WREXHAM got back to winning ways in pre-season as they brushed aside Altrincham at Moss Lane.
Goals either side of the break from winger Marcus Kelly and the impressive Chris Holroyd secured a routine victory against Phil Parkinson’s Northern Premier League outfit.
However, the win was marred by a knee injury sustained by captain Shaun Pearson, who looked in some distress and hobbled off down the tunnel late on. Keates will hope his skipper can recover in time for the season opener against Macclesfield Town in 10 days time.
Keates named a near full-strength side with skipper Pearson and Manny Smith paired at centre-back for the first time, Ntumba Massanka missed out with a foot injury while Jack Mackreth continues to recover from a muscle strain.
The Reds began impressively, Holroyd shrugging off Jake Moult and lay off Paul Rutherford down the right flank, whose back post cross was headed behind by Ben Harrison.
Wrexham fans filtering into the sun-kissed ground nearly saw the opener on eight minutes as Holroyd curled a fine effort narrowly wide from 20 yards after Rutherford's cut-back.
John Johnston, who has shone for the Robins in pre-season thus far, cut in from the right and saw his low effort deflected behind off Kevin Roberts.
From the resulting corner, Josh Amis' shot was well blocked by Pearson before Amis' follow-up was blazed over from six yards.
Alty put together the game's best move on 21 minutes, playing out from goalkeeper Tony Thompson with one-touch football up to Johnston, whose deep cross was cleared.
Kelly had a golden opportunity to score two minutes later, after Scott Boden won the ball back on the edge of Altrincham's area, but the left winger fired wildly over from 12 yards.
Holroyd was the next to go close for the Reds, his right-footed effort drilled wide from outside the box, but on 33 minutes Kelly broke the deadlock.
The winger intial lost possession but Roberts fought to win it back, passed to Kelly who dribbled past two defenders, cutting into the box and hitting a low right-footed shot past Thompson from the corner of the area.
Rutherford's mazy run tied Alty's defence in knots on 40 minutes but his through ball couldn't find Holroyd, before James Poole's 25-yard drive sailed over Chris Dunn's goal.
James Jennings was introduced at half-time and immediately went close with a deflected shot after Sam Wedgbury’s accurate pass.
The excellent Holroyd soon doubled Wrexham’s lead on 55 minutes. Kelly’s inswinging corner from the right was headed goalwards by the Reds’ forward and nestled in the net, albeit via a big deflection off Harrison.
Mark Carrington doesn’t score many goals but he nearly scored a stunning volley from 25 yards on the hour mark, his effort flashing wide.
Holroyd was replaced by academy scholar Nial Freeman, who hails from Chirk, as Kelly and Jennings linked up superbly down the left wing, nearly finding teenage striker Freeman lurking in the box but James Jones cleared.
Akil Wright was introduced and looked lively, making a lung-bursting run into the area, before Kelly overhit his cross on the left wing which crashed back out against the upright and away from danger.
Rutherford was reintroduced to give Boden a rest and fired a low shot which Tim Deasy parried clear. Pearson then went down in a challenge with Tom Peers and was forced to hobble off with a knee injury after receiving on-field treatment.
On the whole a good night’s work for Keates’ men, but they will hope the injury sustained by skipper Pearson is not serious.
Altrincham: Thompson (Deasy 45), Disney (Densmore 45), Brownhill (Omotola) 60, Harrison, Jones, Moult (c), Johnston (Peers 37), Taylor, Hulme (Hancock 66), Poole, Amis (Wright 60).
Wrexham: Dunn, Hurst (Jennings 45) Roberts (Wright 59), M Smith (Marx 75), Pearson (c), Wedgbury, Carrington, Rutherford (L Smith 45), Kelly, Boden, Holroyd (Freeman 66).
Referee: Nick Storey
Man of the match: Chris Holroyd – Shaping up to be a real quality addition to Keates’ squad. Equally adept at leading the line or dropping deep into the hole.
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