Dean Keates encouraged despite Wrexham defeat to Gateshead


Richard Williams

DEAN KEATES believes Wrexham gave a good account of themselves against in-form Gateshead but weren’t clinical enough in front of goal.

Wrexham, on a good run after losing just once in nine outings, lost 2-0 as the Heed registered a sixth win in a row to move into the play-offs.

There was little between the sides in the first half but Gateshead took a 53rd minute lead and with Wrexham pushing for an equaliser, the visitors grabbed a second goal late on.

Keates was pleased with the performance but admits Wrexham paid the price for failing to take their chances.

“We are at home and it is disappointing that we have dropped points and had a defeat,” said Keates.

“Overall it wasn’t that bad a performance. You take the second goal out of the equation.

“It was a good chance it could have happened. You are gambling, you are going forward and there is a good chance you are going to get caught on the break.

“First goal, take your hat off to the kid, it is a great finish. But for long periods in the game we were in control and looked more capable.

“We were just not clinical around their box.”

Wrexham twice came close to an equaliser through sub George Harry, but Gateshead countered and killed the game off in the fourth minute of injury time.

“You are going to leave yourself open,” said Keates. “But 1-0 down at home, you want to get something out of the game.

“That was always going to be the case. There was a minute left, there was a chance we were going to get caught on the break.

“I don’t think it was a 2-0 game.”

Scholar Harry came on for just a second sub appearance in the first team and the 18-year-old had a goalbound effort blocked by ex-Reds defender Manny Smith before hitting the bar with a header prior to Gateshead netting their second goal.

“George has given me something to think about,” said Keates. “We have been waiting for the opportunity to get him in.

“The younger lads are going to get a chance now over the next nine games.

“He has come on, done no harm and on another day his header drops in, it is 1-1 and he’s had a dream first goal.

“He has picked up minutes already, Manny has pulled a great block out about two yards off the line so there is a possibility that could have gone in.

“We weren’t clinical and we’re disappointed with the result.”

Defender Smith, surprisingly released by former Wrexham boss Gary Mills last summer after two seasons at The Racecourse, was delighted with the reception he received from Reds fans.

“It was a good result for us and it was good to be back,” said Smith, who was named player of the year in the 2014-15 season after starting all 61 league and cup games.
“I got a great reception off everyone which was very nice.

“It can go one or two ways but it was good to get the reception that I did.

“I appreciate it and nothing but thanks to everyone who showed me some respect, it is good to be noticed.”

But Smith was delighted to leave with three points.

“The main thing was to come here and carry on our winning streak, and try and get a clean sheet to sneak into the play-offs which we managed to do,” said Smith.

“We have earned the right to be there now, we have just got to take each game as it comes.”

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