harris from six yards.

Wrexham continued to probe without really threatening a second goal but Hayes did not let their heads drop and kept going.

Saunders made his first change on 78 minutes as Adrian Cieslewicz replaced Morrell, but he almost witnessed a Hayes equaliser as substitute Elliott Buchanan’s volley only just cleared Maxwell’s crossbar.

Michael Malcolm also fired wide as Hayes pushed forward but it meant they left gaps at the back, and Wrexham took advantage by making it 2-0 with five minutes remaining.

Taylor ran on to a long ball forward and only had Lennie to beat but he unselfishly squared the ball for Cieslewicz who found the back of an empty net to convert his first Wrexham goal just seven minutes after coming on.

Wrexham pushed for a third goal and Taylor’s drive from Dean Keates’ free-kick was blocked on the line by Lennie.

But a third goal arrived in the third minute of injury time.

Cieslewicz latched onto fellow substitute Knight-Percival’s pass and laid the ball off for Taylor who fired past Lennie from 20 yards.

It was not an easy game but Wrexham will be delighted to have emerged with three goals and the victory.

HAYES AND YEADING (4-3-3): Lennie 6; Ferrell 6, Cadmore 7, Bygrave 7, Brown 6; Holmes 6, Hand 7 (Appiah 86), Pritchard 7; Yiadom 6 (Buchanan 67), Patulea 6 (Enver-Marum 60), Malcolm 7. Subs not used: Harrison, Deen.

WREXHAM (4-3-3): Maxwell 7; Obeng 7, Andrews 8, Sinclair 7, Ashton 7; Harris 7, Blackburn 7, Keates 7; Morrell 7 (Cieslewicz 78), Taylor 7, Mangan 7(Knight-Percival 84). Subs not used: Brown, Tolley, Pogba.

Referee: Simon Long.

Attendance: 417.

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